Monday, September 19, 2011

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili

Summer, where did you go?

I enjoyed having you around.  I liked the bright sunshine and the endless outdoor events.  I liked the cute summer dresses I got to wear.  I liked the warm breezes that blew past me in the evening.

I didn't like the stifling, humid days that turned (several of) my cupcake attempts into mush.  I didn't like the way you made me sweat in places I really don't want sweat.  I didn't like the endless block parties across the street from me which threatened to only end after 3am.

But now your cooler counterpart is here: Fall.  Welcome.  You are my favorite.

NFL football has started again.  I can wear sweats with wild abandon. Pumpkin coffee is back at Dunkin Donuts.  Nuff said.

And now that I am thoroughly satisfied with the weather, I can sit down on the couch (in sweats, of course), watch some quality fall television programs, and chow down on a bowl of smoky, spicy chili.  More specifically, some Slow-Cooker Texas Chili. 

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili
slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine
yields 4 servings*

  • 2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes**
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 4.5 oz cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground (cayenne) red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dark beer
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • sliced scallions, fresh cilantro, and/or sour cream for topping

**I would recommend trimming as much of the fat off the meat as possible (as you will see, I didn't do this...)

1) Place the beef in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon salt.

2) Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan over medium-high heat.  Sear the beef on all sides.  You will probably need to do this in several batches.

3) Remove the beef from the pan and place it in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.

4) Lower the heat underneath the pan to medium.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

5) Stir in the garlic, chiles, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes.

6) Pour in 1 1/2 cups dark beer (I used Sam Adams Octoberfest) and the tomatoes.  Allow the mixture to come to a simmer for about 3 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

7) Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker.

8) Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

9) Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the chili.

10) Serve with scallions, cilantro, and/or sour cream for toppings.

Alert! Save 3-4 cups of chili for a Chili Corn Casserole that I'm posting soon on the blog!  If you don't plan on saving any chili for this dish, then you'll probably get another 2-3 servings out of this recipe.

This chili was different from most chilis I've had before.  In a good way.  There weren't the usual distractions from the meat, such as beans and other fillers, so I could really focus on how spicy, tender, and hearty the beef was.  I think there was a bit too much liquid in the chili once it was done.  So maybe I'd 1/2 cup to a cup less beer when making this again.  But otherwise, no complaints.  Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle scallions and cilantro over the chili and you get a perfectly comforting fall meal.


  1. I don't really eat much meat, but chili with no beans is some meat I can get behind.

    -Love (and bean-less gratitude) from Texas!

  2. Thanks Danni! I only like garbanzo and soy beans. All other beans are out of the question, so this was perfect for me too. I hope this recipe makes Texas proud!

  3. So amazing, and so easy my bf made it perfectly! thanks for a great recipe :)

  4. That's great to hear! Sounds like you really enjoyed it

  5. I am allergic to beans. Making this for a large party tomorrow! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  6. Made this today.. yum yum yum. I also put in 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into it.

    1. Great! I'm glad you liked it. I love spicy food so I'll have to try that next time.

  7. I'm having a chili cook off at you think the chili could cook for longer than 7 hours?

    1. I think it may be able to go a little longer but I wouldn't push it past 8 hours. You don't want to overcook the meat. Good luck!

  8. I'm making this recipe (with a few little modifications) right now. Smells so good!

  9. I bought all the ingredients for this and will report back on how it went - I'm diabetic and this looks very diabetic-friendly so I'll be eager to see how my blood sugar comes up after eating it. My only question is ( I'm not a beer drinker) would Killian's red count as dark beer or does it matter?

    1. Great! Let me know how it turns out. I think it doesn't matter if you use Killian's or something other beer. If you're not a beer drinker, you can use beef broth too.

  10. Texan_In_ConnecticutAugust 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    I made this for my workeversary last year (and planning to do so again this week) and it was an absolute smash. I added in a pair of ghost peppers and a couple cans of chipotles in adobo sauce to really give it that kick. Everyone signed waivers and got zero work for the rest of the day. Spectacular!

    1. That sounds amazing! I'm glad you (and your coworkers) enjoy this!