Chili was first made by the Spanish Canary Islanders, in the city of San Antonio, Texas,
which they founded. This recipe that was used for American expeditions consisted of
dried beef, raw animal fat, dried chili peppers and salt, which were pounded together and
left to dry into bricks, then be boiled in pots on the trail. Texas became the birthplace of
the popular American stew/soup known as Chili, and I think there can be little doubt that
Mexican cooking and spices contributed to its development. After all, the area of Texas
was once Mexico. Even though the US conquered and claimed that territory, the original
Mexican people and their spices and traditions were still in place.

The "San Antonio Chili Stand", in operation at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago,
helped people from other parts of the country taste and appreciate chili. San Antonio was
a significant tourist destination and helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout
the South and West. "Chili Con Carne" is the official dish of the U.S. State of Texas as
designated by the House Concurrent Resolution Number 18 of the 65th Texas Legislature
during its regular session in 1977

Chili, like apple pie, is an American icon, and is not served in Mexico except for areas that
cater to tourists. When the Mexican people make "Chili Con Carne", they are referring to a
dish that is a soupy concoction laced with Chiles (the word for peppers) and chunks of
meat, sometimes beef or sometimes goat.

Chili, like soup, has many variations and incarnations and this is what makes it so hard to
define Chili's origins. However, if you said that Chili unquestionably has a 'Western' flavor,
you would be pretty much on the money.

There are various twists and turns in the history of Chili and various stories. For example,
one story told is that Chili was invented by chuck wagon cooks who traveled along with
the cowboys on long cattle drives across the rugged hills and deserts of the great
Southwest. The story goes that, as they traveled in one direction, the cooks planted
oregano, chilis, and onions among patches of mesquite to give them protection from
extreme sun, foraging cattle, and other critters. Then, on their way back along the same
trail, they would collect the spices, combine them with chopped beef and call it "Trail
Stew"or "Trail Drive Chili."

Another version claims that Chili was an invention of the Texas prison systems in early
times because the prisons bought the cheapest and toughest cuts of meat. To make them
more palatable, they took cleavers and knives to the meat to create little pieces that were
then boiled, along with chilis and spices to create a cheap and satisfying meal.

Chili, as with most of the foods we know and eat, did not spring from the place that would
seem the most obvious. But no one can deny that Spanish and Mexican cuisine had a
profound influence on its development.

Besides the Mexican influence in the area, there were also Native Americans. They
commonly made a high-energy food, called Pemmican, which they carried in leather
pouches when they hunted or traveled long distances.

So hunters, trappers, and trail drivers knew a good thing when they saw it, so before long
they were making to take with them a combination of bear grease or buffalo fat, chopped
buffalo meat, berries and nuts. Later beef came to replace buffalo, but the recipe basically
stayed the same. Then someone made the whole process easier by inventing chili
powder. But, there is even debate over that. One candidate seems to be a German
immigrant, William Gebhart, who, in 1902 (or thereabouts) at New Braunfels, Texas (not
far from San Antonio) created chili powder which helped popularize chili and eventually
was sold under the brand name Gebhardt's Chili Powder which is still on the market.

Then there was DeWitt Clinton Pendery who was a grocer in Fort Worth, Texas and in the
late 1800s was selling a crushed blend of Chiles (or Chilies) under a brand name of
"Pendery Spices" 30 years earlier, which is still sold today.

In 1912 a chemists by the name of Wilbur Scoville, working for the Parke-Davis
pharmaceutical company, developed a method to measure the heat level of chile peppers.
The test is named after him, the "Scoville Organoleptic Test". It is a subjective
dilution-taste procedure. In the original test, Wilbur blended pure ground Chiles with
sugar-water and a panel of "testers" then sipped the solution, in increasingly diluted
concentrations, until they reached the point that the liquid no longer burned their mouths.
A number was then assigned to each chile pepper based on how much it needed to be
diluted before they could no longer taste (feel) the heat.

The pungency (or heat factor) of chile peppers is measured in multiples of 100 units. The
sweet bell peppers at zero Scoville units to the mighty Naga Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) at
over 1,000,000 Scoville units! One part of chile "heat" per 1,000,000 drops of water is
rated at only 1.5 Scoville Units. The substance that makes a chile so hot is called
Capsaicin (cap-say-ah-sin). Pure Capsaicin rates between 15,000,000 and 16,000,000
Scoville Units! Today a more scientific and accurate method called liquid chromatography
is used to determine capsaicin levels. In honor of Dr. Wilbur the unit of measure is still
named Scoville.   

Below is list of different kinds of chili peppers along with their "Scoville Heat Units".
Types of Chili Peppers

Pimento (or Pimiento) chili pepper: 100 - 500 Scovilles. Not just for stuffing olives.
Pimiento is the Spanish word for "pepper".

Pepperoncini chili pepper: 100-500 Scovilles: Also known as Tuscan Peppers. These
sweet, mild chili peppers are found in Italy and Greece.

Pasilla chili pepper: 250 - 3,999 Scovilles: Pasilla or "little raisin" properly refers to the
dried chilaca pepper. The chilaca, when fresh, is also known as pasilla bajio, or as
the chile negro or "Mexican negro" because, while it starts off dark green, it ends up
dark brown. It typically grows from 8 to 10 inches long.

Paprika chili pepper: 250 - 1000 Scovilles. A large, cone-shaped chili pepper. It is
dried and ground to make the more familiar powdered spice.

Santa Fe Grande chili pepper: 500 - 700 Scovilles. Also known as the yellow hot chile
and the guero chile. Approximately 5 inches long and ripen from greenish-yellow, to
orange-yellow to red.

Anaheim chili pepper: 500 - 1,000 Scovilles. Also known as the yellow hot chile and
the guero chile. Approximately 5 incheslong and ripen from greenish-yellow, to
orange-yellow to red.

Poblano chili pepper: 1,000 - 2,000 Scovilles. The poblano is an extremly popular
chili peppers. 4 inches long, very dark green in color, ripening to dark red or brown.

Ancho chili pepper: 1,000 - 2,000 Scovilles. An Ancho pepper is dried form of the
poblano chili pepper.

Hatch chili peppers: 1,000 - 2,500 Scovilles. Hatch chili peppers are grown and
harvested in Hatch Valley, New Mexico. They are harvested in late July and early
August and have a mild to medium flavor. The peppers are long and curved, much
like the Anaheim chili pepper, and are perfect for stuffing.

Aji chili pepper: 1,177 - 75,000 Scovilles. Also known generally as the Peruvian hot
pepper, aji is the common name primarily in South America and areas of the
Caribbean for chili peppers.

Jalapeno Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. The world's most popular chili pepper!
Harvested when they are green or red if allowed to ripen, about 4-6 inches long.

Chipotle Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. A chipotle is a smoked jalapeno chili
pepper. You'll notice the distinctive smoky flavor of certain foods like salsas that have
been prepared with chipotle peppers. Very delicious.

Morita Chili Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. A smoked red jalapeno, similar to a
chipotle pepper.

Sweet bell pepper: 0 Scovilles. The typical green bell pepper, about the size of a
large fist. Very mild.

Pimento (or Pimiento) chili pepper: 100 - 500 Scovilles. Not just for stuffing olives.
Pimiento is the Spanish word for "pepper".

Pepperoncini chili pepper: 100-500 Scovilles: Also known as Tuscan Peppers. These
sweet, mild chili peppers are found in Italy and Greece.

Pasilla chili pepper: 250 - 3,999 Scovilles: Pasilla or "little raisin" properly refers to the
dried chilaca pepper. The chilaca, when fresh, is also known as pasilla bajio, or as
the chile negro or "Mexican negro" because, while it starts off dark green, it ends up
dark brown. It typically grows from 8 to 10 inches long.

Paprika chili pepper: 250 - 1000 Scovilles. A large, cone-shaped chili pepper. It is
dried and ground to make the more familiar powdered spice.

Santa Fe Grande chili pepper: 500 - 700 Scovilles. Also known as the yellow hot chile
and the guero chile. Approximately 5 inches long and ripen from greenish-yellow, to
orange-yellow to red.

Anaheim chili pepper: 500 - 1,000 Scovilles. Also known as the yellow hot chile and
the guero chile. Approximately 5 incheslong and ripen from greenish-yellow, to
orange-yellow to red.

Poblano chili pepper: 1,000 - 2,000 Scovilles. The poblano is an extremly popular
chili peppers. 4 inches long, very dark green in color, ripening to dark red or brown.

Ancho chili pepper: 1,000 - 2,000 Scovilles. An Ancho pepper is dried form of the
poblano chili pepper.

Hatch chili peppers: 1,000 - 2,500 Scovilles. Hatch chili peppers are grown and
harvested in Hatch Valley, New Mexico. They are harvested in late July and early
August and have a mild to medium flavor. The peppers are long and curved, much
like the Anaheim chili pepper, and are perfect for stuffing.

Aji chili pepper: 1,177 - 75,000 Scovilles. Also known generally as the Peruvian hot
pepper, aji is the common name primarily in South America and areas of the
Caribbean for chili peppers.

Jalapeno Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. The world's most popular chili pepper!
Harvested when they are green or red if allowed to ripen, about 4-6 inches long. A
chipotle is a smoked jalapeno chili pepper.

Chipotle Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. A chipotle is a smoked jalapeno chili
pepper. You'll notice the distinctive smoky flavor of certain foods like salsas that have
been prepared with chipotle peppers. Very delicious.

Morita Chili Pepper: 2,500 - 8,000 Scovilles. A smoked red jalapeno, similar to a
chipotle pepper.

Serrano pepper: 5,000 - 23,000 Scovilles. A smaller version of the jalapeno, similar in
color, but smaller, about 1 to 2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide. Dark green to redish in
color. Getting spicier!

Tabasco pepper: 30,000 - 50,000 Scovilles. Yep, this is the chili pepper used in
Tabasco sauce. The fruit is tapered and under 2 inches long. The color is usually
creamy yellow to red.

Cayenne pepper: 30,000 - 50,000 Scovilles. A thin chile pepper, green to red in color,
about 2 to 3 inches long. The "cayenne pepper" spice you use is the dried, ground
version of this pepper.

Tien Tsin Pepper: 50,000 - 75,000 Scovilles.  The Tien Tsin is named after the
province in China where its harvest originally took place.

Rocoto Pepper: 30,000 - 100,000 Scovilles. AKA the Manzano pepper. This chili
pepper is normally found in South America. It is among the oldest of domesticated
chili peppers, and was grown up to as much as 5000 years ago. It is probably related
to undomesticated chili peppers that still grow in South America.

Thai chili pepper: 50,000 - 100,000 Scovilles. Despite the common belief, there is no
single "Thai chili pepper" though most candidates for the title are small in size and
high in heat or pungency. There are at least 79 separate varieties of chili that have
appeared from three species in Thailand.

Scotch bonnet: 100,000 - 350,000 Scovilles. This pepper is a cultivar of the habanero
and is among the hottest peppers anywhere.  Its name derives from its resemblance
to the Scottish Tam o’ Shanter hat, though it appears primarily in the Carribean and
in Guyana and the Maldives.

Habanero chili pepper: 100,000 - 350,000 Scovilles. Related to the Scotch Bonnet.
This one is the granddaddy of all the hot peppers in terms of heat level. Grown
mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, its coloring is yellow-orange, orange or
bright red, depending upon when it's harvested. Average Size 1 to 2 1/2 inches long
and 1 to 2 inches diameter and tam-shaped.

Caribbean Red Habanero: 300,000 - 475,000 Scovilles. This extremely hot pepper,
originally from the Yucatn peninsula in Mexico, is now also cultivated in the Carribean
and around North America.

Red Savina Habanero: 200,000 - 580,000 Scovilles. This pepper is a cultivar of the
habanero.  It once held the Guinness Record for the hottest chili pepper, but the Bhut
Jolokia now claims that prize.  

Bhut Jolokia: 1,001,304 Scovilles. The hottest of all chili peppers.

Naga Viper: 1,359,000  Scovilles. A new pepper created in England, a cross bred of
the Bhut Jolokia and two other chilis
So if you like your chili spicy hot, mild or made to resemble rocket fuel, this American icon
of a soup/stew can be made with a variety of different ingredients from Con Carne to
Con
Corny. Whether you desire it over rice, over pasta or straight up in a bowl with some
crackers, this blend of spices, meats and vegetables has infinite variations that has it's
origins in the American southwest and has become an international favorite enjoyed by
everyone.