The state dish of Texas. You know it’s serious business here when you start talking about chili recipes. Possibly the only dish taken more to heart in Texas is BBQ, and to some, what you just read might be a complete lie. It’s the same as a pasta sauce to an Italian or a gumbo for the folks in Louisiana (a.k.a. Far East Texas). It’s about family tastes and tradition, which means a chili mix that isn’t just like the secret family recipe doesn’t get much love or much forgiveness here. I will, however, give this the most objective review I can.
Fire – Since Texas Provisions chili mix didn’t have the typical fire alarm ratings used by chili makers to indicate heat level (3-alarm/4-alarm, etc…), I really didn’t expect much heat from this, and true to my expectations, this is very mild bowl of red. What heat there is warms on you slowly within about 6-7 seconds and then fades almost nearly as quickly. If you’re a fan of the spicy type, you’ll probably want to add quite a bit of cayenne to the pot to get some bite. I was staying true to the recipe on the box though, so I didn’t add any heat.
Flavor – Before we talk about flavor, let’s talk about the consistency of the sauce. Following the directions per the box resulted in a sadly soupy product that didn’t really blend throughout. The taste and the texture resembled a grainy, almost sandy grit, meat mixture as if you were taking partially cooked onions, chili powder, some ground beef, tomato sauce and a shot of water and swishing it in your mouth without cooking it. The intructions to cook this at such a low heat clearly did not help incorporate everything together. There is, however, enough flavor in it that I thought it might be salvageable. This led me to doing the evil of adding beans to the mix. Yes, I said it. I put beans in chili. Normally I would stray from this, but I knew that the starch from the beans would help add a smoothness to the sauce and help soak up some more of the liquid. I put in a can of black beans and turned up the heat way beyond the recommendations on the box, since the simmer until ready version didn’t work so well. After about another 45 minutes of cooking at a medium low heat (which actually allowed for a mild boil of the mix), I had the right consistency I was looking for. The flavor was better, but still a bit overpowering with the paprika taste. I ended up eating all of it over a few days time, but it was better as a topping for other things than a stand alone bowl. I think there is promise for the product, but not as directed. If I were able to get a few packages of this so that I could play with the cooking time and order of adding ingredients than there is some chance this could be a legit mix.
Score: Neutral (Barely saved from a Nauseating rating based on it being decent as a topping for other things like hot dogs and Frito pies)