Trail Recipe: Cincinnati Chili

This Buckeye favorite has rich mole flavors without being especially hot. It’s thinner than normal chili, and usually served over hot dogs or spaghetti.

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Quick-and-easy trail food doesn’t have to be bland. Mix up some flavor-packed spice blends at home to kick your cooking to a new level of yum, like with this Cincinnati Chili recipe. Then make sure to check out the rest of our Spice is Right recipes.

2 servings

Spice blend

(premix these at home in a baggie)

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinches of ground allspice, coriander, and clove

Main ingredients

  • 4 oz. spaghetti noodles, broken in half (note cooking time)
  • 2 oz. chopped steak-style jerky (¼” pieces)
  • 1 oz. packet Lipton Cup-A-Soup Tomato
  • 13 oz. cooked kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 sugar packet
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar (any will do, but we like cider or rice)
  • salt & pepper
  • cayenne (to taste)

On the trail

➞ At least three hours before you’ll prepare the chili, add jerky to a bottle with enough water to cover. Seal and keep in a cool area like your pack or bear can.

In camp

➞ Bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions; drain and set aside. Add oil and spice mixture to a second pot. Heat over a low flame, stirring continuously until spices are aromatic (less than a minute), then add jerky (include liquid), soup packet, vinegar, sugar, and beans. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until chili is fully heated. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and additional water to taste. Divide pasta between two bowls. Top with chili and cheese.