Chili is the quintessential winter warm-up food, and whether it's vegetarian or made for meat eaters, one thing is clear: it's always better homemade (these are our favorite homemade chili recipes, for the record).
Canned beef chili must have its merits, as proven by the fact that Hormel has been in business since 1891. But to be honest, it reminds us a lot of dog food. Just to make sure it's not actually dog food, let's compare the ingredients of the two:
Purina: Water sufficient for processing, poultry, liver, meat by-products, beef, soy flour, rice, carrots, peas, salt, guar gum, potassium chloride, added color, sodium tripolyphosphate, calcium phosphate, carrageenan, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin A supplement, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, sodium selenite. B-5250
Hormel: Water, beef, textured vegetable protein (soy flour, caramel color), chili powder, corn flour, oatmeal, concentrated crushed tomatoes, contains 2% or less of jalapeño peppers, sugar, flavoring, hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat protein, salt, yeast extract, modified cornstarch, spices, oleoresin of paprika.
"Meat by-products" and a boatload of unpronounceable additives make dog food the clear loser here. Now that we've got it straight that canned chili is indeed NOT dog food, it's time to find out who does the best job of making it for humans.
We gathered a panel of editors (all humans) and blind-tasted 11 different kinds of canned beef chili (sorry, vegetarians, but we're going classic with this taste test). Our tasters ranked each chili from best to worst, commenting on the taste, texture and overall impression of each putrid chili. Some were good, some were bad ... but in the end, there was really only one that was pleasant. Find out which one it was in the results below!
As always, this taste test was in no way influenced by the brands included.