High Cooking: Barbecue Chipotle Chili

IMG_6424This is some damn good chili, according to a coworker.

I spent three days making a rather unique chili for the annual company picnic, since we had a chili cook-off this year. I didn’t win, but I came close. The scoring sheets they used had sections for texture and appearance, which is probably where I fell behind. I tried the winning chili and it was very good, though I prefer the lower salt and higher capsaicin content in mine. Anyway, that’s all subjective and I definitely succeeded in making the delicious chili I envisioned.

I broke the cooking process down into four stages, and I made double my target amount so I could enjoy the rest for myself after failing to win the cook-off. My recipe involves the use of a smoker, but grilled meat would be adequate. Not great, just adequate.


  • 16 oz dry beans of your choice (I used half pinto and half red kidney beans)
  • 2 whole chicken breasts with bones and skin
  • 8 oz spicy sausage
  • 12 oz beef steak
  • Barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 Anaheim pepper
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 1 fresh yellow chili
  • 4 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 large fresh tomato
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt to taste

Stage 1 – Beans


When I’m making chili is about the only time you’ll find me cooking beans. I’m not a fan of legumes, but chili is great so I tolerate them.

You’ll want to soak your beans in salty water overnight before rinsing and cooking them in another pot of salty water. Simmer them on low heat until they’re just soft enough to eat, then drain the liquid.

Stage 2 – Meat


Remove the bones and skin from the chicken breast. Cut it and the steak into large chunks. Sear the steak in a skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil, then marinate it and the chicken overnight in barbecue sauce. Put the chicken bones and any meat and skin scraps in a pot with enough water to cover them, add salt and pepper, then bring it to a boil and simmer on low heat for at least six hours.

The next day, smoke or grill the chicken and steak. Make the sausage into patties and fry them until browned, then cut the patties into small chunks.

Stage 3 – Chili Base


Dice the fresh peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute them in butter until they’re a little soft. This step will smell amazing, and if you get your face too close to the pot it will also sting your eyes.


Cut the fresh tomato into small chunks and add it to the pot. Then mix in the tomato paste, canned chipotle peppers, all spices, and salt to taste. This is your concentrated chili base, so it will be very spicy and thick. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it becomes a thick mush.


Stage 4 – Completion


Because I doubled this recipe, I have half of it leftover in the form of four distinct ingredients that I can simply mix together and heat up.

To the thick chili base, add two cups of chicken broth. Mix it in thoroughly and then add the meat and beans. Stir it all together and bring it to a boil. At first the chili will be very thick, but after a nice long simmer everything will start cooking together and the flavors will be amazing and it’ll look like the first picture. You’ll probably need to salt to taste again, and then you’re done.


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