Prep Time:  30 mins
Cook Time:  270 mins
Total Time:  300 mins
Servings:  10-12

Whether it's a chilly day deserving of a warm meal or you've been challenged to a high-stakes cast iron cookoff, few dishes bring the joy faster than a big, hearty pot of chili con carne. And guess what? We're breaking some rules to get there. To whip up this loose cannon chili that doesn't play by the rules, we're smoking everything: the meat, the vegetables, and anyone who dares get in your way. Topping sirloin with bacon. Tossing around bourbon. Buckle in, friend — we're not just making chili. We're making the best chili you've had yet.


Ingredients for Chili

  • 3 1/2 lbs pork ribs
  • 1 ½ lbs thick cut bacon, low sodium
  • 2 lbs sirloin steak
  • ¾ cup pork rub
  • 3-6 cups hickory wood chips
    or wood chunks
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for Base

  • 3 cans crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 red bell peppers
  • 2 serrano pepper
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 ounces
    and fire-roasted
  • 1-2 oz bourbon
  • 2 cups Abita Amber (or any
    medium-bodied ale)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 can tomato sauce, 15 ounces
  • ¾ cup strong black coffee

Ingredients for First Seasoning

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dry rosemary, ground
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar

Ingredients for Second Seasoning

  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp masa or corn meal

Items You'll Need


Instructions for Chili con Carne

  1. We’re starting this off with a serious blast of mouthwatering taste. Generously rub down the pork ribs and steaks on all sides with pork dry rub, then set aside to soak up that flavor profile.
  2. Steak being seasoned before being put on the rack
  3. Halve the bacon with a sharp knife. You’ll want to rest about 3–4 slices of halved bacon strips atop each sirloin steak.
  4. Place two handfuls of wood chips into the smoker box, and set your smoker temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. While it preheats, dice the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Lay them out in several shallow pans; add garlic cloves over the top to complete.
  5. Once fully preheated, add the pork ribs and bacon-topped sirloin to the smoker, then place the vegetable pans on the racks above the meat. Time to let the magic begin!
  6. Ribs being laid on smoker racks
  7. Smoke everything for 30–35 minutes. Remove the bacon-topped sirloins, tent them with foil, and set them aside. Meanwhile, stir the vegetables and allow them to continue smoking for 2 hours. Notice that we haven’t said anything about the ribs. They’re still exactly where you want them.
  8. Soak a half-cup of wood chips and a half-cup of apple cider, then add them to the smoker box. Let the ribs continue smoking for a total of 3 ½ hours, then take them out to tent with foil as well.
  9. Rough-chop the bacon-topped steaks and set them aside. By now, you’re good to debone the pork ribs. Rough-chop the resulting rib meat, then set that aside as well.
  10. Chopping up bacon before adding to the chili
  11. In a 7-quart cast iron pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and add in your chopped, smoked meats in mixed handfuls. Brown the meat and deglaze the cast iron pot with a splash of bourbon.
  12. Time to add in the rest of the ingredients — but we’ll be doing this in stages. First, add the smoked vegetables, then stir long enough to combine. Next, add in the Amber beer and beef stock, then stir to combine again. Once thoroughly mixed, add in the rest of the smoked meat and... that’s right, stir it all to combine. Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and coffee. You know what to do.
  13. Adding beer to the chili mixture
  14. Nicely mix in the first group of dry seasonings. Let your concoction simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Fight the temptation to steal an early spoonful.
  15. Remove the lid and simmer the chili for another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At about the 40-minute mark, blend the masa (or corn meal) with just enough water to form a slurry.
  16. Turn the burner off for a moment and add the second seasonings, including the slurry. Finally, bring the mixture back to medium-heat and cook until your chili thickens. Serve and enjoy!
  17. Finished Smoked Chili con Carne, served in a bowl