Smokehouse Chili


Smokehouse Chili

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Method: Hot smoking
  • Equipment: Dutch oven; hickory, pecan, or apple wood chips (enough for 2 hours of smoking)


  • 2 pounds smoked brisket
  • 2 pounds smoked pork shoulder or more brisket
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 strips artisanal bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup pure chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans (preferably organic and low-sodium), drained, rinsed in a colander, and drained again
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans (preferably organic and low-sodium), drained, rinsed in a colander, and drained again
  • 1 bottle beer (light or dark—your choice)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (preferably organic)
  • 2 quarts low-sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco (or other hot sauce), or to taste
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, rough chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Your choice of accompaniments, such as diced jalapeños, grated cheese, diced onions or scallions, sliced black olives, sour cream, etc.

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Cut the brisket and pork shoulder into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

Step 2: Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the bacon in the olive oil, 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, poblanos, and garlic and cook until browned, 4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Step 3: Add the diced brisket, pork shoulder, and beans and cook until coated with the chili mixture, stirring well, 2 minutes. Stir in the beer and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomato sauce, stock, Tabasco, and chocolate and bring to a boil.

Step 4: Meanwhile, light your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 250 degrees. Add the wood as specified by the manufacturer.

Step 5: Smoke the chili uncovered until thick and richly flavored, 3 to 4 hours, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon. The last 15 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, and additional hot sauce if the chili needs more kick. Serve the chili in bowls with the accompaniments on top. Great today, and leftovers will taste even better tomorrow.

Recipe Tips

OK, so you’re a traditionalist and you want to make a ground meat chili. No problem. You’ll need about 2 pounds each very coarsely ground beef and pork. Brown it after browning the onions and peppers. You’ll still get plenty of smoke flavor thanks to cooking it in the smoker.