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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!

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