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President Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili

We found LBJ’s chili recipe in the Briscoe Center for American History’s archive and brought it to one of our world-class chefs to learn how to cook it.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson and U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater fiercely campaigned during 1964 presidential election, but one unexpected issue might have brought the Democratic and Republican nominees together: chili. 

Only a month before the November 1964 election, an article in the Gentry Serenader proclaimed, “Both Candidates Like Chili! Which One Gets Your Vote?” The article presents a different kind of voter guide — the recipes for President Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili and Senator Goldwater’s Chili. 

“Violently dedicated partisans can be comforted by the knowledge that although both men like chili, it’s a different sort of chili, as shown by comparing the recipes above,” the article says.

The chili recipes are part of the Briscoe Center for American History’s collections, which showcase Texas and U.S. history and culture. And since UT Austin is also home to an array of talented chefs who help keep Longhorns happy, healthy and full with delicious dining options, we headed to J2Dining to see what Robert Mayberry, executive chef for Jester Dining, could cook up. 

To celebrate Presidents Day — and to get ready for the 2016 presidential election — give these recipes a try and decide whether Johnson or Goldwater gets your vote:

President Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili

Image courtesy of the Briscoe Center for American History




















As a leading history research center and a public service component of UT Austin, the Briscoe Center for American History collects, preserves and makes available documentary and material culture evidence encompassing key themes in Texas and U.S. history. Researchers, students and the public use the collections for a wide range of academic, professional and personal uses. 

As one of nine departments within the Division of Student Affairs, Housing and Food Service oversees oversees 14 on-campus residence halls, university apartments and 11 dining and retail venues. By engaging students in an inclusive community that fosters learning outside the classroom, they encourage student success and well-being.