• Mary Ann

Miles Davis’s Famous South Side Chicago Chili Mack


From John Szwed’s Miles Davis biography, So What: The Life of Miles Davis. Page 145:

Miles Davis’s South Side Chicago Chili Mack


1/4 lb. suet (beef fat)

1 large onion

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground veal

1/2 lb. ground pork

salt and pepper

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin seed

2 cans kidney beans, drained

1 can beef consommé

1 drop red wine vinegar

3 lb. spaghetti

parmesan cheese

oyster crackers

Heineken beer


1. Melt suet in large heavy pot until liquid fat is about an inch high. Remove solid pieces of suet from pot and discard.

2. In same pot, sauté onion.

3. Combine meats in bowl; season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin.

4. In another bowl, season kidney beans with salt and pepper.

5. Add meat to onions; sauté until brown.

6. Add kidney beans, consommé, and vinegar; simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

7. Add more seasonings to taste, if desired.

8. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, and then divide among six plates.

9. Spoon meat mixture over each plate of spaghetti.

10. Top with Parmesan and serve oyster crackers on the side.

11. Open a Heineken.


John Szwed’s biography of Davis, So What, mentions another chili that the trumpeter’s father taught him how to make. The book includes the ingredients, but no instructions, save for serving it over pasta. Like a jazz musician, you’ll have to improvise.


bacon grease

3 large cloves of garlic

1 green, 1 red pepper

2 pounds ground lean chuck

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 jar of mustard

1/2 shot glass of vinegar

2 teaspoons of chili powder

dashes of salt and pepper

pinto or kidney beans

1 can of tomatoes

1 can of beef broth


serve over linguine