Everyone has a chili recipe that they consider to be the best. Is it ever the best? Not usually, but that's what makes chili great, there's no right or wrong way to make it as long as you're happy with the results.

Here's how I do it pretty much every year. The recipe is based on Guy Fieri's Dragon Breath Chili with a few modifications along the way.

Here's what you're going to need:


  • Peppers - The perfect combo is about 3 poblanos, 3 Anaheims, 2 jalapenos, and 2 red bell peppers. You might not be able to find all of those at the store. Just get what they have. The Anaheims are optional, if you can't find those get an extra poblano or bell pepper.
  • Meat - I like to use three kinds of meat: a big piece of chuck roast (about a pound) or some other fatty slab of cow cut up into small (~1/4 inch) chunks, a pound of Italian sausage  (hot or mild, your preference) uncased and torn into small pieces, and 2 pounds of ground beef (you can use chicken, veal, pork, whatever just get a coarsely ground meat)
  • Spices - Go crazy here and use whatever you want. I highly recommend a lot of chili powder, a little less of cayenne, coriander, cumin, paprika, granulated onion, and granulated garlic. This is where you can really have fun. Do you have an exotic jar or Aleppo pepper that you don't know how to use? Use it in this.
  • 2 big yellow onions diced
  • 1 head of garlic minced, feel free to use more garlic or even roast it for some additional flavor
  • Liquids - Again, use what you want or have but here's what I like to include: one can of tomato sauce, half a can of tomato paste, beef or chicken stock, beer.
  • Beans - Another one that's up to you. Don't like beans then leave them out. I only use black beans but pinto beans are another good choice. You'll want 2 or 3 cans of beans with the liquid they come in.


  1. Roast the peppers. There are two main ways to do this. If you have a gas stove you can put them right over the flame. Using tongs, turn them until they're completely black and charred on the outside. Or you can slice them in half, arrange them on a baking sheet and place them under your broiler for about 10-15 minutes. After doing either method, place the peppers in a ziplock bag or a bowl covered with saran wrap for about 15 minutes. After that you can wipe the char off the peppers and cut them up. DO NOT use water to rise off the char, you'll be rinsing away all the smoky flavor that you just spent 30 minutes creating.
  2. Brown all your meat. Start with the cubed chuck roast. Get some oil going in the bottom of a dutch oven and just let all sides receive some good color. Remove the chuck and repeat with the sausage and then ground beef. Remove all meat from pot and set aside.
  3. You should be developing a good fond at the bottom of the pot by now. We are going to scrape all that up by adding the onions. Let them cook over medium until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Clear some space in the middle of the pot and add your garlic and spices. This will help your spices bloom a little and mellow out the garlic a bit. Do not skip this step.
  5. Return all the meat to the pot. Add the diced peppers. Pour in however many beans (and bean juice) you're using to the pot. Finally add the tomato sauce, paste, stock and beer to fill the remaining space in the pot.
  6. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to its lowest setting and allow to simmer for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Four hours is the minimum amount of time you want to cook this. I usually make this at night and let it simmer while I sleep.

Top with whatever you want but I recommend oyster crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced raw onions.

Make a big batch because this chili only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. You'll have delicious chili to look forward to every night of the week.

And remember, this is a guide not a recipe. You make chili with your heart, not your brain. Listen to your heart while making this and you'll have a great pot of chili every time.

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