Just Good Chili

December 29, 2009


Author Notes: I've been making this recipe for a few years now, basically an amalgam of chili recipes I have known and loved. This is truly a toss it all in type deal, but you can omit many of the ingredients except, IMHO, the beer, which gives the chili bite, and the spices and onions. Texans will be offended by the beans. Normal people would not add carrots; I do it because my husband likes them. I often use half the liquid recommended if I want a thicker brew. Another cheat is a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and no chili powder. I often make this with ground turkey meat only, and no sirloin at all. I know people who have made it into a vegetarian dish. Do as you like, and enjoy! Jestei

Serves: many
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 3 hrs 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil (i prefer olive veg is fine)
  • 1 pound sirloin, cubed
  • 1 pound ground meat (I prefer buffalo; turkey or beef fine)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Bottle of beer (my choice is Fat Tire)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup coffee (strong is best)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 finely chopped chili of choice (i use seeded serrano)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heaping of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon heaping of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans
  • 1 15 ounce cans white beans
  • 5 large carrots, chopped into discs (OPTIONAL)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. In large stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over med. flame and brown meat, sirloin chunks first then ground.
  2. When meat is lightly browned, throw on the onions.
  3. Take two large sips from the beer.
  4. Add remaining beer plus, tomatoes, coffee and tomato paste.
  5. Add sugar, spices and kidney beans. Reduce flame to low and let simmer for an hour.
  6. Add white beans and carrots simmer for another hour or two; longer will be better. Season as needed.

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Reviews (81) Questions (3)

81 Reviews

Chris D. October 29, 2017
Really good base recipe that takes no more work then using a packet but tastes 100 x better. <br /><br />Alterations I made....<br /><br />Delete Beef Stock<br />Beer = Three Floyds Zombie Dust<br />Swap chili sauce with Frontera Guajillo Pepper Adobo Sauce (3 T)<br />Add Garlic, Red and Green Bell Pepper<br /><br />Excellent stuff for sure!
 
Megan October 8, 2017
This is our go-to chili recipe and I have a pot of it simmering right now. We've been making this since it was originally posted (before Jetsei came back and made some tweaks). It used to have more sugar -- we use 1/3 c. brown sugar. I also always add at least 1 T, and usually more, of some kind of chile powder (often ancho). The long simmer is essential for letting all the flavors meld together. I've made this veg using a combo of partially pulverized chickpeas and smooshed lentils. Love this recipe!
 
Mel August 26, 2017
This is a fantastic recipe, and for all of the ingredients, it's a breeze to make. The seasoning is just perfect. Thank you, Jetsei! I used a Kona Lager and a teaspoon of instant coffee. I wasn't sure what chili sauce was, so I left it out and instead bought dice canned tomatoes with chili seasoning. I also added two cloves of garlic, because I couldn't help it.
 
Naomi S. November 7, 2016
I'm confused by the recipe and the comments. Too much liquid? I didn't have enough. Chili powder? I only see an ingredient listed as "chili sauce." Should the beans go straight from the can into the chili, or should they be rinsed. And is there stock in this? Don't see that either in the recipe. Help!
 
Chef C. November 8, 2016
My advice is to do what you think best. Chili sauce is open to interpretation, I used homemade chipotle salsa - no chili powder, the spices identifies are basically the same thing. Rinse or not the beans, I did because I always do. No stock, that's what the beer and coffee do. So just cook, Naomi!
 
Sarah N. January 22, 2016
Okay, hands down, the BEST chili I've ever had. Seriously amazing flavors. You can really taste the ale. I used less cocoa powder because I'm slightly terrified of cocoa flavors in my savory dishes. The two different kinds of meat were great as my boyfriend is always complaining about not enough meat in chili. I also only used 1 tablespoon of sugar after reading other comments. I didn't miss the other 3 tablespoons.
 
cookinalong October 22, 2015
This was good, if a bit soupy. If I make again, I'll cut down on some of the liquid, probably the stock, and definitely cut down on the sugar. Far too sweet. My husband loved it as is, but for me and our 2 sons, something less sugary & with a bit more heat. I don't know if I'd call it chili, but it's got potential!
 
Courtney W. July 5, 2015
This chili is amazing, love all of the complex flavors! So so easy and delicious!
 
Alex G. May 30, 2015
I love this recipe. It won our hometown chili contest a couple years ago.
 
anne_shelton_crute April 25, 2015
I've made this several times. It is excellen as written, balanced flavors. I have amended it once or twice of necessity, but I keep coming back to the recipe as it is. Delish!
 
Angie S. January 28, 2015
I have been making chili with beer and mexican chocolate for years (my family has just always done it that way, and we are Irish-ha!). It is delicious and always a favorite. Never tried using cocoa powder but will next time.
 
kzmccaff January 28, 2015
I made this with just ground turkey because I'm not a meat eater, but this was delicious! I used diced tomatoes with green chilis, some chipotle in adobo since I had it on hand (chopped fine), and a little dark chili spice just for fun. I think this is a malleable and delicious chili recipe! Use what you have and edit it to your tastes. Yum!!
 
Luc M. December 29, 2014
Made it last night in two versions - meat and vegetarian. Both tribes seemed to love it! Great recipe and you get to drink a few swigs of beer in the making. A keeper...
 
erinrae November 17, 2014
This was fabulous! The change I recommend most is something I learned from another food52 chili recipe--puree one of the cans of beans (I used one of the kidney beans) with some tomatoes), it adds a smooth thickness that makes this a little heartier with nothing extra. I love that this can be played with endlessly, depending on what you have. My variables: I used a 28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, upped the spices a bit, Greenman Porter, a jalapeno, no carrots, one heaping tablespoon of brown sugar, and Sriracha for chili paste. I didn't find it in the least sweet, it was all pretty perfect actually. The flavors were beautifully complex without being garish--coffee, beer, and cocoa were beautiful together. I also *love* the addition of cubed meat, it was so tender with the long simmer, and will probably add more in the future. Thanks for this!
 
Deborah October 22, 2014
Instead of ground beef/turkey, I substituted a pork loin I needed to use.<br />I cut it into med chunks, browned off in cuisinart and followed rest of recipe until the beans.....I had pink beans, white and black beans...they worked great.<br />The meat was so succulent. Lastly, I used Cafe du Mond coffee....the chicory<br />taste was not overwhelming, just right.<br />Thanks for your recipes☀️
 
ann October 21, 2014
Two questions: Do I drain and rinse the canned beans or not?<br />Simmer covered or uncovered?
 
Whitney G. October 21, 2014
Hi ann, I don't know that this is a right answer, but I always drain and rinse my canned beans because I find the liquid they sit in gooey and tasteless. Others may differ. Simmering covered or uncovered is something I judge based on the liquid in the recipe. I tend to like to simmer uncovered because the evaporation reduces the chili, helps caramelization, and intensifies the flavors. If you are worried that it will become to thick, add a bit more liquid - you can always cook it off. This particular recipe I feel really benefits from the reduction process. Just one other word to the wise on this one - I make this recipe with decaf coffee now. Learned that the hard way.
 
lisavanin October 20, 2014
I made this and OMG... omg omg. So good. Been up all night thinking of it. Thanks!
 
Owen S. August 19, 2014
That is not chili...It is a soup like chili....I have a recipe for chili that won the world championship many many years ago, forgot the date...It is so far above this there is no comparison and no cocoa..chili does not have cocoa, the meats the whole thing is for amateurs......................
 
pestopasta February 3, 2015
Any chance you're from Texas? All the chili fundamentalists I've met are. If you are willing to share it, please post this world championship recipe. Thanks.
 
pestopasta February 3, 2015
Any chance you're from Texas? All the chili fundamentalists I've met are. If you are willing to share it, please post this world championship recipe. Thanks.
 
gerald B. October 1, 2016
But that's just Texas. In the US we use beans.
 
DeArmasA March 18, 2014
WOW!!!! I admit, I was skeptical of the ingredient list, but this was a fantastic recipe! A few comments: a) I started with soaked dried beans, so I added a 14.5oz can of tomato sauce and a 14.5oz can of water b) I omitted the sirloin c) I added roasted corn. Thank you for sharing!!
 
Geni March 7, 2014
This was Delicious! I'd never used the cocoa, coffee, beer combo in chili before and my husband was prepared to not like it at all ("nobody makes chili THAT way"!). He then ate 2 very large bowls and said it was great! Had only 1 lb of ground beef so I tweaked the recipe. Since I kept adding more and more of the spices as well as the chili "holy trinity"(not the cajun/creole "holy trinity"), I probably ended up using close to the original amounts. I didn't have a chili to use, I used a whole can of tomatoes, 1 can of light red kidney beans, and because I'd had my 1 yo and 4 yo grand children for the entire day, I took several big swigs of the beer and added the rest. Forgot to add the cayenne, but will next time. Used a whole red bell pepper instead of carrots and about 2 Tb brown sugar. Will make again soon! Thanks so much for the recipe!
 
Frank March 4, 2014
How much beef stock?!
 
Author Comment
Jestei March 5, 2014
sorry: i took the beef stock out of the recipe because i decided it added too much liquid (i have been tweaking this recipe lately) but if you wanted to add stock i'd do 1/2 a cup
 
Howard R. November 29, 2015
Jestei, This is so delicious! Made this recipe several times. So many flavors going on. One question: Do you drain and rinse the canned beans?