My husband and I have experimented for months with our chili recipe, and this is the version we keep coming back to (it evolved from a recipe we found on SimplyRecipes.com, but we wanted more spice and, of course, beer). You can choose to use just the jalapenos if you aren't a huge fan of spicy things, and you can also use whatever beers you have on hand if you don't have a porter, but we really like the caramel notes the porter imparts. —sara_villegas
6-ish, or 4 very hungry people
slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Combine the spices in a small bowl. We usually don’t have ground oregano or ground thyme on hand, so we use a mortar and pestle to get our dried spices as finely ground as possible. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of water and stir to combine the spices into a thick paste.
In a large pot or Dutch oven with a cover, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside, and remove the bacon fat into a separate heat-proof container.
Return the pot to medium-high heat, add back a tablespoon of bacon fat, and brown the chuck roast in batches. Remove the beef to a separate container.
Return the pot to medium-high heat, add another tablespoon of bacon fat, and cook the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Then stir in the peppers and garlic.
Cook a couple of minutes until fragrant, and then stir in the spice paste. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Crumble the bacon strips and add them to the pot along with the beef, beer, water, tomatoes, lime juice and brown sugar. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
Here is where things start taking forever. You will continue to simmer the chili for hours and hours (we usually shoot for 3 or 4), adding water when it gets too thick. This results in fall-apart tender beef and a nice thick chili without the addition of cornstarch or other thickeners. When you’ve got the flavor and consistency where you want it, add the kidney beans and turn it up to high heat until the beans are heated through.
Serve it up with garnishes of chopped onion, cheese and sour cream if you like. We really like to have cornbread muffins, too.