Thick, almost spreadable, my copycat Original Tommy’s Chili is made using no tomatoes, no beans, uses several chili powders and masa harina to hit the spot. Perfect to top hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and my favorite, crispy tator tots!
This one is a favorite of Dave’s as he grew up in the LA area where Original Tommy’s Hamburgers started.
Thomas James “Tommy” Koulax opened the first one in 1946 on the corner of Beverly and Rampart boulevards and it grew from there. Known as the place to go for a hamburger or hotdog smothered with thick chili for those ending a late night of festivities, it was also a great lunch spot.
Coming from San Francisco I had never heard of it until I was taken to one restaurant in San Diego. I had to have it all, too, as instructed: a hamburger with chili and a chili cheese dog with pickles.
Besides making a complete mess, I loved every bite and thanked the staff for keeping the napkin dispenser filled.
I make a great Tex Mex Chili con Carne that’s chunky and is a complete opposite of this chili.
Tommy’s chili sauce, as it’s known, is smooth, thick with no tomatoes and definitely no beans. I think this version comes pretty close to the original. Plus, this is made in the Instant Pot for a quick meal in no time.
My favorite is on a hot dog. Toasted bun, slices of cheese, a grilled hotdog topped with Tommy’s chili and a squirt of yellow mustard and diced onions to finish it off.
The kicker is the dill pickles, a MUST to have with this, as the brine from the dill pickles counters the heat and richness of the chili.
However you choose to use this chili, be it on hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, tator tots, or a favorite is Fritos corn chips, load it up. Even a nice baked potato works. Enjoy!
Original Tommy's Chili (Copycat recipe)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 5 cups water (divided)
- 1 lb ground beef (See Note 1)
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp Chimayo chili powder
- 1 tbsp Ancho chili powder
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cider apple vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup Masa Harina
- Peel and cut the carrot into 2 inch pieces. Peel and quarter the onion. Cut the stem off the jalapeños and cut lengthwise. In a food processor add the carrot, onion, garlic and pepper. Pulse until almost a paste.
- To the Instant Pot add the vegetable paste, 3 cups of water, ground beef, chili powders, cumin, paprika, salt, sugar, Mexican oregano, black pepper and vinegar. Stir to mix and break up the ground beef (See Note 2).
- Close lid and vent. Select Manual Pressure and set timer for 18 minutes. Allow natural pressure release (10 minutes) not a Quick Release.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, masa harina and remaining 2 cups of water. Pour this in the chili mixture, stir to mix in and press the Saute option. This will sputter,so if your IP has the option, choose Saute Low, if not cover. Set for 10 minutes, stirring often. This will thicken considerably.
- Serve this over hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, tator tots, or baked potatoes. I also like to have diced onions, mustard and dill pickles alongside.
- I get a 80/20 ground beef, If you can find it at your market, or ask the butcher, use a "chili grind" ground beef, it's finer consistency than regular ground beef and perfect for this.
- By adding the ground beef to the liquid and NOT browning it allows it to break down easier and the result is a smooth chili.