The Midwest has its own flair to topping off their bratwurst. This year for National Bratwurst Day, we will be enjoying Cincinnati-Style Chili Cheese Bratwurst using Johnsonville Bratwurst!
I am not originally from Cincinnati, but I guess you can go ahead and call me a “Cincinnatian” at this point. I’ve been here for 18 years, which is half of my life. So, I guess it’s time for me to claim my new hometown. Being a Cincinnatian comes with indulging in certain local delicacies such as Graders Ice Cream and Cincinnati-Style Chili, which is pretty different from your standard chili.
What’s in Cincinnati Chili
The first time I had Cincinnati Style Chili was in college as a student at the University of Cincinnati. I immediately noticed that it was unlike any chili I had ever tasted. I couldn’t put my finger on flavors but I knew it was different, right away. I love 3-Way Cincinnati Chili. It’s about the finely shredded cheese for me and the oyster crackers for the crunch doesn’t hurt. Anyway, back to the chili, the secret I figured out in Cincinnati Chili was cinnamon and chocolate! Yes child, chocolate! I was definitely a skeptic at first, but when I made it on my own, I couldn’t believe the depth of flavor that adding chocolate provided to chili!
- 1 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 15 oz. tomato sauce
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- ½ c. dark kidney beans
- 1.75 oz. Cincinnati style chili flavor
- ⅔ c. water
- 1 package of Johnsonville Bratwurst, uncooked
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
- Hot Dog buns
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or prepare your grill according to manufacturing standards.
- In a large pot, heat to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the diced onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and allow to cook until fragrant for about 2-3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Chop the ground beef as finely as possible using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Don’t drain the ground beef. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, kidney beans, and chili seasoning and stir. Add the water and stir once more. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender and blend the chili on low for about 1 minute. Just until the chili is less chunky (this is optional). Continue to simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Cover until ready to serve.
- If using the oven, place the bratwurst in a heavy-duty skillet sprayed with non-stick spray. For about 5-7 minutes on both sides. If using a grill, cook on the grill for about the same length of time on both sides. The bratwurst should be browned. Allow cooling slightly.
- Add cooked bratwurst to the hot dog bun, top off with chili, and finely shredded cheddar cheese and serve.