Smoky & Spicy Chipotle Chili

I've been waiting for a cold, rainy night like tonight...oh wait, we had about seven of them last week. Ironically I completely missed the bus on making chili, which in my opinion is the perfect stormy night meal. So tonight I was prepared, stocking up at Trader Joe's with ingredients for one of my favorite chili recipes: Pork & Beef Chipotle Chili. It comes from the Neely Family, new-ish to the Food Network cast of characters, but I've modified it to suit Bryan's and my tastes.

Without getting into the age-old "Do you make chili with or without beans" debate, I'll just say that I like my chili chunky, smoky, spicy and filled with meat and beans. But when I say "beans," I don't mean kidney, pinto and black beans that are so chunky and starchy that they get in the way of the chili's true texture and flavor. We've all had what seemed to be incredible chili, only to bite down on a spoonful of mealy, flavorless kidney beans. That's a big time YUCK in my book.

In my chili, I've got beans that are cooked down, starches released, so they help thicken the sauce but also provide a wonderful textural contrast to the meaty, spicy broth. No overpowering, mealy beans here. Not to mention, this recipe goes above and beyond by starting off with everyone's favorite protein: BACON. I mean, how can a recipe that starts by browning applewood smoked bacon be bad? In addition to the smokiness of the bacon, this chili has a serious, intense flavor kick as a result of chipotle chili, chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika. I add some Sriracha for good measure because selfishly, I can't get enough of it. Bon Appetit Magazine even named it the "Ingredient of the Year" in its most recent issue, so I'm justified. :)

Courtesy of BonAppetit.com

Once the chili finished simmering – possibly the longest hour and a half ever when you're starving – I scooped a bowl for my husband and topped it with a bit of shredded cheese and sliced scallions. Upon his first bite he said, "You don't make this nearly enough. This is amazing chili!" That's good enough for me. Hopefully it will be good enough for you, too!

Here's the recipe:
  • 6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup beer (we used Sam Adams Oktoberfest)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • Shredded Mozzarella, for garnish
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
In large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally.

Once the bacon is browned, add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, smoked paprika and Sriracha sauce 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 beef is broken up and beginning 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, 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. Transfer the chili to serving bowls and garnish with shredded cheese and sliced scallions. Enjoy!


  1. Look at all these spices. It must taste really good. I wrote down this recipe to try it for my following cooking sessions.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I make a mean spicy sausage/beef chili. It's a Cincinnati style chili, though so no beans or onion. It involves beef stock, tomato paste, oatmeal, equal parts ground beef and spicy ground sausage, 4 habaneros, 4 Thai chili, and a couple jalapeno peppers all finely chopped. It's a slow cooker recipe and nice and hot. Great in a bowl with some shredded cheddar or colby over it, or as a 3-way over pasta.

    You haven't lived until you've cooked with habaneros.

  3. I love me some Sriracha as well. I've bottles of the stuff stashed all over. One trick I picked up at Asia de Cuba is to mix it with plain old ketchup for a fry dipping delight. The waiter called it their secret ingredient... and seemed annoyed when I identified it so readily. That chili looks awesome as chipotle is high on my list of favorites too. Can't wait to give it a try.


  4. Thanks guys for the comments!

    Sam - Thanks for the sausage/beef chili recipe! I love habaneros; got a great habanero & peach salsa that is the perfect amount of heat vs. sweet.

    Jay & Victor - Definitely try the recipe! It's guaranteed to please...as long as you like chipotle and Sriracha! LOL :)

  5. Sriracha sauce is my favorite dish. It makes my mouth smile from the inside out. Haven't tried it in chili yet, that is just wickedly tempting though.

  6. Wow, this looks incredible. You had me at "smoky & spicy." Oh, and labeling bacon as the best protein ever helped, too! :)


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