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Jack's Chili Recipe - The best chili recipe made with beef, pork, beans, and peppers plus beer, cocoa powder and other seasonings for a deliciously complex flavor.

We love hearing from our readers, and last week we received a request from a reader asking about a recipe for chili.  Our reader, Clare, was about to attend a chili cook-off and she wondered if we had a good recipe that we could share.  So – always happy to oblige – here is Jack’s Chili recipe!

Jack's Chili Recipe - The best chili recipe made with beef, pork, beans, and peppers plus beer, cocoa powder and other seasonings for a deliciously complex flavor.

Over the years, Jack attended several chili cook-offs, and he’s worked to recreate some of the best of the winning recipes.  (Interestingly, the most memorable of the winning recipes that Jack tasted had armadillo and snake meat in the chili – but given that neither of those ingredients are very readily available to the average home cook, he’s uses beef and pork in this recipe.)

Jack’s chili recipe is a combination of meats, vegetables, seasonings and other ingredients such as beer, cocoa powder and brown sugar – all combined to give this chili a deliciously, complex flavor.  Some of the winning chili aficionado’s also argue against putting beans in their chili – so including them is optional – but we like our chili with some added beans.

Jack's Chili Recipe - The best chili recipe made with beef, pork, beans, and peppers plus beer, cocoa powder and other seasonings for a deliciously complex flavor.

You can also adjust the heat level of this chili by adding more chili powder, cumin and diced, hot fresh peppers.   This recipe is medium in heat – so feel free to adjust the spiciness up or down based on how you like your chili.

Serve Jack’s Chili with our delicious cornbread, and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, or your own preferred topping.

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Jack's Chili - A Family Feast

Jack’s Chili

  • Prep Time: 10 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours
  • Yield: 10-12 servings


  • 1 pound boneless chuck or sirloin or venison if available, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork (not sausage meat)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked if available)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 3 jalapenos chopped, seeds removed (or hotter peppers like cayenne or habanero, if you desire)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 bottle of dark beer or ale
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (28oz) crushed Pomodoro San Marzano tomatoes such as Cento or Pastene
  • 1 can (28oz) diced Pomodoro San Marzano tomatoes such as Cento or Pastene (if you use whole canned tomatoes, just crush with your hand as you put them in)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomato
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) beef broth
  • 1 can (14oz) kidney beans drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 1 can (14oz) black beans drained and rinsed (optional)
  • For serving: cornbread, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, or chopped scallions.


  1. Place cubed meat, Tabasco, vinegar, liquid smoke and garlic powder in zip lock bag and marinate four hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Pat beef dry with paper towels.
  2. In a 10-quart heavy bottomed Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Brown beef cubes on all sides and remove from pan.
  3. In same pan, brown ground beef and pork and remove from pan.
  4. Add paprika, onions, celery, both peppers and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and add beef cubes, ground beef and ground pork back in.
  5. Add in beer and stir to remove any brown bits from bottom.
  6. Add in all other ingredients except kidney and black beans. Place a heat diffuser between the pot and stovetop heat. (Using a heat diffuser will help prevent any burning on the bottom of the pot.) Stir to combine and simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Add in both beans and simmer for an additional hour.
  8. Check seasoning and adjust with more salt, pepper, chili powder or cumin. Cook five more minutes to blend flavors.
  9. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese over top and cornbread. Or, serve with sour cream dobbed on top with chopped scallions.

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  • Pamela wrote:

    I’ve made this many many times. My question is, can this be done in an instant pot? If it can, how will it be done?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Pamela – We’ve never tried making this in an Instant Pot, and we’re not at all Instant Pot experts (in fact, we just gave ours away since we never used it!) I’m sorry we can’t be of more help – but please let us know how it comes out?

  • Timothy Emmons wrote:

    Its the best chili I have ever made and eaten. I have made lots of chili over the years and this is the very best.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Timothy! I’ll be sure to let Jack know that you enjoyed his chili recipe!

  • Char wrote:

    Ever since I found this recipe on the internet a year or two ago, I have been making this chili. Even without the beans, which I don’t eat, it’s a winner. There is no better chili recipe in my opinion. And I have shared it with all my friends in Christmas cards. Thank you so much.

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Char – thank you so much! I’ll be sure to share your comment with Jack – he will be thrilled!

  • Whit Simpson wrote:

    I’ve been preparing meals for several years and this is the best Chili recipe I’ve served.

    • Jack wrote:

      Thank you so much. I absolutely love making soups, stews, chowders and chili’s. I actually enjoy recipes with multiple steps to build flavor and when I get compliments like this, I know that it was worth it.
      Thank you again.

  • Barbara T wrote:

    Made with 32 ingredients. It should be fabulous!

    • Martha wrote:

      Fair assessment…it is fabulous! 🙂

  • Thomas Cardennis wrote:

    The chili sounds great, I am looking forward to making it, the only problem I have is I don’t have a heat diffuser, and
    don’t even know where I would get one. Could I cook it low and slow on top the stove to prevent scorching? Has any
    of your blog followers tried to make this chili in a crock pot?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Thomas – If you are diligent about stirring the pot so it doesn’t scorch, you should be fine. (Low and slow, as well as a heavy bottomed pot would be perfect.) I don’t know if anyone has tried this in a crockpot but it would probably work – it just might take some extra time. We hope you enjoy the chili!

  • Doris wrote:

    Hi Martha! I am making this recipe today and was wondering about something regarding the fat rendered off the ground chuck and sausage… do you drain that off or keep it in the mix? I would think a lot of flavor but sort of unhealthy in a way. As always LOVE your’s and Jack’s recipes. Can’t wait to taste the finished product. I am halving the recipe as it’s a bit much for our houehold but sure it will be gone in a nano second! Have a blessed weekend to you both!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Doris – Great question and you are right…the rendered fat adds great flavor but it isn’t the healthiest to eat! If you have an excess amount of fat, I’d definitely drain some or most of it off after cooking.

  • Sharon Chase wrote:

    Loved the chile recipe… the smells that wafted through my kitchen had everyone chompin to get some! Very easy to make and yummy!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sharon! So glad you all enjoyed the chili!

  • Stephanie, One Caring Mom wrote:

    I love chili! It is one of my favorite fall and winter comfort foods. That being said, I still haven’t found a favorite chili recipe. This has everything I love in a recipe so I can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Stephanie – hope you enjoy the chili!

  • Kim wrote:

    Hi there. Your recipe looks amazing! Mine is similar but I’ve bern looking for one that is slightly different and I think I’ve found it! Yay! Can’t wait to try it. One question though. Would you say it’s better the day of or the next day? I wanna take it to a bday party but am trying to figure out when to make it. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kim – You can definitely make this ahead of time (the day before). This is definitely one of those chili recipes where the flavors are even better the day after. Enjoy!

  • David wrote:

    Why so many ingredients to much work even to read all this crap chilli is supposed to be quick and easy. Not recommended.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi David – We hope you’ll actually give Jack’s Chili recipe a try – all of those ingredients add a wonderful complexity of flavor which many of our readers have loved. But – if it’s too much work for you, you may enjoy our Quick and Easy Chili recipe that you can see here: Have a great day!

  • TARA wrote:


    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you love the chili Tara!

  • Victoria wrote:

    Hi! This recipe looks fantastic! Making my shopping list now and excited to cook this later this week. Question – Can I use wine in place of beer?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Victoria – Sure – it will lend a slightly different flavor to the chili, but it should work just fine. Enjoy!

  • Lucas wrote:

    About how many quarts does this make?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lucas – This makes about 4+ quarts of chili.

  • Andrew James wrote:

    Really liked this recipe. Made this yesterday during the snow storm here in Oregon. Great day for Chili. Playoff football, snow falling and great Chili. Next time I plan to cut back on the brown sugar. But overall it was great Chili. On a whim I decided to make some poached eggs with my Sous Vide for those who wanted to try it, and that was a hit. The Chili was excellent by it’s self. But the egg really took it to the next level. We will most definitely be doing this again. Probably for the Super Bowl.

    Thanks for posting this recipe!


    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Andrew! Love the idea of adding an egg to the top of this chili!

  • Sharzi wrote:

    I make mine with strip steak (or pulled pork), yams, beans, hamburger , onions, beer (and sometimes substitute with a sweeter wine), celery, spices and a couple of secret ingredients that make it very yummy.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds delicious!

  • Joseph wrote:

    Since I avoid alcohol, what can I use in place of the beer or ale in the chili recipe. I know that the alcohol cooks out, it’s just I avoid all appearance of it. Looks like a great recipe. Thank you Joseph

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Joseph – you could add a cola soda instead. It won’t be exactly the same but it will still add some additional flavor and depth to the chili.

  • Linda wrote:

    How much beef broth do you use? Recipe calls for “one can” but is that a 15 oz can or am I using the big 32 ounce can? Looks great, can’t wait to try it!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Linda – Thank you so much for your question (I’m not sure why we left out the ounces on that ingredient!). I would be the 15 ounce can – not the bigger 32 ounce can. We will update the recipe as soon as possible! Thanks for letting us know of the error!

  • Glenda wrote:

    We want to use this recipe in a chili cook off but need to convert it using 9 lbs. ground chili meat so we need to forego the 1st 5 ingredients. If it safe to just triple the rest of the recipe?

    • Jack wrote:

      Hi Glenda, this is Jack. Tripling the recipe would be fine since the total meat equals three pounds so triple to nine pounds would be fine. Not sure I understand why you would omit some ingredients. Simply triple everything, or am I not understanding your question?

      • Glenda wrote:

        Your 1st ingredient is 1 lb boneless chuck & next 4 ingredients marinade. Our event is providing ground chili meat at the cook off so no time to marinade. Are you saying we should just add the marinade ingredients when browning the meat?

        • Jack wrote:

          Ah, now I understand. I didn’t realize that your “chili meat” was ground. Yes, you can eliminate the marinade ingredients however they provide a certain amount of flavor to the meat. If your chili meat is pre-seasoned, then no issue with removing those flavors. If it is just plain ground meat (beef, pork, etc.) it may be to your advantage to add some of those flavors in. What I would do is make the chili without the marinade (wine, Tabasco, liquid smoke and garlic powder) and taste it. If it needs a kick, add small quantities of the Tabasco, liquid smoke and garlic powder (no wine) until you have the taste you want.

          Good luck, hope you win!

  • Sue wrote:

    I plan to make this chili this week. Could you please tell me what type of liquid smoke I should use? Thank you.

    • Jack wrote:

      Wright’s is the brand we used, but any brand should work just fine.

  • PJ wrote:

    Looks awesome. Instead of the defuser or worrying about the bottom burning I sear the meat, ground beef and ground pork and then add it to a slow cooker with all other ingredients (except beans). I cook it on high for about 3 1/2 hours and then add beans and then cook for an additional hour.. The slow cooking to me brings out much more flavor.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion PJ!

      • PJ wrote:

        You’re very welcome.

  • Kara wrote:

    I plan on making this for the game tomorrow. Do you really use 2 cans (28oz) tomatoes in addition to another 14.5 oz? Just want to make sure before making grocery list!

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes! That is correct!

  • Hannah wrote:

    Made this tonight. I didn’t use celery..left out the larger can of diced tomatoes.. added a half of a habanero pepper..Used a Christmas Ale and added some cinnamon & extra brown sugar.. topped with lots of cheddar cheese, sour cream and cornbread..omg YUM!! My new go-to Chili recipe. Thanks!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds delicious Hannah! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Jeanette wrote:

    What is a good beer to use in this? Thank you . Cant wait to try it. Has anyone made this In a crockpot/slow cooker after it was all browned and put together? Thanks again. Jeanette

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jeanette – We usually use a medium-body beer (like a Sam Adams) – but if you have another favorite beer or ale, feel free to use that! We haven’t made this ourselves in a slow cooker, but after everything is browned and put together, it would probably work! Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting our site today!

  • Lori wrote:

    This is a fabulous recipe!! I made it yesterday for my husband and son and they loved it. Marinated the beef over night which I would make sure I do every time, well worth the extra time. Thanks for a new recipe, that has now become my favorite

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Lori! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Giselle wrote:

    it definitely looks yummy..but do i need to use soo much of canned tomatoes?could u give me another option..cos canned stuff is not readily available and its really expensive here:)
    but im going to try it with the chocolate and beer:)

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Giselle – If fresh tomatoes are more readily available feel free to use those instead! Thanks!

  • Kathleen Pearson wrote:

    My mouth has been watering with all the fantastic recipes!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Kathleen! Glad you stopped by!

  • Cara Ivey wrote:

    Jon puts chocolate and pineapple in his chili. Amazing combo. He even got the chili loving Texans at the Country Club hooked on it!

    • Martha wrote:

      Chocolate and pineapple! Wow – sounds delicious! We’ll have to try that the next time we make chili!

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