Vintage Celebrity Recipes · Vintage Recipes

Vintage Recipe: Johnny Cash’s Old Iron Pot Chili… No, for reals


I’m not a massive fan of Johnny Cash, but I do own a few of his records and they are pretty solid, we even played his song “Jackson” at our wedding reception. I knew he could play but I had no idea Mr Cash could throw down a damn good chili. 


Okay, let me start off by saying this was one of the most frustrating yet rewarding recipes I have  ever made. It’s not complicated but the recipe I found had exactly 3 measurements and a bunch of “uhhh… sure why not 🤷🏻‍♀️” when it came to measuring out ingredients.

In the recipe below, all the measurements are mine because Johnny Cash don’t need no measurements. 


Johnny Cash’s Old Iron Pot Chili

This recipe was included in his mother’s cookbook. After being begged for years for the recipe, he finally gave it to his mother for use in her book. 

The recipe as it was written made enough for 12 people to have 3 servings each, I made roughly half of that because I do not have a platoon to feed. 

  • 2lbs chopped sirloin steak, I used stew meat
  • 1 package of McCormick’s chili seasoning (not a sponsor)
  • 2TBSP Chili powder
  • 1 package of McCormick’s tex mex chili seasoning, the original recipe called for chili con carne seasoning mix but tex mex was all I could find
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 2 cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes, the original recipe called for canned whole tomatoes, but I am fancy soo…🤷🏻‍♀️
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp galric powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder 
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • Salt to taste
  1. Chop your veggies. This chili will be spicier the next day, so use jalapeños with caution. 
  2. In a large pot, brown chopped meat with the seasoning mix packets, cumin, thyme and sage.
  3. While the meat is cooking, drain and rinse your kidney beans. You don’t need the extra gritty stuff in the bean can, just the beans. Set aside. 
  4. Add the onions and jalapeños to the meat. 
  5. Add the tomato cans, tomato paste and beans and heat for a few minutes. 
  6. Add in the onion powder, garlic powder and sugar, mix. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring often. Salt and pepper to taste. 

If you want to serve it in a sourdough bread bowl, cut the top off of a round loaf at an angle so when you take the top off, the bread is left in a cone shape.
Hollow out the bread bowl and bake in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes. Toasting the bowl will help keep it from getting soggy and falling apart. 

Serve chili in the bread bowl with cheese and sour cream if you dig it. 

Johnny Cash’s “Old Iron Pot Chili” served in a bread bowl. Because we all need an excuse to serve stuff in a bread bowl.

Who knew Johnny Cash knew how to throw down in the kitchen as well as on the guitar? 

If you make this recipe, please tag me on instagram @thevintagetart 💚

What’s your favorite chili recipe? Let me know in comments! 

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2 thoughts on “Vintage Recipe: Johnny Cash’s Old Iron Pot Chili… No, for reals

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