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Published September 7, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This slow-cooked smoked brisket chili is the ultimate recipe to show off and share with your family and friends. The flavors in this chili are incredible, especially with the two secret ingredients I put in at the end.
No matter if you’re trying to warm yourself up on a cool day or looking to feed a lot of people, soup is a fantastic meal to serve up for any occasion. Try out my Picadillo or my homemade Lentil Soup recipe for your next get-together.
Chili, or chili con carne, is a centuries-old recipe consisting of ground or chopped beef with chilis or chili powder. While the first recipes started to show up in San Antonio, Texas, in the early 18th century, it is said to have been created by the Aztecs in the 16 century. There are also many other stories and tales of how this came to be.
In Texas, it’s often called a “bowl of red” and considered a crime if beans are added. However, beans have become a precondition to chili across America in other states. This classic dish has also been redone throughout the United States as there are several different versions like Cincinnati Chili, White Chicken Chili, or even this brisket chili recipe, among many others.
Chili is always good because it’s hearty, can feed a big group of people, and can be altered and customized to fit your flavor profiles. In addition, it’s also delicious on hotdogs and Smash Burgers.
Ingredient and Substitutions
- Beef – Whether you are using smoked brisket like me, or simply using ground beef or even cubed steak, you have options.
- Onions – I like to use a lot of yellow onions, but you can substitute them with red, white, or sweet onions.
- Peppers – Since I am not a fan of green peppers, I prefer to use yellow, red, and poblano peppers, along with a few spicy jalapeños.
- Seasonings – My combination of spices and seasonings consists of chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Vegetables – Since my recipe is not a traditional chili, I like to add celery, carrots, and garlic.
- Tomatoes – You can use fresh diced tomatoes or canned tomatoes in my recipe.
- Beans – I used dried kidney beans and garbanzo beans. However, you can use black beans or pinto beans as well.
- Broth – You must use a good beef broth or beef stock.
- Toppings – These are subjective, but I like to add on sour cream, shredded cheddar, tortilla chips, and green onions or chopped onions.
How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Chili
Pour some boiling water over the dried beans and let stand for 1 hour or until softened.
Cook some chopped bacon to render the bacon fat in a large pot or dutch oven.
Set the crisp bacon lardons aside in a bowl.
Add the onions to the rendered bacon fat and cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, which takes about 60 minutes.
Next, add celery, carrots, garlic, and peppers and cook over low to medium heat or until browned, which takes about 10 minutes.
Next, drain the beans and add them to the pot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
Pour in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and brown sugar, and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixed in.
Add the tomatoes and beef stock, and bring to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
Place in the chopped brisket and cooked bacon lardons, then cook over low heat for 60 to 90 minutes or until the beans are soft.
Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, cinnamon, and dark chocolate.
Serve with optional toppings.
Cuts of Meat to Use
While I personally think the smoked brisket just takes this chili recipe to the next level, there are several other cuts of meat you can use, which are listed below.
- Ground Beef
- Cubed Strip Sirloin
- Large Chunks of Top Round
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
Chili Cooking Substitutions
There are quite a few substitutions you can implement to make this chili recipe work for you.
- If you do not wish to use bacon fat or butter, replace it with your favorite cooking oil.
- Instead of rendering the bacon fat, you can just use 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
- If you do not have smoked brisket, you will sear whichever you decide to use at the beginning, either in the rendered bacon fat or another fat of your choice.
- Use canned beans by draining them and adding them at the end, and cook just until warm.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 2 days ahead of time.
How to Store: You can store this chili in a container covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze very well and be covered for up to 6 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of chili to a medium-sized pot and cook over low heat until hot. You may need to add some beef stock, salt, and pepper to bring back flavors and moisture.
chef notes + Tips
- Cayenne pepper can be added if you prefer more spice.
- Additional spicy peppers like serrano, red finger, or habañero peppers can be used.
- Onion and garlic granules can also be added to this recipe.
- You can also prepare this recipe in a slow cooker. Once everything is cooked to procedure 6 on the sear function, slow cook on high heat for 4 to 6 hours.
More Soup Recipes
The Ultimate Homemade Chili Recipe
- 2 cups dried kidney beans
- 1 cup dried garbanzo beans
- 8 strips sliced bacon
- 4 peeled and large diced yellow onions
- 1 seeded and small diced red bell pepper
- 1 seeded and small diced yellow bell pepper
- 8 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 1 seeded and small diced poblano pepper
- 2 seeded and small diced jalapeño peppers
- 3 peeled and very finely minced carrots
- 3 very finely minced ribs of celery
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/4 cup ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons dry oregano
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 28 ounce can of crushed, diced, or hand squeezed whole peeled tomatoes (or 3 roughly chopped fresh)
- 4 cups beef stock
- 5 pounds large diced smoked brisket
- 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ounce dark chocolate
- Worcestershire sauce to taste
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- optional sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and green onions for garnish
- Add the dried beans to separate containers and pour some boiling water over them, covering them by 3 to 4 inches, and let stand for 1 hour or until softened.
- Cook the chopped bacon to render the bacon fat in a large pot or dutch oven over low to medium heat until the bacon is crispy. Set the cooked bacon lardons aside.
- Add the onions to the rendered bacon fat and cook on low to medium heat, occasionally stirring, until caramelized, which takes about 60 minutes.
- Next, add celery, carrots, garlic, and peppers and cook over medium heat or until browned, which takes about 10 minutes.
- Next, drain the beans and add them to the pot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Pour in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and brown sugar, and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until mixed in.
- Add the tomatoes and beef stock, and bring to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Place in the chopped brisket and cooked bacon lardons, then cook over low heat for 60 to 90 minutes or until the beans are soft.
- Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, cinnamon, and dark chocolate.
- Serve with optional toppings. See the video for this.