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Cincinnati-style chili is a unique type of chili that originated in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. It has a distinct flavor and is often served over spaghetti or hot dogs. Here are some key characteristics of Cincinnati-style chili:
- Meat: Cincinnati-style chili is typically made with ground beef. It is commonly made with lean ground beef, but some variations may include other meats like ground pork.
- Spices and Seasonings: The chili is known for its unique blend of spices and seasonings. The traditional spice mix includes ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and sometimes cocoa powder. These spices give Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive flavor profile.
- Thin Texture: Unlike traditional chili, Cincinnati-style chili usually has a much thinner consistency, almost resembling a sauce. It is typically more liquid than thick and hearty chili.
- Serving Styles: Cincinnati-style chili is commonly served over spaghetti, creating a dish called "chili spaghetti." It is also served on hot dogs, creating a combination known as a "Coney." Additionally, it can be served as a topping for other dishes like fries or baked potatoes.
- Way of Ordering: When ordering Cincinnati-style chili at a restaurant or chili parlor, you can specify the way you want it served by using a unique ordering system known as the "way." For example, ordering "two-way" means chili over spaghetti, "three-way" means chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese, and "four-way" adds onions or beans to the three-way.
- Toppings: Common toppings for Cincinnati-style chili include shredded cheese, diced onions, kidney beans, and oyster crackers. The toppings can vary based on personal preference.
Cincinnati-style chili has become a regional specialty and a beloved dish in Cincinnati and its surrounding areas. It has a distinct and often polarizing taste, with fans appreciating its unique flavor combination of sweet, savory, and aromatic spices.
Origins of Cincinnati Chili
A hit in Cincinnati culture is the chili. The founders of the first chili parlor added a unique blend of Mediterranean spices, regarded today as that famous and unique Cincinnati Chili flavor.
Almost a century ago, Grandma Alice (grandma of our favorite Cincinnati chili company Seven Hills Chili) developed a recipe for Chili inspired by Cincinnati’s original Chili Parlor.
Today, all current Cincinnati chili parlors use a version of that original recipe. Over the years, Grandma Alice tweaked her recipe – all the way to perfection. Although she never dreamed of opening her own parlor, she served her Cincinnati style chili to her family and friends until her death in 1976. Although all of the current parlors in Cincinnati have excellent chili, we think you will agree, Seven Hills Chili – our grandma’s secret recipe – is superior to them all.