Beef/ Chili/ SEC/ Soups, Stews + Chili/ Tailgate

12th Man Texas Chili | Texas Aggie Tailgate

When I think of Texas, I think of two things. Beef and football. The best recipe to throw down a Texas Aggie Tailgate Party? A big spicy pot of 12th Man Texas Chili! Big chunks of prime beef and bold chipotle peppers and spices, slow simmered and then served with corn chips and cheese. Awesome. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the flavor of this chili. But just one little thing…we may have a controversy on our hands….you see, there’s beans…

A big bowl of beefy and hearty Texas Chili - Texas Aggie Tailgate.

SEC Tailgate Special : Texas A&M University

Football season is our FAVORITE time of year. We love the weather, the crowds, the crazy football action, and of course, the food!  This year, we created a tailgate recipe for every team in the South Eastern Conference.

Our goal: to capture the spirit of each school’s team and make a fun and delicious recipe using local flavor and flair. So we put our football differences aside and researched every school.

If you have ever been to an SEC Tailgate, you know that food is the only thing that brings opposing fans together. (Besides the fact that we all want to beat Bama.)

If you don’t follow college football or aren’t a fan of the SEC…that’s totally ok. The SEC Tailgate recipes are still awesome for your next party. Or a Tuesday. (We won’t judge.)


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe

12th Man Texas Chili | Texas Aggie Tailgate

Don’t let any other team fool ya…Texas A&M University is the true Home of the 12th Man. Their fans are loyal, their pride is strong. Nothing less than true Texas flavor will do for a Texas Aggie Tailgate.

The star of the show? Beef.


large chunk of red meat


And lots of it. We used a nicely marbled roast, cut into bite sized cubes. You can use sirloin, stew meat, whatever you prefer.

We used almost 5 cups. Yep. That’s a lot of meat.


Cubes of red meat


How are we doing so far, Texas?


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe



Before we get started assembling our Texas Aggie Tailgate, we have to brown the meat. You just want to sear it, getting a nice brown on all sides.  We started with a little bacon, and cooked our meat in the reserved bacon drippings.

Work in small batches. If you crowd the pan, you won’t get “brown”…you’ll get gray. Not what we are going for here.


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe


See? Brown. Searing the meat accomplishes three things: beautiful color, perfect flavor, and juicy beef. (Someone print that up on a t-shirt.)

(The plate below would also make a perfectly acceptable Texas Aggie Tailgate appetizer.)


overhead shot of chili ingredients in a pot


Time to assemble the bold and spicy 12th Man Texas Chili.

Bell peppers, onion and chipotle are cooked until tender, then the meat is added back in. A few tomatoes and chili spices kick it up Texas style. (See the full recipe at the end of this post for what we used…a little of this, a lot of that.)

Oh, and pour a beer in there.


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe


What’s the rest of the SEC Eating?

Death Valley Jambalaya

BBQ Pork Sliders + Tiger Sauce

Mississippi Mud Dessert Dip


Ok, this is where the Chili Controversy begins. Some of the Texas Chili purists out there are saying “woah, woah, woah, Tennessee girl….stop right there.” Why?

Beans. True Texas Chili has no beans. So this step is TOTALLY OPTIONAL, but in true 12th Man Spirit, your Texas Beef needs some supporting team members to make this pot of magic happen.


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe


You can transfer this to a slow cooker for several hours, or cook on the stove top on simmer for 3 to 4 hours.

This is the result. A bowl full of red, thick, meaty chili, each bite better than the next.


12th Man Texas Chili - Texas A&M Tailgate Recipe


Our 12th Man Texas Chili is a little spicy, so keep this in mind when kids are giving it a try.

So what do you think, Aggie Nation? Is this Texas Aggie Tailgate worthy?

12th Man Texas Chili - Texas Tailgate


If you are looking for something a little different for your tailgate, try our White Chicken Chili. It is a crowd pleaser!


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4.6 from 5 votes

12th Man Texas Chili | Texas Aggie Tailgate

A rich and hearty recipe for Texas Chili featuring lean beef, tomatoes, and beans.

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Texas chili
Author Buy This Cook That

Buy This

  • 5 cups beef we used a rump roast, trimmed and cubed
  • 4 strips bacon
  • Reserved bacon drippings
  • 1 bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup canned chipotles in liquid, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz can light beer
  • 1 10 oz can original Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Chupacabra Seasoning Blend or any all purpose blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 16 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed**optional
  • 1 16 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed**optional

Cook That

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces. Cook over medium high heat in a large pot. Drain bacon on paper towels, reserving the bacon drippings in the pot.
  2. Increase heat slightly, and in small batches, sear the beef pieces until brown on all sides in the bacon grease. Set aside, continuing to cook in small batches. If you overcrowd the pan the beef will not brown. Add butter if needed.

  3. Reduce heat to medium. In the same pot, cook the bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Add the chipotle peppers, stirring to combine well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Return the browned meat to the pot. Add the cooked bacon, crushed tomatoes, Rotel, water, beer, sugar, and all spices. Combine well.
  5. If you are using beans, add them now.
  6. Increase the temperature to bring the chili to a low boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 3 to 4 hours. Or, transfer the chili to a slow cooker, and cook over low heat until the beef is tender. The chili will be thicker if cooked on the stove.
  7. Serve with your favorite fixings: cornbread, corn chips, cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, salsa, etc.

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  • Reply
    November 7, 2016 at 9:49 am

    It’s not even 10AM and I’m already craving a giant bowl of this stuff. Seriously, looks INCREDIBLE! I need to try this recipe ASAP!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Thanks so much! This chili recipe definitely has a bold flavor.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Very nice recipe representing the Texas Aggies, Teri! And being 100% Texan, I personally love the addition of the beans. My mom was from San Antonio, and her chili was made with ground beef and, of course, included beans—it was the best! Thank you for your fine representation of our Texas Aggies—WHOOP!

    • Reply
      August 31, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Yay! I have the seal of approval from the Republic of Texas. Lol, that’s awesome. I was hesitant to add the beans, but hey, when you have a crowd to feed you’ve gotta add more to it. Thank you SOOOO much for visiting our website and taking the time to leave a comment. Good luck this season!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Is there really that amount of Chili Powder in this recipe??? Man, I’ve never seen a recipe where they are talking in ‘cups’ for chili powder. Are you sure that isn’t a typo???
    Can’t comment because I haven’t made it, but I thought there was a great deal of Chili Powder for the amount of everything else.??

    • Reply
      September 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      There is 1/4 cup of chili powder in this recipe, yes. But that’s not a whole lot…same as 4 tablespoons.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    To make it more mild for us weenies would you just leave the chipotle out? And do you have a guess on how many lbs 5 cups of meat is?

    • Reply
      September 21, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Not a problem leaving the chipotle out. Just makes the flavor less “smoky”. What I did with the meat was use about a 3 or 4 pound roast and chopped it into small pieces. You can use more or less.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2018 at 11:44 am


    I’m assembling the ingredients for the 12th Man Chili. The recipe calls for 1 TB butter. But I don’t see in the instructions what to do with the butter. Thank you.

    • Reply
      October 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      EEEk so sorry. I added a little butter in with my bacon drippings to brown the beef. I will add that into the recipe instructions as an optional / as needed step. Thanks and sorry the confusion!

  • Reply
    Kevin Mondron
    February 6, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Getting ready to make this again, it’s great. You won’t want to eat chili made with ground beef after this!

    • Reply
      February 8, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      I am so happy you love it. Man, what a perfect weekend for it, too. (Supposed to be freezing cold where I live.)

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