After nearly two decades, I’ve perfected our award-winning chili. It’s won a few small cook-offs as well as the hearts of men. Most recently we took a respectable second place in the Rotary contest to be the recipe we enter as a club in the Franklin Chili-Cookoff. What that means is that for any reason the first place chili is not able to perform its duties, our chili will be crowned the winner.
So, we got second place, but there’s always next year.
We eat mostly Paleo at home, so I usually leave the beans out unless we’re trying to win a contest, and the masses thank me for that. However, many feel like it’s not chili without beans, and for those people I say godspeed. So I included beans in the recipe, but feel free to leave them out. You can choose what type of beans you use. I like to use a combination of black beans and kidney beans. Just go where the Spirit leads on that one.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust the spices, add beans, eat it over pasta, eat it over rice, eat it in a bag, put cheese on it, top it with sour cream, or just whatever- it’s easy to customize and near impossible to mess up.
A couple of things make all the difference in when it comes to this recipe- the quality of spices and the darkness and quality of the beer.
First, I don’t like beer. AT. ALL. However, in chili, it adds richness and doesn’t even hint at tasting like beer.
Second, use the freshest spices you can get. The spices you buy in the supermarket in those tin boxes are usually old and artificially flavor-enhanced. There are great online sites to buy good spices if you don’t have access to fresh spices in your area. Our two favorites are The Savory Spice Shop and Spiceology.
Award Winning Chili
Nothing says Fall like a big bowl of chili and a good football game. The ingredients list looks long, but most things are pantry staples. This recipe can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes and on the table in 20. It’s also perfect for putting in a slow-cooker for a lazy day.
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound ground sausage (hot or mild- your choice)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 7–8 cloves garlic, minced (this is a place you can go with more or less than the recipe)
- 1 28 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 14 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes and green peppers
- 2–4 14 ounce cans of beans (or none at all- when I use beans, I use hot chili beans and black beans)
- 4 tablespoons hot chili powder (use mild if you don’t want the spice)
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 12 ounce dark beer (you can use chicken or beef broth if you don’t want to use beer)
- 3/4 cup chili sauce
- 1–3 Tablespoons adobo sauce (to taste- it’s smoky and adds heat)
- 1–3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped (to taste- it’s smoky and also adds heat)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the meat with the onions and garlic. Drain the fat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for at least an hour, but if you’ve got time, let it simmer long, low, and slow.
- Top as you please.
- Nutrition information is calculated WITHOUT beans.
- This recipe is easily adapted for a slow-cooker. Brown the meat and onions first, then add meat and all other ingredients to the slow-cooker. Cook on low for 1-2 hours. Then keep on warm until you are ready to serve.
- Serving Size: 15
- Calories: 391
- Fat: 22
- Carbohydrates: 17
- Protein: 28
Keywords: chili, low-carb, fall recipe, tailgate recipe