Chili Con Carne

Total Time:
2 hr 20 min
20 min
2 hr

6 to 8 servings

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12 -ounce bottle amber beer
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 28 -ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 15 -ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or sour cream, for topping (optional)

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then crumble and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the saucepan (reserve the drippings). Increase the heat to medium high, add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 6 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the beer and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the beef and any juices from the plate; add the cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Stir the hot sauce into the chili and season with salt. Add some beef broth if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, cheese, scallions and/or sour cream.

Photograph by Con Poulos

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    41 Reviews
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    After reading the other reviews I realized we would need to adjust the spice, but I always am generous when spicing our food. We doubled the spices in this recipe. Added Coban ground chili pepper from Guatemala instead of the hot sauce and used Ghiradelli's hot chocolate powder because that's what I had on hand. The results (would have used less beef stock) were divine, rich hint of chocolate, hearty taste of amber beer, smokey finish from the bacon and Coban pepper. Definitely will make this again and share with friends!
    I found this recipe too bland. I added about half a cup of red wine vinegar, 4 more tbsps of Cumin, another 3 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tbsps black pepper and 2 tbsps of salt. I don't recommend this recipe.
    I am really surprised you thought that. This is my go-to and everyone who ever tries it loves it. Make sure when using dried spices that they are not too old. That can make a huge difference in any dish. Also, this chili like most need the full cooking time for the flavor to develop. I do agree that some additional salt needs added to taste when served for some pallets.
    The chili was great! The recipe helped me win a Chili contest! Again, It was amazing! I did change it slightly, by adding pork sausage with Italian seasoning, kidney and black beans and dry red pepper for extra extra zing. I will definitely save and reuse the recipe again!
    Very best. I made it w/ venison. Company raved.
    This recipe is delicious, it just needed a little more zing, so I added about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of chipotle powder and another teaspoon of hot sauce. Also, only used 1 can of black beans, it was plenty, also, only use 1 cup beef broth and add more later if needed,, you want chili, not soup!! The men ate every bit of the chili during football game!!
    This was excellent. I used New Mexico Chili powder from Williams/Sonoma and it gave it just the right amount of heat with a touch of smoky flavor. I used real italian tomatoes which are better plus a can of rotel with cilantro and lime. The only other alteration is rather amusing but I did not have any real cocoa on hand. My son had bought a rather expensive can of drinking (sweet) cocoa and I used two tbsp of that. It was excellent. My son raved about it.
    I am Nancy and this was my review.
    Was very good but needs salt and more hot sauce. I also added 2 tbs.Worcestershire sauce. Overall very good!
    This makes great chili. The two ingredients that can really alter the outcome are the chili powder and the beer. Chili powder comes in several grades of heat so adjust according to your taste preference and the hotness of the powder (1/4 cup of chili powder is a lot). Beer, as you know, can be dark and rich or light and water. With 12 ounces in this recipe the choice of beer is really going to make a big difference. I used an amber lager (Yuengling) and was very happy with it. As for the review about the beans, I used the prescribed amount (two 15 ounce cans) and was happy but if you like beans you can easily double it.
    We tweaked the recipe as well, using Ro-tel tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes and bell pepper. I also chopped the raw bacon into bits, and after it was sauteed, left it in and cooked the meat (we used stew meat) in with it.
    Pretty good. This was a bit spicy for us. I already cut down the chili powder to 2 tablespoons and it is still hot. Maybe I have really spicy chili powder?? Next time I will use 1 tablespoon. I also used only 1 pound beef and added an extra can of kidney beans because we love beans.
    I thought Nigella's "Chocolate Chip Chili" was waaaay better. I love bacon, but I didn't like it in this recipe. Overall, the chili was just mediocre.
    Mediocre, very disappointed with the recipe, lacking flavor and I had to Dr. It up a bunch!
    Very good My kids liked it and my Husband LOVED it! I used vegetable broth instead of beef broth and a little less chili powder than called for. I also used more garlic and fire roasted bell peppers from a jar. I substituted 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage instead of the 2lbs of ground beef. The only beer that we had was Corona extra but it was still good. Overall, this was an excellent Chili and I will be adding it to my favorite list.
    WOW! This is my favorite chili recipe ever. I don't drink so if a buy a single can of beer at our local store it is 24oz I use the whole thing don't want any left over. The only other alteration is a tsp of instant coffee. Very complex flavor.
    I've tried a lot of chili recipes and this is one of my favorites. A somewhat complex flavor, but not too complex. Different, but still familiar chili. I highly recommend this recipe.
    Disappointed-- not enough flavor
    Try putting your elbow in it for 2 great for flavor!
    Delicious! Skipped the bacon and browned beef in veg oil. Added 1/2 bottle more of Sam Adams beer, 1 can of diced tomatos. My husband and neighbor loved it. Definate keeper!
    I left out the beer, added some brown sugar, used black beans, white kidney beans, and pintos. Put in the bacon. Going to put the green pepper, green onions, cheese, and sour cream as cold toppings on the hot chili.
    Great recipe for making chili or taco meat! Learned a lot from following this recipe - the right spices, adding beer, chocolate. Made chili once, second time stopped before adding tomatoes, broth and beans - great taco meat! Family enjoyed chili, LOVED the taco meat. 
    1. Added 1 pkg pork sausage-drain grease well. Upped the other ingredients accordingly. Added sausage was an accident, was trying to cheat and use sausage instead of bacon in meat base - didn't read all the directions beforehand. Sausage seems to have been a bonus, wouldn't make it any other way from now on, 
    2. For green peppers used Anaheim, Serrano, and jalapeno without seeds. 
    3. Like other poster added more canned tomatoes, and the whole small can of tomato paste for the 3 lbs of meat above. 
    4. Topped chili with shredded cheese, bacon, and home-made salsa (tomatoes,onions,garlic,peppers,cilantro,lime 
    I used cheap amber beer, may try a stout next time for more fuller body.
    Very different from our normal chili. Used Yuengling and no heat for the kiddos. Kids scooped all of theirs away with Fritos. Can't wait to see what the leftovers taste like tomorrow!
     Will certainly make this again.
    The best chili I have ever eaten! I am not a green bell pepper fan so I left them out but the recipe was fantastic!
    I made a couple of changes that were very minor and it turned out to be the best chili I ever made.
    I augmented the recipe a bit. 
    I'd recommend using a stout or a porter instead of an amber. I also added a can of chipotle chili in adobe and substituted a quarter bar of dark chocolate. This gave the chili a nice rich taste. 
    Other additions: 
    -Kidney Beans
    I never cared for chili, but now I love it!
    Very complex flavor. We loved it. The only variation was I used a dark ale and dried red kidney beans.
    My fiance and I LOVED this recipe. We strayed slightly and added Great Northern and Kidney Beans, as well as a can of corn. We also used ground turkey instead of ground beef to cut the fat. It was delicious! We will definitely be making this again.
    Tastes good over hot dogs!
    Great recipe you cant go wrong with this. the beer and cocoa powder is awsome and great added touch.
    Excellent! I made this for my girlfriend and I on a cold and overcast day - perfect for that weather. This was so hearty. We didn't use bacon, and substituted ground beef for ground turkey - trying to be healthier. Beer used was Guinness...mmm so good. Topped with Siracha, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers. Good luck, this is pretty simple to do...and plenty worth it!
    Loved this chili recipe! I wanted to make more than this made, but didn't quite want to double it, so I added another half (e.g. instead of 2 teaspoons dried oregano, I did 3, etc. I also didn't have bacon and was in a hurry at the grocery store, so I just used olive oil to brown the meat and saute the veggies, I only used the 12 oz. of beer instead of 18 oz., I used a green and a red pepper, and I actually tripled the amount of hot sauce (3 tbsp. Everyone I made it for raved and a few people who I'd see as "foodies" actually said it was the best they'd ever had! Next time, I might try to make it a bit more exactingly JUST to see if it's even better, but the way I made it was VERY well-received & I loved it too! Great earthy flavor and I love the hint of beer!!
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