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Great Chili Recipes-Charlie Porubsky's Chili

Updated on March 29, 2016
4.3 stars from 3 ratings of Charlie Porubsky's Chili

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: 6

Charlie Porubsky's Chili

This chili is the feature menu item at a tiny grocery/restaurant in Topeka Kansas that has been serving it up since 1955. People flock from all around the midwest for a bowl of Charlie's Chili. It is served with crackers and hot horseradish pickles.

Charlie's Chili has been featured in Gourmet Magazine and the Food Network. Just last week a film crew was there filming a documentary in the store about the history of the restaurant and grocery and its place in the growth of the city.

If you plan to come to Topeka for a fresh bowl of this chili, Charlie only has chili Monday-Thursday 11pm - 2pm, October-March. They will extend the season if cold weather comes early or if we have a cold spring. If you are coming a distance, it might be best to call ahead. Some people might laugh at the thought of people traveling to try the chili, but it happens. Folks from the websites and others have organized fly/drive ins to eat at Porubsky's in the past, as well as people who have seen the Porubsky documentary on PBS or in it's theater run.

One interesting note about Porubsky's. There is a local judge who has worked at Porubsky's since his college days, and when his schedule allows, he still works there on the lunch hour, serving chili and Charlie's massive sandwiches or deli plates.


  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds coarsely ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Two 16-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
  • Tabasco to taste, (we use 10 drops for a faint heat)


  1. In a big, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until they are soft.
  2. Add the beef and salt. Cook until the beef is completely browned, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, Worcestershire, sugar, tomato sauce, and 2 cups water. Bring the chili to a low boil and summer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and simmer 15 minutes more. Add the Tabasco and more salt, if desired.

To Make the Pickles

  • For Horseradish Pickles

  • One 32-ounce jar kosher dill pickle halves (about 4 large pickles), with brine

  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Make the pickles

  1. Pour the brine from the pickle jar into a large bowl. Mix the horseradish and cayenne into the brine. Cut the pickles into large bite-sized pieces and reimmerse them in the spiced brine. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.


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    • puter_dr profile image

      Mike Bouska 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks, Even though our winter in my part of the world has been fairly warm this year, I still try to make chili a couple times a month. I have always loved chili. A good bowl of chili beats most other soups in my opinion.

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 5 years ago from Florida

      Looks like many great chili recipes yummy!

    • ohohdon profile image

      ohohdon 10 years ago from Yakima

      Wow! Great list of recipes. I'm getting really hungry.

      My son won't eat anything that he can see chunks of veggies in. So, when I make chili, I puree the onions, peppers, tomato, and anything with color or texture that isn't meat or beans. He loves my chili, and gets some good nutrition, as well.