The RV Chronicles — Opening Day ain’t so bad at the ‘Jimmy Rockford’ (Recipe: Brick Chili)

If baseball is America’s pastime, why isn’t Opening Day a national holiday?

I mean, our friends in Washington have set aside Columbus Day and Presidents Day as official days off. And then there’s Thanksgiving, which was an on-and-off celebration for the first 100 years of our nation’s history.

Before you go thinking that I’m starting a petition to end (New Jersey’s) October parades or the annual slew of furniture sale flyers that pack my mailbox, just hold your horses. I’m merely pointing out that baseball is more important.

To me, at least. Even at the Jimmy Rockford, where my TV is small and seating is quite limited.

After all, baseball is so much more fun than 15th century explorers … or presidents.


This time a year ago, I was dining on a marvelous Fiery Jalapeno Relish-topped hot dog while following my Texas Rangers on the Internet. My 2017 Opening Day was better — I was able to watch the game on television. And my hot dogs this time around? Wow.

My recipe for Brick Chili was inspired by the kindness of my friend Chef Gene Roblyer. He’s been around the kitchen a time or seven,  and he’s cool like a frozen slab of marble. Chef Gene was educated at Oklahoma State University. He’s been a professional chef longer than I’ve been alive.

Still, he appreciates the regional places like Braum’s, an Oklahoma-based restaurant/dairy chain that restricts its service area to a 300-mile radius. In addition to its ice cream, Braum’s is also known for its Brick Chili, so-called because the stuff is sold in frozen bricks to be warmed at home.

It’s warm, spicy, bad for you and … wonderful. Especially on a hot dog. Following is my version of this incredible concoction.

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Brick Chili

Brick Chili —

Brick Chili — Warm. Spicy. Bad for you. And wonderful … especially on a hot dog.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Brick Chili
The stuff that Braum's made famous. Brick Chili — Warm. Spicy. Bad for you. And wonderful ... especially on a hot dog.
Recipe type: Main
  • 1 lb – Ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 cup – Beef broth
  • 1 cup – Tomato sauce (preferably El Pato brand)
  • ½ cup – Chopped onion
  • 1 TB – Smoked paprika
  • 1 TB – Chile powder (preferably Ancho)
  • 1 TB – Cumin
  • 1 tsp – Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp – Garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp – Cayenne (or ground Chipotle)
  • ½ cup - Oatmeal
  • Salt, to taste (optional)
  1. In a large sauce pan or skillet, combine everything except the oatmeal.
  2. Cook over medium heat, crumbling meat, until mixture is fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, skim fat, then add oatmeal.
  4. Place pan on a medium burner and cook, stirring regularly, until mixture has thickened and oatmeal is no longer noticeable, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, to taste, if necessary.



  1. I have everything I need to make this and you better believe I’m going to do it this weekend! We are grilling burgers a nd hot dogs – making the need for brick chili (for both) paramount! Thank you so much for working on this —- for a long time I suspect —–because I really need to know how to make it at home!!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Kelli. My version isn’t exactly the same as Braum’s. (I don’t use beef suet, for example.) But it has all the flavor components. Enjoy!

  2. Well, it used to be Opening Day was a lot of fun around here. Way back when we shared tickets with a few and went to a lot of games. Miss it! Yes, I do! And it is supposed to be gorgeous here tomorrow! However I will be happy to satisfy myself with your amazing chili. I confess I’ve never seen oatmeal in chili but that won’t stop me from a sauce bun-skip the dog!

    • adamjholland says:

      I too remember when I had regular access to baseball. Opening Day was always so magical in-person. I could’ve done it this year, but we’re trying to get one house sold and close on another one. It just wasn’t in the cards. I appreciate your kind words, and if you make a vegetarian version of this, I’d love to share it here.

  3. Dang, Adam, you’ve done it again! Made me go drool on my keyboard.

  4. Well heck. Since my mom has passed, we’ve not been back to Hutchinson Kansas for over a year and a half. Hutch has a Braums and we’ve eaten there many times. I wish I would have known about that chili, Thanks for this recipe. Smoked paprika makes everything better.

    • adamjholland says:

      Next time you’re in Kansas, stop by a Braum’s and grab the brick chili from the freezer section. It’s good (guilty) stuff.

  5. A thousand pardons my culinary compadre’ for neglecting your comment section lately. Life happens… but hot dogs with brick chili certainly would help! Thanks for your adaptation of Braum’s recipe. Oatmeal… who knew?! Just printed it off… love your flavor concoctions. 🙂

    • adamjholland says:

      All is forgiven, Kim. I’m not much in the comments department either. I hope you’re well and I’m glad you stopped by. 🙂

  6. Now, this looks like a chili dog I can live with….or live for, depending on your perspective. My mother’s love for chili dogs might give your chili dog passion a run for its money. Your post warmed my heart and brought some good memories.

    • adamjholland says:

      Aww, thank you, Jackie. I’m not sure that anyone loves hot dogs more than yours truly, but I sure would like to know more about your mom’s chili dog exploits (and a recipe). I know your website is one of the most popular ones out there, and if you have Mom’s chili recipe, we need to have it .. Stat! 🙂

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