Product Review: Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Brand Chili Kit

A Shelby Classic in 30 Minutes or Less

Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Brand Chili Kit. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

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Carroll Shelby knows racing and Shelby knows Chili. In fact, Shelby is one of the original founders of the World's first Championship Chili Cook off held in Terlingua, Texas back in 1967. At the 1972 cook off, Shelby announced his "Original Texas Brand Chili Mix" was on the market. Shelby is so committed to chili that in 1990, despite feeling ill due to heart problems, he attended the annual chili cook off long enough to see David Valega announced as the World's Champion.

To this day, the International Chili Society extends gratitude to Shelby for his vision and charitable conscience.

The Kit: All the Seasonings You Need in One Package

I was at home recently watching racing on a cold overcast day. Around lap 120, I grew hungry. There's nothing like something spicy to warm you up, so I decided to make some of Shelby's original Texas Brand Chili.

The Carroll Shelby Chili Kit comes in a little brown bag featuring a story of Shelby's association with chili on the side. There are four separate packets inside the bag:

  • (1) Chili Packet For Seasoning
  • (1) Packet of Cayenne Pepper for those Seeking Sizzling Flavor
  • (1) Packet of Salt
  • (1) Packet of Masa Flour for Thickness

Each of these ingredients can be combined to create the desired flavor. Some people like their chili hot and might use the entire cayenne package, while others might opt to leave the pepper out of the mix for a mild taste.

In addition to the ingredients in the kit, you'll need the following:

  • Two lbs. of Ground Beef
  • One 8 Ounce Can of Tomato Sauce
  • Two 8 Ounce Cans of Water

In all, the kit will allow you to serve up about six one cup servings of chili. My significant other and I usually eat a few bowls and save the rest for later in the week.

Texas Chili: Your Way or Shelby's Way

There are three ways to make Shelby's Chili. You can cook it on the stove top using only the ingredients in the kit. Just add meat and you're set. This takes less than 30 minutes. If you're really in a rush you can microwave the ingredients. Or, if you want to get creative, you can add your own ingredients to the mix. The creative route takes more time, but it's well worth the effort. I usually add some kidney beans along with green peppers and chopped onions. The result is a chili worth talking about. I've used the flour packet on occasion to thicken the mix. Usually, the chili is thick enough without the packet.

Final Take: Easy to Make and Good to Eat

My favorite thing about Shelby's Chili Kit is how easy it is to make. Other kits I've used required me to do most of the work using my own ingredients. Talk about a waste of time. If you go that route, you might as well create your own chili from scratch. This kit makes it easy.

Best of all, the chili actually tastes good. Not only that, but Carroll Shelby gives it his nod of approval. When the Shelby Mustang creator says it's good, I'm inclined to try it out. I've tried making the chili using all three of the recommended methods.

The stove top version, using only the ingredients in the kit, tastes great and works when time is limited. It's hard to go wrong if you follow the directions. The microwave route is my least favorite, but it works in a pinch. My favorite method is to use Shelby's mix to create a one-of-a-kind flavor. Add a few of your favorite ingredients, top it off with cheese, and you're set. I liken it to customizing a Mustang. The stock ride might look sharp, but it will look even sharper if you modify it a bit.

In all, I strongly recommend you try some of this chili if you get a chance. It's quick to make, and it's good to eat. Best of all, it's got Shelby's name on the package.

You should be able to find the chili at your local grocer. I picked up my kits on a recent trip to Houston, Texas. I paid $1.58 for each package.

Not a bad deal if you ask me.

To learn more about Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Brand Chili Kit, visit their website at

Important Note:

Although Carroll Shelby created the "Carroll Shelby Chili" mix 40 years ago, it was sold in 1986 and is now owned by Reily Foods Company. The packaging has been changed and it`s been purported that the recipe has been revised, too. Mr. Shelby wants it known that he has not been associated with the chili mix for many years and has nothing to do with these reported changes. Anyone with complaints about the quality or way the chili mix is being made should not contact him but call Reily Foods.

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