Hi, this is Lisa's husband Eddie, guest blogging my award winning chili based on popular demand (mostly from my wife).
I tried a number of different approaches in the following years, including a purist Texas style chili that shunned beans and ground beef in favor of unadorned hunks of stew meat simmered in what I thought was an excellent balance of chiles and spices. “Delicious”, someone told me after I placed third, “but it’s not really chili”.
The award winning chili had beans in it. And I had to admit it was much better than mine, in part because it had three different kinds of meat in it, including sausage.
Determined to come up with an award winning chili, I narrowed my sights to multiple-meat chilis and came upon Guy Fieri’s Dragon Breath chili, which is the recipe I’m adapting here.
This chili contains chuck meat, Italian pork sausage and ground beef plus three different kinds of peppers (poblano, Anaheim and jalapeño) which results in excellent flavor, texture and heat. And my version has a little something extra! Fieri‘s recipe calls for either bacon grease or canola oil to sauté the aromatics. Easy choice I thought, but it’s not as if you can buy bacon grease so I got a 12-oz package of bacon, cut it into small pieces and rendered the fat myself. It produced just about the right amount of fat, but also an interesting byproduct. As I looked at those cooked bits of bacon I thought “who am I kidding? Those are going into my chili!”
Also Lisa advised that I use three different kinds of chili powder to add a depth of flavor to match up against the three (now four actually) kinds of meat and three types of chili pepper. Finally, my taste in beer steered me toward an IPA rather than the lager suggested by the original recipe.
Aside from those differences and the fact that I brown the meat separately instead of in with the sautéed vegetables, the credit goes to Fieri for an amazing recipe, especially his use of spices which generates a level of heat that is just on the edge, which in my view is where a chili should be.
My chili won two cook-offs outright including one against Dean’s award winning white chicken chili.
It also took best meat chili in a third competition (lost to a vegetarian in the all-around that year) and came in a very close second to Dean’s white chicken chili in another cook-off that was heartbreaking for me.
Against a field of roughly 20 chilis and with hundreds of votes tallied, Dean and I were counted up exactly even to tie for the win and the medal was awarded jointly to us. In what has since become known as Chili-gate, I later that day discovered that unlike the previous competition, the cooks were not allowed to vote. I conceded that I had in fact voted and presented sole ownership of the blue ribbon to Dean. I kidded him that my vote was for his chili (it wasn’t).
HERE'S HOW TO MAKE EDDIE'S AWARD WINNING CHILI:
This chili takes time to prepare and involves numerous ingredients, but it's totally worth it and the basics are straightforward.
Start by roasting, peeling and chopping the chiles. Keep a close eye on them while they are roasting - things can escalate quickly.
In the meantime, cut up and fry down the bacon to provide the grease to use for sautéing (and the bacon itself!). You then sauté the chiles and vegetables in the bacon fat, remove them and brown the meat in the same pot.
Then add the spices, the tomato sauce and paste, chicken broth and beer and simmer for two hours.
Lisa asked me to advise you that if you want to be a little healthier you can skim the fat off the surface periodically which, in my opinion, for this dish is sort of like saying that if you want to be a little safer when you go cliff diving, wear knee pads. But anyway consider it mentioned.
No skimming was involved when I took first place in the cook-offs. And if you really want a healthy chili option, try this vegetarian chili or this Turkey Chili.
I also want to say that it is great to have a sous chef alongside when you prepare this chili, preferably Lisa.
One final note: for my taste the heat level is perfect, but if you want to tone it down, the best way is by reducing the amount of cayenne pepper.
Here's my award winning chili recipe. If you make this please come back to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Eddie's Award Winning Chili
- Total Time: 3 hours 45 mins
- Yield: 10-12 1x
A fantastic award winning chili con carne, with beef, pork, three kinds of chilis, a perfect balance of spice and heat.
- 3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
- 3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
- 12 ounces of bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch strips and sautéed until almost crisp. Reserve 3 tablespoons of bacon fat.
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat (rendered from the bacon)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, grape seed or your favorite)
- 2 red bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced (10-12 garlic cloves, 6 tablespoons minced garlic)
- 1 pound boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat and gristle, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 3 tablespoons chili powder (Try using 3 different chili powders for great depth of flavor - I use ancho, chipotle and Mexican)
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (Half this amount for less heat)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- 2 teaspoons hot paprika (not smoked)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups tomato sauce (passata, not ketchup for those in the UK)
- 8 ounces tomato paste
- 12 ounces of your favorite beer (I use an IPA because I like the hoppy flavor)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, with juice
- 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, with juice
- Optional Garnishes:
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced or 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Shredded cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
- Sour cream
- Roast the Chilies: Preheat the oven to broil (500ºF) Set an oven rack at the top, directly under the broiler. Spread the chiles out on a low-sided oven tray and roast for 15-20 minutes, turning peppers with tongs every five minutes, until their skins are about 60-70% blackened on all sides. Put the hot peppers directly into a paper bag. Roll down the top of the bag so they're tightly contained. Let them sit and steam for 15-20 minutes until the skins are loosened and easy to peel off. Peel off skins, remove seeds and membranes, and chop.
- Sauté Chilis and Aromatics: Add the bacon grease and oil to a large heavy pot or Dutch oven (6-quart), over medium-high heat. Add the chopped chiles, red bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and onions. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables just start to become translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer all the sautéed vegetables to a bowl and set aside. No need to wash the pot, you'll use it to brown the meat.
- Brown the Meats: Add the cubed beef chuck to the pot and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring to break up the sausage and ground beef, until the meat is no longer pink. Return the cooked vegetables to the pot along with the reserved bacon.
- Add Spices: chili powders, cayenne, coriander, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add the Rest of the Ingredients: Add the tomato sauce and paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, to combine. Add beer, chicken stock, kidney beans with their liquid and pinto beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- To Serve: Ladle chili into bowls. Top with garnishes or put garnishes into small bowls for self serve.
- Prep Time: 1 hour 45 mins
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keywords: chili con carne, meaty chili, chili with beef and pork
I have been making this chili for a while now. I have even started canning the tomatoes and pinto beans that I put in it! I use my own canned 32 hour beef bone broth instead of chicken broth and the depth of flavor really shines through. Of course I put my own twist of spices too. Won a small cook off with my family and will be entering one at church!
Hi Bianca - thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and a star rating. I am adding you to my special list of chili cook-off winners! At some point in the near future I am going to announce a milestone.
I’m curious if I could add this to a crockpot after it’s all browned up and let it cook on low all day? How do you think that would make it taste?
Can't wait to try this! But I'm wondering if I could decrease the beans by half and still preserve the flavor? Thanks!
Hi Terri - you can definitely take the beans down by half. You will be fine. Enjoy!
Wow! Enjoyed this a lot! I liked the suggestion of adding multiple types of chili powders!
Happy new year! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a rating and a comment. I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe. It's such a hearty winter meal. As I told Darin, my wife gets the credit for diversifying on the chili powders.
This is the closest to what I do. Although I have issues with a few ingredients. Why use two diced onions and call for granulated onions? Beef is Beef. Two hours in a simmer and let's see if you can tell the difference.
This was actually good ... damn good. Every ingredient seems to complement the final result. I was skeptical of some ingredients but I whole heartedly recommend this recipe.
Best chili I've ever tasted. Wow. Wonderful depth of flavor, thanks! Great idea to vary the types of chili powder. I used regular chili powder as well as ancho. Easy recipe to adjust the hotness.
Thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and a five star rating! I am so glad you enjoyed this chili so much. Using three different chili powders was my wife's idea, so she gets the credit on that call. I agree it makes a huge difference.
Just noticed that the recipe for 2X didn't change the amount of garlic re tablespoons. Should be 12? (2 head garlic, peeled and minced (20-24 garlic cloves, 6 tablespoons minced garlic). Just thought you might want to know. Making grocery list now for the Saturday cooking marathon. I'm feeding a family of 8 for a friend and hoping 1X will be plenty, as it says up to 12 servings. I may do 1.5X. What are your thoughts? Thank you for the recipe.
Thanks for your comment - you are absolutely right, the "widget" that does the calculations is not capturing the number of tablespoons. We will make that adjustment on the site so as not to confuse others. You will be absolutely fine serving eight people with the recipe as it is - no need for 1.5X-ing unless you want to save some leftovers for a future meal. This dish freezes very well. Please come back and let me know how things go!
PS - what a good friend you are!
This is definitely one of my favorite chili recipes and I will use it again!
Great to hear Pops! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and a five star rating!
Could this be done in an instant pot?
I have never tried using an instant pot, but I spent a little time researching this and it looks like it would be possible. Have a look at youtube where there are a number of videos that can be helpful. Essentially, you are sautéing the vegetables and meat in bacon fat, which can be done in the pot, then adding spices, then the rest of the ingredients and pressure cooking. The one thing I wouldn't shortcut is roasting your own chilies, which does take a bit of time but it's worth it. If you do decide to try this approach, I would love to hear how it turns out.
Unbelievable Chili! The flavors from the peppers really shine through and the variety of meats/spices add a ton of depth. This was a huge hit for everyone who tried before it ran out!
Hi Mike - thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave a star rating and a comment. I am so glad you and your crew enjoyed this recipe so much. Sounds like you might need to double it up next time!
I won our local chili cook off last night. There were 11 entrants and I won by a landslide. I did add a few of my own secret ingredients but this recipe is awesome!!
Hi Gretchen - I am so happy to hear you took the blue ribbon in your chili cook off, and by a landslide to boot! I really appreciate your coming back to let me know. We are almost up to 100 winners who have reported back here. Keep those final ingredients secret - you never know, you might be up against this exact chili (it has happened before), and this way you have a little something extra.
I am really interested in cooking your chili but some ingredients are hard to get in Germany (if you don't live next to Berlin or Hamburg or any other bigger city).
Anaheim and Poblanos - don't know where to get them...
And what is "Sweet italian sausage"? Is that a Salsiccia? Or Salami?
Besides the rest of the description might be a challange but looks doable so far.
Can you provide me some help on the chilis and the sausage?
Thanks a lot!
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the pepper types that exist in Germany, but I was able to find this site that might be helpful: https://pfefferhaus.de/de/chili-70/. They seem to carry some of the Mexican varieties. Other than the jalapenos, I would avoid any with extreme heat. As for the sausage, you are most definitely looking for salsiccia, NOT salami. I hope this is helpful and if you are able to pull it off, I would love to know how your chili comes out.
I have won a chili contest with this chili, although it was a small workplace contest. However, I am so confident in this chili that I often boast at my new workplace that I've got the best chili. I think I added some cocoa powder back in the day, but I'm not sure there was much of a difference. A lot of times I will half this recipe and just make it for my little family of two, it's sooo good. Thank you for this! 🙂
hey Eddie, I like your chili recipe. Question, I need 3 gals for this cook-off I am entering will the 3x's recipe be enough? if not can you tell me what I need to make 3 gals, please?
Hi John - this recipe makes about six quarts, so doubling should get you to roughly three gallons. Good luck and let me know how you do!
Hi Eddie, this sure looks like a winning recipe I can't wait to make it. However I can't find Anaheim chile peppers here in SC. Are they instrumental to the flavor profile or may I substitute something else to replace them? Thank you Eddie!
Hi Debbie - not to worry! I have had that same issue from time to time. Just double up on the poblanos and you will be fine. Good luck!
Lisa, send your husband over here to Prestwich, on the outskirts of the famous Manchester, home of Manchester United. I live in the leafy suburb of Prestwich, we have 800 hectares of parkland, paradise for us that have dogs (and the dogs obviously) We have a few little bistros on our village and they all via for our custom, all can make a decent chilli, but I've passed this chilli recipe on to a close friend of mine who owns one of the bistros. There's chilli and chilli, then there's Eddie's chilli - no contest. Supurb, supurb, supurb. Next cook off is at the back end of January. I love a lot of your recipes Lisa, share them with my dog walking friends, just don't stop. P. S. I'll be honest and say that I've passed some of yours off as my own, sorry. Barbara
Hi Barbara - well, thanks for the invite! Lisa and I lived in London for a while recently and we certainly would have taken you up on that offer back then. Prestwich sounds magical. We have an 85 lb goldendoodle who I can imagine running around in that parkland area. If your bistro owning friend ever puts Eddie's Award Winning Chili on their menu, I would appreciate a picture! Best of luck with the January cook-off. And thanks for sharing the word on Panning the Globe!
Hi Eddie. This recioe looks so delicious! I want to make it for our office pot luck. May I ask which exact brand of beer you use so I can make it exactly true to your recipe? Thanks so much!
Thanks for your question and your anticipatory five star rating - I believe you will be pleased with the result! Really any IPA is likely to work (and I have used quite a few), but when I first started making this dish I used Harpoon, so let's go with that.
I am going to try your recipe this weeked for the first time, can't wait. I typically cook my chili for quite a bit longer. Would cooking the chili (minus the beans of course) for substantially longer hurt anything? I didn't know if it might dissolve the roasted peppers or something.
Hi Warren - I hope it works out for you. What I might suggest vs cooking the chili for longer is to do it a day or two before you serve it. It takes hours just to cool off to the point of putting it in the fridge and then you have time sitting where the ingredients and flavors meld even further with each other. The specific answer to your question is that I might be concerned about too much of the liquid steaming off if you are talking about, for example, doubling the time on the stove.
Such great flavor! This is my go to recipe for Texas chili(even though it has beans)
I made this chili last week! And I th ink I left a comment then, but we finished it up in Chili omelettes today and everyone asked when could I make it again❤️
Hi Erin - the more comments the better - I love hearing all the details. Chili omelettes! What a great way to finish up the last of the chili. So glad you all enjoyed 🙂
Prepared this recipe as written. (Well, I DID cut the Cayenne back to 1-1/2 tap). But otherwise I did not change a thing…. And took first place in my first Chili cook-off. This recipe was a slam dunk and I won by a landslide.
Hey Christine - what great news! So glad this recipe helped you take home the blue ribbon. Thanks so much for coming back to let me know and thanks for the five star rating. You made my day!
I’m trying out this recipe for company chili contest next week. Quick question….do I add the bacon to pit of chili or am I cooking the bacon for the grease only?
Hi Denise - my recipe calls for you to add the bacon bits into the pot at the end of step 3. I find they add both texture and flavor to this chili. Good luck in the contest!
I have an alcoholic in my family and I was wondering if the alcohol is rendered out? Or should I just skip the beer. I will be making this chili this weekend for our churches chili cook off. I will let you know how it goes.
In researching this a little bit, I cannot say with certainty that all the alcohol will be eliminated (though I can say there is neither any flavor of alcohol nor is there any potency to what remains given the cooking process and the relatively tiny amount it starts with). So if this is about the principle of having the dish be alcohol free in every sense, I would either use a non alcoholic beer (there are several good ones out there including IPAs) or skip the beer and replace it with more chicken stock or with beef stock at the same quantity.