Michelle A – Pedernales River Chili – Lady Bird Johnson’s Chili Recipe

Chili is one of my FAVORITE recipes! It’s not only a comfort food but so easy. My recipe actually comes all the way from Texas. Lady Bird Johnson (President Johnson’s wife) lived in Texas and this is her chili recipe.  

It comes from my Grandpa’s sisters recipe collection. I love that this recipe is hand written and passed down.  My Grandpa was born and raised in Texas. His favorite song, “All My Exes Live in Texas” wasn’t without reason. He enlisted in the Navy, met my Grandma while she was on vacation, and followed her back to Wisconsin.  

Here is the recipe with a little Northern twist: 

Pedernales River Chili – Lady Bird Johnson’s Chili 



  • 4# Chili Meat (Venison or Beef) browned –apparently everything is bigger in TX. I used 1.5lbs of hamburger and .5-1lb of Flat Iron Steak
  • 1 big onion, chopped 
  • 6 tbsp. chili powder (or 1 packet of Our Family Chili Seasoning) 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 28 oz. cans Our Family Diced Tomatoes 
  • 2 cloves  garlic 
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seed 
  • tbsp. oregano 
  • 2 cups hot water 

*Here’s where the North meets the South* 

  • Celery- chopped and cooked 
  • 15 oz. can Our Family Chili Beans 
  • 15 oz. can Our Family Dark Kidney Beans (drained) 
  • 15 oz. can Our Family Light Kidney Beans (drained) 
  • 1 chopped green pepper 
  • 8 oz. can Our Family Tomato Sauce 



Brown your meat of choice. Add chopped green pepper, garlic and onion to meat while it is browning. Drain grease. Add meat to crock pot. Add all other ingredients. Stir and let the crock pot do the cooking. Or if you are a real Texan cowboy/cowgirl…. cook it over an open fire and enjoy it under the stars.