1979 -Reno Red

byJoe & Shirley Stewart


A capacity crowd converged on Tropico as hot air balloons went up and the Condor Squadron bombed the outhouse, while sky divers drifted down to the aroma of championship chili. KLAC celebrity disc jockey Dick Haynes helped Jim House and Tommy Farrell on stage. Other celebrities such as Jim and Chris Mitchum, Jack Kelly and Billy Barty entertained the crowd. Joe and Shirley Stewart, the Sierra Nevada Regional winners, took home the first-place trophy and a check for $15,000 as the 1979 World's Champions.


3 pounds round steak, coarsely ground
3 pounds chuck steak, coarsely ground
1 cup Wesson Oil or kidney suet
1 3-oz bottle of Gebhardt Chili Powder
6 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons MSG
6 small cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
6 dried chili pods, remove stems and seeds and boil 30 minutes in water OR 3-oz bottle New Mexico chili pepper
1 tablespoon oregano, brewed in 1/2 cup Budweiser beer (like tea)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 cups beef broth
1 4-oz can diced Ortega green chilies
1/2 of a 14 1/2-oz can Hunts Stewed Tomatoes (or to taste)
Dash of Tabasco sauce


Brown meat in Wesson Oil or kidney suet, adding black pepper to taste.

Drain meat and add chili powder, cumin, MSG, garlic and chopped onions.

Cook 30-45 minutes using as little liquid as possible; add water only as necessary.

Stir often.

Remove skins from boiled pods, mash pulp and add to meat mixture (or add 3 ozs of New Mexico chili powder), strained oregano and beer mixture, paprika, vinegar, 2 cups of beef broth, Ortega green chiles, Hunts stewed tomatoes and Tabasco sauce.

Simmer 30-45 minutes.

Stir often.

Dissolve masa flour into remaining beef broth, pour into chili.

Simmer 30 minutes.

Stir often.