Family Recipe Friday – Porubsky’s Chili

I haven’t been to Topeka in 20 years, but I’m certain that a small deli in Little Russia was putting out the same chili then that can be found there today. Topeka is the birthplace of my great grandmother Caroline Porubsky and an eponymous deli, Porubsky’s.

Porubsky’s Deli at 508 N.E. Sardou Street was first opened by Charlie Porubsky in 1947. Charlie is my 1st cousin, 3x removed. For those of you who aren’t good at figuring out cousin relationships (which was me, before my interest in genealogy), I’ll break it down for you starting with my 3rd great grandmother, Christina Porubsky:

Charles and my great grandmother Caroline were first cousins.
Charlie’s grocery and deli soon became famous for two things: hot pickles and chili. Now, I say all of this having never been to Porubsky’s Deli. But there’s enough on the internet for me to believe this is true. There’s even a documentary:
Porubsky’s chili recipe appears on a few different websites, and while I can’t verify its accuracy, I figured I would give it a try anyway and report back for my millions of loyal readers. So here, complete with photos, is the supposed Porubsky’s chili recipe:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds coarsely ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Two 16-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Tobasco to taste
  • Saltine crackers

  1. In a large skillet or gallon pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until they are soft.
  2. Add the beef and salt. Cook until the beef is completely browned, breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, Worcestershire, sugar, tomato sauce, and 2 cups water.
  4. Bring the chili to a low boil and summer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the beans and simmer 15 minutes more.
  6. Add the Tobasco and more salt, if desired.
This was delicious!
The chili was a winner in my book. A very simple beef and red bean chili with great flavor and mild heat. You could obviously jack that up with more Tabasco or by adding red pepper. I added a few dashes of Tabasco and it was perfect me for. If you’re looking for a great, simple recipe, give this one a try.

Jane and Michael Stern. Porubsky’s Grocery Store Chili – Kansas. The Recipe Link Accessed May 8, 2013.

Matthew Porubsky. “Porubsky’s Transcendent Deli.” YouTube. Gizmo Pictures, August 9, 2009. Accessed May 8, 2013.

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