Mike’s Chili

An similar version of this recipe won the Professional category at the 2020 Orlando Crimeline Chili Cookoff. Take your time, grab a beer, and make sure to taste as you go!! This recipe should yield about 1 ½ – 2 gallons of chili.  You will need at least an 8-quart pot to complete this recipe.  This recipe can also be cooked in an 8-quart crock pot set to low for 4 to 6 hours.


2 TB bacon fat (or butter)
2 ½ lbs ground chuck roast

2 medium onions diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
5 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup chili powder
3 TB cumin
1 ½ TB smoked paprika
1 TB cayenne pepper (optional)
3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ TB Better than Beef Roasted Beef Bouillon

3 (4 oz cans) Hatch Green Chilis
2 (28 oz cans) petite diced tomatoes
2 (14 oz cans) crushed tomatoes

2 TB tomato paste
12 oz lager beer
32 oz chicken stock
1 tsp brown sugar

1 (15 oz can) dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz can) light red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz can) black, pinto or chili beans

Salt and Pepper


❶ In an 8-quart pot, heat 2 TB bacon fat over medium high heat and cook the ground chuck, breaking it up into small pieces while cooking.   Remove to a large bowl and cover.

❷ Add 2 TB bacon fat to the pot and add the onions. Cook the onions for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Lightly salt and pepper the veggies.

❸ Add the spices and stir, toasting the spices for 2 minutes. It is important to keep the spices moving during this step. Add the crushed and diced tomatoes, chicken stock, Hatch green chilis, beer, tomato paste, and beef bouillon.

❹ Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Taste for salt. This is an important part of the process. The chili still has liquid to cook out, so it will thicken and intensify in flavor.

❺ Add your ground chuck to the chili, juice, and all.

❻ Simmer the chili for 1 hour, or to desired thickness.  Add the red and light kidney beans and pinto beans during the last 20 minutes of cooking

❼ Final salt and pepper. Serve topped with corn chips, extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced red onion, green onion, oyster crackers, tortilla strips or sour cream.

I typically skip the cayenne pepper because my wife has an intolerance to pepper. 

Traditionally you would use kidney beans in this chili. But you could also try another kind of bean such as black beans or pinto beans.

it’s very important to select the right cut of meat, which is a chuck roast that is well-marbled. It should have a good amount of white veins of fat running through it.  You will need to trim the excess fat; do not go overboard, just remove any large pieces

Stay away from meat generically packaged as “stew meat,” especially if it looks lean — it will never get tender.

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