If you’re looking for a recipe for a chili cook-off, this Texas-Style Chili recipe is the one! It may not be the fastest or easiest to make, but this recipe, courtesy of Once Upon a Chef, with its chunks of tender chuck roast in a deeply-flavored and smoky sauce, is the ultimate beef chili.
What makes it Texas-style? Mainly, it’s made with cubed beef rather than ground beef and no beans (true Texas chili also does not contain tomatoes, but they are added for flavor here). The recipe requires over an hour of prep and active cook time, plus several hours to simmer on the stove, so it’s best to make it over the weekend. You can double it and freeze some for another night or use leftovers for tacos, burritos, or topping baked potatoes.
HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE TEXAS-STYLE BEEF CHILI
- ¼ cup ground ancho chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 (4-pound) beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1½-inch cubes (see note below)
- 8 ounces (about 8 slices) bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces (see tip below)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 small yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 jalapeño chiles, cored, seeded and finely diced (see note)
- 4 cups (32 oz) low-sodium beef broth
- 2 cups water water, plus more for the chili paste and deglazing the pan
- 1¼ cups lager beer
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon molasses, such as Grandma’s Original
- 2 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Lime wedges
TEXAS-STYLE CHILI INSTRUCTIONS
- Mix the chili powders, cumin, oregano, coriander, cinnamon and cornmeal in a small bow and stir in ½ cup water to form a thick paste; set aside.
- Season the beef with the salt; set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick, until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour all but a few teaspoons of fat from the pot into a small bowl; set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Sear the meat in three batches (it should be in a single layer), until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes per batch, adding more of the reserved bacon fat as necessary. (Hint: Once the meat is in the pan, don’t stir or touch it – leaving it alone will allow it to develop a nice brown crust on one side.) Place the seared meat on a plate. Add about ¼ cup of water to the pot (it will smoke), and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to release all of the flavorful brown bits. Pour the dark liquid over the seared meat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat to the pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook 2 minutes more. Add the reserved chili paste and sauté until fragrant, a few minutes (it will look clumpy and stick to the bottom a bit – that’s okay).
- Add the beef broth and stir with a whisk until the spice mixture is completely dissolved. Scrape the bottom of the pot with the whisk to release any spices. Stir in the the water, beer, crushed tomatoes, molasses and cocoa powder. Add the reserved bacon and seared beef (along with the juices from the beef on the bottom of the plate) back to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid just barely ajar. Simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn, until the meat is meltingly tender and the juices are thickened, 2½ to 3 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Ladle the chile con carne into bowls and serve with cilantro, cheese, and lime wedges.
Note: When selecting the meat, be sure not to buy anything generically labeled “stew meat.” Also, you will lose about ½ pound after trimming the fat, so if you buy the meat already trimmed and cubed, you’ll only need about 3½ pounds.
Tip: To make bacon easier to chop, try placing it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes first. The colder it is, the easier it is to cut.
Note: Always be careful when handling jalapeño peppers. Wash your hands well when done and avoid touching your eyes.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost it in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.