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Johnny Cash Original Chili Recipe

Johnny Cash Original Chili Recipe
Johnny Cash Original Chili Recipe

Johnny Cash Original Chili Recipe is a unique recipe straight from the Man in Black himself. Honor the memory of this great musician by cooking the chili that he once enjoyed. The instructions include personal notes from John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash's only son, with his own comments about how his father would cook this chili. Treat yourself to this delicious dish, and maybe listen to a few Johnny Cash records while you prepare it. The music will put you in the perfect mood to enjoy this classic recipe.


John Carter Cash says, "Follow the recipe exactly, and you will get a good pot of chili. Change it to suit your own taste, and you will have a marvelous pot of chili." Enjoy!


  • 2 pound ground venison or ground beef
  • 1 pound venison steaks or sirloin
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 5 jalapeno peppers, diced, to taste
  • 1 habanero pepper, to taste
  • 2 packet McCormick mild chili seasoning
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (New Mexico chili powder, if available)
  • 1/3 cup cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup self-rising cornmeal, about a handful


  1. Chop the steak into medium pieces. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

  2. In a Swiss Diamond stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the steak in the oil in batches, draining off some of the fat if necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a Swiss Diamond skillet, brown the ground meat over medium-high heat. Drain off the fat and set aside.

  3. With the oil remaining in the pot, brown half the onions and garlic over medium heat until they are caramelized. Now add the well-drained ground beef and steak. Stir and heat it all up.

  4. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers (if using), and the remainder of the onions and garlic. Heat to a brisk simmer, stirring often.

  5. Now it's time for the spices. Dad would normally put in the McCormick chili packets, followed by the salt and black pepper, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, and cayenne pepper. This is the time to begin tasting your chili.

  6. Once the taste is to your liking, drain the cans of beans and add to the mixture. Now taste again, as you will likely want to add some more spices because the beans mellow their flavor.

  7. Once the chili tastes right, pour in the bottle of beer. Stir well.

  8. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  9. Add sugar to taste, but be careful not to use too much. Chili becomes something else entirely if too sweet. Simmer, covered, for at least another 30 minutes, making sure to stir so it does not burn.

  10. Now grab that handful of cornmeal, uncover the chili, and stir it in.

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There are a number of recipes floating around with chili recipes attributed to Johnny Cash. Unlike some other celebrity dishes, all the recipes seem to be very similar. This is a great chili recipe for serving at a cookout or other large gathering since this makes a lot. I love the combination of both venison and regular beef. It's got a great kick to it due to the jalapeno and habanero peppers, and I'm glad I came across this recipe for when I need a special chili for a group.


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