Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chili Con Carne with Beans

Chili recipes are like moms, everybody has one and everyone thinks theirs is the best.

Growing up in Florida, the chili that I had always had beans in it. But in Texas, where chili originated, putting beans in chili is almost considered to be a criminal offense (Epicurious).

The International Chili Society rules for chili cookoffs explicitly define red chili as " any kind of meat or combination of meats,cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of
BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden".
But interestingly enough, those
same rules require that entries for the Peoples Choice category require either beans or pasta. WTF?

So that tells me whether or not to use beans in chili is up to me and I choose to use them. Here's my spin on chili.

Chris' Favorite Chili
1 pound Ground beef lean
1 pound Chorizo sausage
1 ea onion diced
1 ea Bell pepper diced
1 can kidney beans dark red, drained
1 can kidney beans light red, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) Tomato diced
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
1 ea Jalapeno peppers seeded and finely diced
12 ounce beer
2 cloves garlic diced
1 ea bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoon Chili powder

Brown ground beef in a cast iron dutch oven or large pot. Remove and drain grease. Brown the sausage and remove with a slotted spoon.

Add onion and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and chile pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes..

Return meat to pot. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, at least 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf.
Serve while hot with cheese and a hearty bread or Texas toast.

Today's batch benefited from some of the last of the red Hungarian wax peppers in our front yard.

This recipe works fine on stove top, but to me it's even better cooked in a dutch oven on the grill.

As the weather turns cold, ceramic cookers like the Big Green Egg really show their strength. Their thick 1+" of insulation are very resistant to cold weather. We had freeze warnings last night but here the Egg is chugging away at 350f with no problem.

I, unfortunately, do not come with ceramic insulation, so I threw some split hickory in the chiminea to keep me warm.

Every time I took the lid off to stir the chili, the steam wafted into the cold air.

This is a simple tip but it makes a difference. When toasting bread for garlic bread or Texas toast, most people seem to slather the bread in the butter mixture and then grill it. That makes it soggy, IMHO. I like to grill it first and as it firms up, give it a light brushing with the butter/seasoning mixture that I warmed on the grill.

It all came together just in time for a comforting lunch.

So, what's your opinion: beans or no beans?


  1. Bragger, LOL, now I am throwing my chili post out the window for the local deer, because yours is so much prettier to look at than mine!

    Looks tastier too...nice rustic setting...kind of reminds me of 'fire side' cooking in them mountains :)

  2. I've only ever had beans in chili. Love beans! This might be blasphemy but my veggie chili includes both kidney beans AND baked beans. Root a toot toot. Your chili sounds declicious. I've never used beer to make chili though, do you think it makes a big difference in the flavour?

  3. One State prefers no beans- Texas.. all others are a mix of beans and no beans! I've cooked ICS chili contests, and the flavors the judges look for seem to be salt and cumin-lots! Your chili is awfully close to mine, but I hate Kidney beans! Try red beans some time- smaller, creamier, and with no skin floating around in the chili..

  4. I am a fan of beans. Your chili looks awesome!! I am going to have to try it out.

  5. Good looking batch there Chris, this cool spell sure brings on the chili urge - I think I'll try the chorizo and beer in mine next time. I think you know my bean opinion - since ours had four kinds in it.

  6. Chili with no beans??? hogwash! :-) I don't know why I've never thought about putting chorizo in Chili. Yes, I have a chili recipe that has taken years of tweaking, and yes, I think mine is the best... I actually put Italian sausage in my Chili. Next time I make it, I'll try the chorizo. Thanks for the post.

  7. Chili!!!

    I've grown up with chili having beans - anything else just feels like soup!

    Your recipe sounds fairly close to my chili recipe - but I especially like yours because:
    a) it has sausage
    b) it was cooked outside on your BGE. Damn you and your BGE.

    When does your family not have good food?

  8. Like the beans... but then again I grew up in Florida too.

  9. I love making chili. I've never added sausage though. Do you cut the sausage into tiny pieces?

  10. Wow, nice chili Chris, I really like the use of chorizo in it. Now, I think you know where I am with the whole beans thing. (walks off shaking head, looking at ground)

  11. I vote for WITH BEANS. Your chili is making me drool. Now if it would just get cold down here in South Texas!! I like to have homemade tortillas with my chili, but your toast looks YUM!

  12. Why oh why can I not get excited about chili? I have no idea. I don't care for kidney beans but I do like black beans in chili.

  13. I judged a local chili contest last year here in the mountains and every one contained beans. Think it may be a Carolina thing. I always use beans, but then again I like beans. I've seen some recipes that state at the end you can add beans if you wish or not. Chili preferences run deep.

  14. I love beans in my chili. I really dig your version - adding chorizo is a great idea. I will be making this recipe soon. Bookmarked.

  15. Beans! Your chili looks delish!


  16. chili no beans please! but I love your recipe. I'd just have to leave all the beans in the bottom of bowl. I be the chorizo really adds great flavor. I'll have to remember that next time

  17. Great looking chili! With ground meat it like mine with beans (heck, I even like it 5 way over spaghetti). But I also like it bean-free with chunks of stew meat.

  18. I started off reading about the delicious pizza in your next post, then I scrolled down and saw Chili (which I just made a big batch of myself) Then there was grilled toast, and then I was just plain hungry. I like beans in my chili, but what do I know. I'm relatively new to this chili thing :)

    PS That picture of the wood burning is so perfectly captured that I can almost feel the heat coming off of it :D

  19. I love the flame photo! As for beans or no beans, I prefer them. My husband HATES them. So I make two, one with, one without!

  20. Chris -

    Looks awesome. Going to try this recipe this weekend. What is your BGE setup (i.e., direct at what temp?). Thanks!

    1. Usually 300-350f, direct. I just keep an eye on the liquid and want it simmering slowly.


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