Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili

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This chili recipe comes from a collection of my dad’s recipes, which he’d printed out from a vintage-1990 computer and bound with a plastic book-report-style cover and given to me and my sister the Christmas before he died. He liked the chili made popular by Wick Fowler — a newspaper columnist and humorist from Austin who took top prize in the Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1970. (It’s a big one in Texas, held each year near Big Bend, and Fowler later marketed a grocery store kit, called Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili.)

Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili

You can use half the amount of cayenne pepper for One-Alarm chili or omit it for False Alarm Chili.

2 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons Gebhardt’s chili powder (or substitute another brand)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (8-ounce can) tomato sauce
2 (8-ounce cans) water
1 1/2 tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons masa harina mixed with water to form a smooth paste

Brown meat. Add cayenne, chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, water, onion, paprika and salt. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat off the top. Add masa harina paste. Stir and cook 1/2 hour more.

Serves 4 to 6.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is the food editor of The Journal News and LoHud.com, for which she's won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

2 Comments

  1. Tom Arganbright on

    We bought Wick’s 2 Alarm Chili Mix at Jewel Foods, but they no longer carry it. Marianno’s carries only False Alarm Mix. Is there a store in Chicago area which carries 2 Alarm?

    Thanks, Tom Arganbright – Arlington Hts. IL

  2. THE SOLUTION TO YOUR DELIMNA IS SIMPLE . BUY THE WICK FOWLER CHILI KIT AND ADD
    AS MUCH CAYENNE AS YOU CAN STAND .
    THIS MESSAGE IS FROM A DISPLACED , MISPLACED TEXAN IN FLORIDA WHO WAS RAISED ON CHILI IN HOUSTON . MY MOM EVEN SERVED US CANNED CHILI – WOLF BRAND OR GEBHARDTS , BUT THE WICK FOWLER CHILI KIT MAKES THE BEST .
    ABOVE THIS COMMENT CENTER IS A RECIPE FOR THE ORIGINAL WICK FOWLER CHILI .

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