Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Triple Threat Chili

Recipe by Steven Raichlen

This chile includes three different kinds of chiles.


  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Equipment: 2 cups wood chips or chunks, preferably hickory, soaked in water to cover for 1 hour, then drained.
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Stage 1:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin tips, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or bison
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano chile, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup pure chili powder, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stage 2:

  • 2 quarts beef or chicken stock (homemade or a good commercial brand)
  • 1 bottle smoked beer, such as the Smoked Porter by Stone Brewing Company or Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (preferably organic)

Stage 3:

  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans (preferably organic and low-sodium), drained, rinsed in a colander, and drained again
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans (preferably organic and low-sodium), drained, rinsed in a colander, and drained again
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
  • Your favorite chili fixin’s

Step 1: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven (make sure it will fit under the grill lid) over high heat on your stovetop or your grill’s side burner. Brown the tenderloin over high heat, 4 minutes. Transfer to a large platter.

Step 2: Add the ground beef and pork. Brown over high heat, working in 2 or 3 batches, 4 minutes per batch. As it browns, break the meat up with a spoon. Transfer the meat to the platter and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Step 3: Add the onion, poblano, jalapenos, and garlic and lightly brown over medium-high heat, 4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and cinnamon. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Step 4: Stir in the stock, beer and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.

Step 5: Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center, preheat the grill to medium, then toss the 2 cups of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.

Step 6: Place the pot with the chili in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill. Gently simmer the chili for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. (Adjust the heat as needed to achieve a gentle simmer, replacing the coals as needed to maintain heat.)

Step 7: Stir in the beans, sugar, Tabasco sauce, and chocolate. Gently simmer the chili until thick and richly-flavored, 15 minutes more. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, sugar, chili powder, cumin, or hot sauce to taste—the chili should be highly seasoned.

Step 8: Serve now or let ripen for a few hours or even days in the refrigerator. (Allow the pot of chili cool completely before refrigerating.) Serve with your usual chili fixin’s.

Tips:

Try the Chili Verde recipe.