Chili Blocks

LV Hayes
Junior Burger
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2007/04/01 16:40:32 (permalink)

Chili Blocks

When I was growing up in southwestern Louisiana many decades ago, we used to buy from the local general store a block of dried chili that looked awful (like it was made of dew laps and other unmentionables), but tasted wonderful. To fix it, you crumbled it up in a pot (a hammer helped), added water, and heated it to the desired temperature. We ate it over rice or saltine crackers.

The last time I had any (circa 1975), the dried variety was gone, and the block was wrapped in some kind of thin paper or plastic and kept in a refrigerated case like the cylinders of breakfast sausage and chili dog sauce. Nowadays, block chili isn't sold at all in that area, and the local yokels (my kinfolk) don't even remember the good ole dried-in-a-block stuff.

Does anyone know if dry chili blocks are still sold anywhere and if so can they be ordered online? I've looked before, and some meat markets do still make the stuff, but the only place that had it online was in Los Angeles and sold it only by the pallet. I could probably use a pallet full, but got no place to store it.

LV Hayes
ancient chili lover

4 Replies Related Threads

    C Turner Joy
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    RE: Chili Blocks 2007/04/01 17:06:42 (permalink)

    Born in OKC
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    RE: Chili Blocks 2007/08/04 12:22:44 (permalink)
    Go to the Shanghai Jimmy thread under Chili. It is a screen or two down. One of my posts there mentions Refsky's (sp?) in Fort Worth and they had a couple of locations. They sold a chili which is frozen or at least chilled in blocks OTC that is similar to what I always thought of as "brick" chili as a child although my memory is that it was dehydrated and chilled, not completely dried and on a room temperature shelf.

    The link to brick or block chili in this thread has good information also.

    I suppose (hope) that Refsky's is still in business and vending that same product. It has been a year or three since I was there. If they are open they are worth the drive for anyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who likes chili.

    The comments about brick or block chili prompt a request. If anyone has an old recipe for the stuff, from a cook book or magazine, I hope they will share it on this board.

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    RE: Chili Blocks 2007/08/04 12:33:57 (permalink)
    Sounds like the process to make it is not cost effective any more with canning and freezing technology taking over, that is, if they can keep the "Bugs" out of the cans!
    Junior Burger
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    Re:Chili Blocks 2012/08/30 00:19:32 (permalink)
    I realize that this post was 7 years ago, however,  it may interesting to those who do remember the old Hormel block chili. Certainly not perceived as healthy these days. Companies now leave the grease content to the user.  I was going through my Mom's old papers and ran accross a block chili recipe of my Dad's when he owned a resturant in Memphis arround 1940. 
    Red Beans or Kidney beans are optional
    2 lbs ground or stew hand chopped beef
    4 medium onions
    4 buttons of garlic minced
    2 medium red bell pepper chopped up fine
    2 chili peppers (burned a little on the grill, then run through a collander) food processor
    2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    2 tablespoons gray chili powder (research indicates this is a blend of cummin, and oregano) McCormick
    1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon salt or to taste
    1 stalk finely chopped celery
    1 large or two medium cans of pureed tomatoes
    2 cans of tomato paste
    1/2 pound of humko ( a memphis thing) or any kind of shortening.
    1/4 cup black strap molassis
    Do not use any water at all. Melt grease slowly, then put everything listed above in 
    then cook slowly until all done. Could take awhile. You can add anything to taste. Pour in molds and let cool into the infamous blocks. Just add water and heat as you need it.
    Noticed many local Mexican resturants use lard in their recipes rather than shortening.
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