Damn Good Chili

Good chili starts with strong flavors. This chili has plenty of that. We let fermentation (beer, whiskey, and soy) do its thing for us to give flavors that fresh food just doesn’t have. This makes a lot of chili, so it’s a good thing it tastes so good.

Damn Good Chili

  • Meats
  • 2 lb. beef (brisket, chuck, etc.)
  • 2 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 1 lb. boneless pork ribs (shoulder)
  • 48 oz. beef broth
  • Plant and Fungus
  • 2 C. mushrooms
  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cans of beans, your choice (black, small white & small red)
  • Deglazes
  • 1-2 bottles beer
  • 1/2 C. whiskey
  • 1/4 C. soy sauce
  • Seasonings
  • 1/4 C. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 t. coriander
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper

Set crock pot on high (or a large stock pot) and add the beef broth. Add the crushed tomatoes and beans.

Cube the beef and pork into bite-sized pieces, removing and reserving the large chunks of fat. Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium high and sear the beef and pork cubes about 8oz at a time. Do not be tempted to put too much meat in the pan or the pan will cool and the meat will boil in its own juices instead of browning on the outside. Put the cooked meat into the broth as it finishes. Between sets of meat, if the pan has stuff stuck to the bottom, use some of the beer, or whiskey and soy to deglaze the pan, pouring the sauce into the pot with the meat and broth. When the cubed meat is done, cook the ground chuck on high, one pound at a time. Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder and coriander.

Mince the mushrooms and jalapenos, dice the onions and green peppers. Fry the onions until clear, about 1 minute and add to the pot. Fry the peppers until bright, about 1 minute and add to the pot. Cook the mushrooms until most of the moisture has evaporated and reduced in size; add to the pot.

Add 1 T. oil to the frying pan and reheat. Add the tomato paste, allowing it to carmelize on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste to the pot and deglaze the pan with any remaining beer, whiskey or soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste (~ 1 T. salt and 1/2 .t pepper).

Add sufficient beef broth, beer, water or apple cider to make the chili a bit runny. Cook at a low boil until meat is tender and the chili is thickened, about 4 hours.


  • Make your own beef broth. Throw 1 lb. ox tail, a gallon of water, a diced onion, salt and a teaspoon of peppercorns in the crockpot and let it simmer overnight. Super simple and so delicious. Pick the meat out and add it to the chili. Strain the broth and try not to drink it all.
  • You can probably use any cut of beef and pork here. You will be cooking them long enough that they will get tender. Brisket is pretty flavorful, so I used that. But it is not the cheapest cut of beef at the store.
  • Add more jalapenos as needed for heat. Or consider adding minced chipotle for a different chili profile.
  • I have heard that unfiltered apple cider works well in the place of beer. I used a dark stout that doesn’t smell or taste anything like apple cider, so I don’t know how true this is…. But my chili doesn’t taste like the beer either, so maybe it is just all the other strong flavors mixing too.

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