Prize Winning Chili

Prize Winning Chili Recipe

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Janice Joy Miller


Way back in 1980 while attending Texas A&M University, the Civil Engineering department had a chili cookoff. As one of just 3 women studying engineering there at the time, I was somewhat expected to enter. I won! The chili was so good that the judges ate all of it. I wish I'd made more. It's a long process - 24 hours to be exact. But it ends up being some GREAT chili. Enjoy.

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1 lb
cubed beef chuck roast (has to be this cut)
1 lb
cubed pork shoulder
2 Tbsp
white basalmic vinegar


2 large
green bell peppers
1 large
pasillo chili
1 large
jalapeno pepper
1/2 large
new mexico hatch chili


2 Tbsp
chili powder medium
2 Tbsp
smoked spanish paprika
1 pinch
ground cloves
1 pinch
allspice, ground
1 pinch
cayenne pepper
1 pinch
ground cinnamon
1 pinch
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp
whole pink peppercorns, crushed
1/2 tsp
whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 Tbsp
dried mexican oregano


1/2 tsp
himalayan or kosher salt
1 slice
thick cut hickory smoked bacon
1/4 c
all purpose flour
2 Tbsp
unsalted butter
1 Tbsp
whole cumin seed
1 large
onion, chopped
2 clove
garlic, coarsely chopped
28 oz
stewed tomatoes, original style
1 c
ipa beer - i use a high quality artisanal brew
2 Tbsp
pure unsweetened cocoa powder


2 c
black or pinto beans with liquor (made fresh - see my other recipe, or canned)
1 tsp
himalayan salt (more or less to taste - this is in addition to the salt on the meats)
1 qt
water, (more or less) used as needed


hot corn tortillas
fried tortilla strips
grated cheddar (smoked or regular or both)
chopped red onion
chopped green scallions
chopped cilantro
roasted corn
creme fraiche
queso fresco
finely chopped fresh jalapeno
finely chopped fresh habanero
your favorite salsa

How to Make Prize Winning Chili


  • 1THE NIGHT BEFORE: Cube all the meat in 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes, and put it in a container with the vinegar. Mix it through well. Cover and refrigerate.
  • 2A note on the Hatch and Jalapeno chilis before you move on to the chili roasting step. These two are the hot ones. If you want to float them, don't roast them, because they'll fall apart, and the chili will be very spicy. By floating them, you get some heat, and a little sweetness, and your chili will be mild to medium. Chili gets spicier as it sits in the refrigerator, so keep this in mind if you're making it to have leftovers for a few days. You can always roast them and float another one - just be careful to not overpower the spice factor. They're going to vary in heat factor, so always taste a little piece before adding to your chili.
  • 3Roast all the chilis over a gas flame or (best option) on the grill outside over a wood fire, or in the oven on very high heat until the skin is black all around. Then immediately put them in a paper bag to cool a little. Shake vigorously to get the skins off. Last, coarsely chop them, and refrigerate for later use.
  • 4THE NEXT MORNING: Sprinkle the meat with salt, and sear in small batches in a very hot non-stick skillet. Make sure it's in a single layer with plenty of room to sear all sides. Toss constantly to get it to sear evenly. Be careful not to burn it. Set each batch aside in a large bowl.
  • 5Sprinkle the dried spices over the seared meat in the bowl, and mix well to evenly coat. Set aside.
  • 6In a large stew pot, render chopped bacon over medium heat until almost crisp.
  • 7Lower the heat. Melt in the butter, then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light caramel colored.
  • 8Add onion, and garlic. Stir gently until onion is translucent.
  • 9Stir in coarsely chopped roasted pepper and chilis.
  • 10Stir the seared meat into the stew pot.
  • 11Add tomatoes, beer, and enough water to just barely cover the meat. I like the tomatoes to end up in big chunks, so I don't chop them up. Some people like them more incorporated. Up to you to chop them up into smaller chunks.
  • 12Deglaze the pan used to cook the meat with a little water, and pour that into the pot.
  • 13Someone out there is going to want to add a fresh habanero to this. My advice is to be very careful using such a hot chili. Habanero does add a floral note, and it's awesome used sparingly, but I think the best way to use it is as an optional garnish or as a floater late in the simmering process, and removed - otherwise you get too much heat and the floral note gets lost in the rest of the spices.
  • 14Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, and adding water as needed to keep meat just covered.
  • 15After a few hours, the meat will still be tough and tight. You're halfway there at that point. Stir in the cocoa powder.
  • 16It's going to take 6 to 8 hours or more of simmering before the meat will start to fall apart, depending upon how long it was marinated. Be patient.
  • 17Add the beans (optional really) about an hour or two before serving to let the flavors penetrate. I love the creamy texture of the beans, but some folks don't like beans in chili.
  • 18Add salt if needed about a half an hour after adding beans.
  • 19If it's too salty or too spicy, throw in several good sized red potatoes, or a few ears of fresh corn on the cob, then fish them out before serving. They'll soak up the excess salt and spices.
  • 20Serve hot with optional toppings.

Printable Recipe Card

About Prize Winning Chili

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Heirloom

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