Posted by: timscooking | February 8, 2010

Tailgate Chili

Chili recipes and their various components are hotly debated depending on where you live. Beans? No beans? Lots of heat? Not so much? Everyone has an opinion about the real proportions of meat to sauce to spice. This recipe is the one I’ve used for some time. It has evolved from a variety of sources into the finished product you see here. Is it the best chili around? You’ll have to decide that after making a batch.

Prep time is about 20 minutes. Most of the work comes from chopping the vegetables and making the spice blend. The applewood smoked bacon is available in most specialty markets and some megamarts, as is the chipotle chili powder. The other ingredients are readily available.

I’ve also found that if you are making a larger batch, say 1 1/2 to 2 times the recipe, it is best to use the designated amount of seasonings and add more as the mixture simmers. Adding a proportionally larger amount of seasonings up front can result in a spice level that is not for everyone.

Tim’s Tailgate Chili

 Serves: 8 to 10 servings


  • 6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (Yes, there’s a difference.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (Green are okay, red and yellow add a touch of sweetness and color)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder ( I use Spice Island Chipotle Chili Grinder)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 12 ounce beer 
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chili-ready kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish


Open both cans of beans and rinse them in a colander with cold water.

Chop the garlic, onions and peppers and put in a large bowl.

Add the next five to a small bowl and stir until thoroughly blended.

In large (6 – 7 quart) heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon is slightly browned, add the vegetable mixture, stir in the spice blend and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender and seasonings are aromatic. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once the beef begins to brown, add the pork. Break up with wooden spoon like the beef, and brown, until no longer pink, roughly 4 minutes. Stir in the beer and beans. Toss together, and then add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. 

Garnish the chili with lime wedges, sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced scallions.

Serve with corn bread and your favorite beer.

As is the case with most chili recipes, it is always better the second day. I make mine a day ahead and reheat for the crowd. Keep it covered while simmering the first day, uncovered so it thickens while reheating.



  1. This was a great Super Bowl dish! Not only is is awesome alone but on a hot dog and nachos too!

  2. tim your recipes are fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you can bet they will be on my table soon

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