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Found: Source For Shanghai Jimmy's Recipe

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I found the reference after much searching and links that did no open on my Mac.

Anyway, here is the link:


this should open. If not, try copy/paste method.

If neither works for you, I have the recipe as transcribed from the LP Jimmy made years ago, plus

a know somebody who has the record.

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This is great. I remember he used to say "Chili rice is very nice" and "onions help," which we thought was very funny. Thanks for researching this. (The Dallas History site is great, by the way.) I've taken the liberty of copying the recipe from your link, and here it is:

Shanghai Jimmy’s Texas Chili

For use in Chili Rice


2 lbs. beef – lean chili cut (I have found that a nice lean roast ground into chili meat works best)

6 beef bullion cubes

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper (this is his recipe. You might adjust to your taste)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)

4 teaspoons cumin

4 tablespoons chili powder (again, adjust to your taste)

4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons corn meal

4 teaspoons lemon juice (see alternative ingredient at the end of the recipe)


Allow about 2½ hours to prepare.

Heat two tablespoons cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chili meat and fry for 15 minutes. DO NOT STIR THE MEAT.

Turn the meat, without stirring, and cook for another 10 minutes.

While you are doing this put 6 cups of hot water in a 4 quart pot and dissolve the bullion cubes. When the beef is cooked break it up and add to this stock. Add the bay leaf. Add one additional cup of water. Be sure to use the grease that cooks off the meat in addition to the meat itself. Cook this for 1½ hours over low to medium heat (slow boil). You may cover the pot if you wish.

At about 1 hour and 20 minutes combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: Sugar, salt, red pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder.

Stir to mix well. When mixed stir it into the stock and leave at a slow boil for 10 minutes (leave the pot uncovered)

Mix the flour and the corn meal well. You do not want any lumps in this. Then add ¾ cup of water to form a watery paste. Once again stir well to eliminate any lumps. Then add this mix to the chili. This is the thickening agent.

Stir well and continue stirring for 5 minutes at a slow boil.

Cut the heat to below a simmer and add the lemon juice. In place of the lemon juice you may use 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar or 4 tablespoons of sherry if you like. Whatever you use, stir it in well.

Transcribers note:

I have successfully multiplied this recipe to make up to 10 gallons of chili at a time. The only alteration was that I often used less meat than would be called for with a straight multiplication of the ingredients.

While the recipe on the LP does not mention the rice or the way to mix the chili with it, here is my method based on experimentation and memory of how Shanghai Jimmy did it:

I always use Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice. It seems to divide into individual grains and stay firm. When I use this rice it is most like what I remember eating at Shanghai’s places.

As I recall he would add a pat of butter to the bottom of the Styrofoam cup and then add a layer of rice. Next he would add a layer of chili. This repeated at least two times. I never had mine with cheese, onions or celery so I am not sure when he added these ingredients. My thought is on top but I could be mistaken.

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Hi yall! I made a post here a few years back about Jimmy and Benny Binion's chili. Famous Texas Chili Recipes was the title. I was Papa back then. I re regesterd in the name I used for the history site. It's on the first page of this s section. I posted my thoughts about Benny's recipe.

Much info about Jimmy has been discovered since then. Much of it is on two threads at the link Sandra posted. More can be found with a Google.

Plm, if there is anything else you can remember I would love to hear it.

Oh, "onions help" is one I have not heard. Other optional toppings were sweet relish, salsa, red pepper, chopped celery, and oyster crackers.

The LP recipe, from a very reliable source, is not the chili used for Jimmy's chili rice. It makes some good chili though! I do think the lemon juice, bay leaf, and maybe the sugar, or something else sweet, was used in the chili rice chili. There is speculation of other things that might have been part of the secret ingredients. Soy sauce was something I have tried.

Elvis is said to have had Jimmy's chili rice.

Anyone with any more memories of Jimmy and his chili please chime in.

Thanks Sandra and Plm for posting this!


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Hmm, I made a kinda long post but it didn't show up. Oh well, thanks for posting this yall!

I made a post a few years back in this section about Jimmy and Benny Binion's chili. It's on the first page and I was Papa here back then.

Sweet relish, red pepper, salsa, and chopped celery were some of the other optional toppings.

There are two threads at the Dallas History link, and quite a bit of other stuff around the net about Jimmy. For those with an interest keep Googling.


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Joe --

We've had to go to a system of manually approving all the posts, and that's why yours didn't show up right away. Blame the idiots who post very bad stuff.

We're usually pretty quick above approving the posts. We watch the boards all the time 'cause we love to know what our readers have to say.

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Thanks PLM. I guess I will leave the 2nd post since it had something new about Jimmy's chili. Many are quite serious about re creating this chili. All help welcome!

Am I the only one here to have had Benny Binion's great Texas chili?


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I remember that chili well and probably had a few hundred bowls in the 1960s and 70s. When I found the recipe in Cowboy Cuisine, I had to make it. Turned out almost exactly as I remember it with a thick layer of orange grease on top. Benny would never let the cooks skim off the fat--"If it ain't greasy it ain't good"-- he told them. Most of the regulars crushed quite a few saltines into the bowl to soak up the grease.

What really makes the recipe is the suet and the Japanese chiles; found kidney suet at Whole Foods and Chile Japones at a Mexican grocery, the smell and flavor of those chiles really brought back memories of the old Horseshoe. The inspiration for Benny's recipe is the somewhat famous Sheriff Smoot Schmid, Dallas Jailhouse Chili recipe, that was served at the Jail in the 1930s and 40s. I made it as well and it's very close to the Horseshoe version but with even more suet and slightly different spices and quantities. These recipes are from an era when fat was considered cheap food and fuel for people without much money.

There was nothing like a hot greasy bowl of Benny's chili after one too many 50 cent cocktails at the Horseshoe Bar!


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Sounds like you nailed Benny's chili Rockets.

The old thread I started here years ago, as papajoe8, about famous Texas chili recipes is kinda hard to find in the search here but it googles up easily. There is more stuff floating around the net about Jimmy and Benny's chili if anyone has an interest. Just google them up. :~)

Benny's chili is now gone as are the 50c drinks at the Horseshoe. :~(


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It's a cold night in Vegas and I have two gallons of Horseshoe Chili simmering away. Beef suet is pretty hard to come by and I had to buy a 3/4" plate for my grinder to get the proper meat texture; probably only butchers in Texas still make really coarse grind Chili meat.

Here's the recipe as well as my notes. Kidney Suet is an essential ingredient to make the orange grease layer on top.



4 lb Chuck beef, chili grind [use 3/4” grind plate if available]

2 cups Suet [8 oz. ground or chopped fine]

7 pods Garlic [8 large cloves, pressed or minced]

7T Chili Powder [8T Gebhardt’s brand]

3T Paprika [OK]

1-1/2t Cumin seeds [1T ground cumin]

2t Chili petentine*, (Japanese chiles) crushed

[1T Chiles Japones, dried and ground fine]

1-1/2T Scant of salt [2t to start more if needed]

[1t ground white pepper]

[1/2t garlic powder]

Brown meat and add ingredients. Put a lid on it and simmer for 4 hours. Add 1 quart of water and simmer for 1 hour with the lid off. Skim off the grease (Benny left it in) Serve with pinto beans and crackers. This chili is served at Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas.

[Try out the suet until rendered, then add the meat and stir until cooked to an even gray color, no pink left. Add Salt, Garlic, Chili powder, Paprika and Cumin; stir well and place covered pot into a 250° oven for 2-3 hours stirring every hour. Add 1 quart of water, Chiles Japones, white pepper and garlic powder-- raise oven temp to 300°and cook uncovered for 1 hour then adjust seasonings. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Remove about half the grease from the top and stir the rest into the chili.]

This is the recipe from Montie Montana Jr.’s book, COWBOY CUISINE.

*Probably meant Chili Petine or Pequin, which are smaller and much hotter than the Japanese chiles.

My notes and changes are in [brackets]

JBE 9/20/09

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