Summer is just around the bend, and the smell of early evening BBQs (or as some of you say ‘cook-outs’), in the air is already abound. Good people, good food, good beverages, good times. While there always must be a meat, or a variety thereof to make a great BBQ, I love the sides, and one of my favorites is chili accompanied by cornbread.

It most recently reminds me of a 4thof July BBQ at my old greasy spoon house—no offense guys—on Bay Street in San Francisco, a fun day indeed!

Chili and cornbread for a BBQ you say? Yes, and here is why. It’s the perfect side for all of your favorite meats OR vegetables. Slathering chili on your burger or hotdog immediately adds a tremendous amount of texture and flavor, and if you stock up on some small bowls, it also makes a great starter.

A pot of chili can easily stay warm if you have a burner on your grill, or even in a closed container outside. Some of you might eat cornbread with the chili, but it can also serve as a desert, which is what I prefer. Nothing better than hot cornbread slathered in butter and honey. “More please!”

My favorite recipe for chili comes from my mother Pam "Pamcake" Wilkinson, who still makes chili every once-in-awhile when I come home and visit—especially for me. And for all of you folks like me who sometimes take the easy route in cooking, Mrs. Wilkinson’s specially-kept-unrevealed-until- today secret makes it a painless process—Carroll Shelby’s Original Texas Brand Chili Kit.

And just like the saying goes, good things come in small packages, the only thing I’d add to that is, sometimes in small brown packages (as shown below). Carroll Shelby’s is usually available at your local grocery store, or you can order it online.

Carroll Shelby's Original Texas Style Chili


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 package Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit (contains all of the essentials below):
    • -1 chili packet for seasoning
    • -1 packet of cayenne pepper
    • -1 packet of salt
    • -1 packet of masa flour for thickness

Option to add beans (I always do, and prefer white beans, although a can of kidney would work as well)

For chunkier chili, feel free to add canned tomatoes to taste



Brown ground beef in large skillet. Drain fat. Add tomato sauce and water. Add Large Spice Packet and salt to taste. For spicier chili, add cayenne pepper (small red packet*). Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve piping hot. Makes 5 servings.

*I like spice, so I always heat it up with the cayenne pepper

Hey history buffs, there actually is a Carol Shelby, and he’s a former race car driver that had a chili recipe named after him. If only we could all be so lucky.

And for all of you that are counting your calories, which I sure as heck should be, you can find calories and nutritional information here.

Other useful links:

International Chili Society

Chili Appreciation Society International

Chilicon carne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

chili: Food Network

Red Hot Chili Peppers Online Finger in Wendy's Chili

AuthorMichaela Wilkinson