1 lb ground pork (we use antibiotic free)
1 lb ground beef (we use 85/15 grass fed beef. 80/20 would be okay too but don't go with 95/5 as you need the fat for this to taste good)
Seasonings are approximate and to taste. Increase heat and salt as you taste the meat to your personal preference. We prefer using organic spices.
2.5 TBSP hot chili powder
1 TBSP cumin
2 cloves finely minced garlic (we leave the garlic out as I eat FODMAP but this is in the original family recipe)
1.5 TBSP ground sage
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
Start with 1 tsp salt and add more to taste
Brown beef and pork in a skillet. Break the meat up as it is cooking. You're looking for the texture to be as fine as possible. As the meat is turning brown, add all of your spices and about 1/2 c or so of water. Stir well, turn to a low simmer and cover. Every 6 to 7 minutes, open the lid and keep breaking the meat up to get that fine texture. Add a little more water if the spices and heat of cooking have sucked the water up. What you're looking for is to see a little bit of fluid pooling but not have the meat drowning, like a little bit of a greasy sauce. You want the little bit of water and fat from the meat to come together as a reddish spicy oil in the bottom of the pan. The grease is important for the taste. It takes about 40 minutes of low simmering and tending to have all the flavors come together. Add a little salt toward the end to taste.
Once your delicious, slightly spicy meat is ready, you will top it on spaghetti noodles. The northern Ohio way is to top spaghetti noodles with a large portion of this meat and then top that with some pinto beans and finely diced raw white onion. That is how Greg prefers to eat it with lots of parmesan on top, along with a few other modifications below. We actually use Locatelli's pecorino romano because it is saltier and more flavorful that parmesan.
We also halve and roast grape tomatoes in the oven and top our mac with those. Diced raw tomatoes are more a Cincinnati interpretation but we prefer the flavor of the roasted grape (or cherry) tomatoes. Cincinnati variants also are topped with a boat load of shredded cheddar, but we put the cheddar in with the noodles so that it melts, if we use cheddar.
We also finely mince jalapenos and cook those in a skillet. Greg tosses the pasta with those jalapenos, tops with the meat, beans, raw onion, roasted cherry tomatoes and pecorino.
Angela's way: I prefer to eat my chili mac atop white rice pad thai noodles (wider noodles, gluten free. We use Annie Chung's brand) that have been tossed with the jalapeno and shredded cheddar cheese so that the cheese melts all over the noodles. If you have Publix in your area, Hoop cheddar is the absolute best melting cheddar, in my opinion. It's very flavorful and there is a lot of pull and it coats and melts wonderfully. I also enjoy this same cheese/jalepeno method with brown rice elbow macaroni noodles (Also gluten free. I use Field Day brand). It takes on a kind of mac and cheese texture and I prefer my noodles with all the melted cheese on them. I prefer the toppings of roasted grape tomatoes and pecorino with just a couple of the beans and no onions at all.
You could definitely top traditional macaroni and cheese with the meat mixture and the other toppings (roasted grape tomatoes, onion, pinto, parmesan) as well. It's all up to your personal flavor preferences!