The Best Chili In The World

April 12th, 2009
by: Grue

To me, chili is a comfort food. Blue and I were raised on a farm, and our father would often come home from the fields at odd times, so Sue learned to have something simmering on the stove almost all the time. The smell of chili or beef stew still brings back strong memories of what it felt like to walk into the house and feel the warm welcome of good food.

This recipe is an amalgamation of several other recipes, tweaked over time to taste the way I like it. It is a complex and wonderful chili, spicy and sweet. The recipe includes chocolate (cocoa), beer, coffee, and jalapenos, along with several spices. It is the interplay of this unusual mix of flavors that makes the chili so interesting to the palate.

Any time I make chili I have to make cornbread, so I will post my favorite cornbread recipe separately. I serve a sweet cornbread with this chili to help offset the chili’s kick.

My wife, who would normally be no fan of chili, can’t get enough of this – that is the best testament I know to how good it is.


2.5 hours / 30 minutes prep

Serves 6-8

The Meat

2 teaspoons corn oil
2 onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, minced
1 pound lean (90-92%) ground beef
1.5 pounds high-quality sirloin, cut into bite-sized chunks

The Wet Stuff

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 12-oz bottle or can of beer (ale or stout is best)
1 cup of coffee, brewed (sumatra or another very strong coffee)
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
1 14.5-oz can beef broth
4 tablespoons Thai chili sauce

The Spices

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cumin
1.5 tablespoons high-quality cocoa
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt

The Beans and Peppers

4 15-oz cans premium large red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 small-to-medium jalapenos, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large pan (I use a 7-qt dutch oven)
  2. Cook onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add cubed sirloin and ground beef and cook until brown.
  4. Drain any excess fat / liquid (I use a turkey baster)
  5. Add Wet Stuff.
  6. Add Spices.
  7. Stir in 2 cans of kidney beans and chopped peppers.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
  9. Add remaining 2 cans of kidney beans.
  10. Simmer for another 30 minutes.