Friday, June 8, 2018

Cincinnati "Skyline Chili"

It wasn't the 1st thing on our list, but it was definately near the top! Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili, we didn't know what to expect... rumor was it has cinnamon AND chocolate in the recipe. For former Texans, born and raised in the south that might be sacrilege! We went to the old downtown location, 7th and Vine, natives say it's where you get the true "experience."  

It was a Friday and nearly every seat was taken, we found a table near the back in good view of the show. Just behind the counter was line of seasoned employees who ladled out  1 Ways to 5 Ways in portions that shouldn't have fit on the 6" oval plates, but did!

Our waitress Tabby was a walking, talking tour guide... the city may just have her "planted" to make sure tourists get the real flavor of Cincinnati!

It was a little hard, there were so many ways to enjoy the chili, but I decided on TWO coneys, I thought they were small!  

They start you off with a bowl of oyster crackers and if I had payed attention to the locals (that's a really good tip when you are someplace that you just aren't sure what to order) I'd have noticed that many started with the small bowl of chili and then got ONE coney! 

Jerry ordered the 5 Way... chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans. I was too busy diving into my coneys to get any before pictures, sorry! I came home with a recipe for Cincinnati style chili, but after Googling a little, I found one that was leaked by an employee. Sunday afternoon I decided to try it out. The technique of simmering the hamburger in water for 30 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients is key to the texture that is distinctive to this chili. The spices are right on, this is  a very good knock off recipe that will satisfy our NEED for Cincinnati's most famous addiction!
1 quart cold water
2 lbs ground beef (I used lean ground beef)
2 cups crushed tomato
2 yellow onions, diced 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cooked spaghetti to serve chili over, optional
The Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili Ordering Code

1-way: just the chili

2-way: chili served over spaghetti

3-way: chili, spaghetti, and grated Cheddar cheese

4-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions

5-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

All "ways" are served with oyster crackers.


  1. Are you telling me that the "normal" chili doesn't include BEANS?? How can you have a chili withOUT beans? Weird, if you asked me. But then again, you DIDN'T ask me.
    Glad you got to try it. I may have to try the recipe.....with the addition of some beans though :)

    1. I know, that's just too strange! My husband ordered the 5 way with beans but it came over spaghetti and that was just too weird for me. He said it was delicious though. After going there I was impressed enough to make the recipe and you know what, it's GOOD! We are Texas style chili lovers so it had to have a kick. You can't taste the chocolate,cinnamon or allspice exactly~ it just has a very distinctive flavor. Cincinnati Chili!

  2. That's one interesting review and chilli recipe seems interesting. Im planing to make some next weekend for friends. So, i think i will take this as an option. Thank you!

    1. We were surprised that we liked it so much since we thought we loved Texas style chili. This is a little spicy too!

  3. my husband loves this stuff (spent some time in ohio). i think it is just weird.

    1. You ever wonder who comes up with this stuff? Weird but good!

  4. I live close enough to Cincinnati that I have had the opportunity to try it but am not a big fan! Leave the cloves out of my chili, puleese!!! I was born in central Missouri & our chili was spicy with beans...& that was about it. When I married a Hoosier, he insisted that I put cooked macaroni in it, which I did & still do, but would just as soon have it plain. And...the melted cheese sticks to your teeth! ;)

    So....did you really like the flavor? It's big around here & some of our grocery stores even carry the frozen variety. I'll take mine plain!

    1. We did like it! So much that I came home with the recipe and then found one I thought was even closer. This is really the flavor and texture of the original... I got lucky. The macaroni and chili would suit my grandson to a T, he loves that combo!

  5. I haven't made chili in decades, however, I always add cinnamon to my ground meat... never cocoa, who knew? Thanks for the recipe! I just might have to try this.

    1. I used Hershey's Dark Cocoa since that's what I had in the cabinet. It made the chili a rich, dark color and really was right on we thought as far as taste. I divided it into three containers and froze 2, plenty for 6 coneys per container. Hope you try it and like it!

  6. I have never heard of anything quite like this. I'm going to give it a try on the next cool and rainy day.

    1. Really, very good! Chili is a cold weather food but I do like a good coney anytime!


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