We spent our family vacation in Washington DC last week touring famous landmarks, learning the in’s and out’s of congress, brushing up on our history and enjoying the sights of the city. We didn’t catch a glimpse of the president on the White House lawn but we did see him, along with many others, line the walls at one of DC’s most famous landmarks—Ben’s Chili Bowl.
This place has seen Washington DC change over many times since 1958 and it still remains one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. Locals, movie stars, sports figures, and politicians alike frequent Ben’s. Why you ask— because its got one of the meanest chili dogs I’ve ever tasted.
I thought I would be writing and raving about a favorite costal seafood dinner but when we arrived at Ben’s It was all over for me.
I couldn’t resist tracking down the recipe and passing it on. I know most of you are sick of grilling hamburgers and hot dogs by August but if you want one last hurrah make these and enjoy this crazy good chili.
Make sure you stop here if you travel to DC. Our son is the proud owner of a Ben’s Chili Bowl t-shirt and I’m proud of establishments like Ben’s that have stayed the course and made this one cool joint.
Dig in. We can get healthy next week.
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1 onion, finely chopped
5 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
6 Tbsp. corn mealor masa harina
Heat oil and sauté garlic and onion until light golden, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add chili powder, sugar, salt, cumin, and bay leaf. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until evenly browned.
Stir in tomato paste, beef broth and corn meal.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until very thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. To assemble, grill them, then split them down the center. Run a line of mustard down the split, then top them with chili and chopped onions. Makes about 20 servings of hot dog chili on chili dogs.
Have a great week!