Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brisket Chili On A Winter Day

I smoked a brisket the other day for making into chili – first time to make it with brisket and since Tuesday was supposed to be a cold, snowy day, it seemed like a good match. Many folks on the various BBQ forums I read rave about their brisket chili so I wanted to give it a try. I considered using an entirely different recipe, but since the purpose of this batch was to test brisket against our normal ground beef, I made no other changes. I also considered working on my taxes in my office downstairs, building a fire in the fireplace and making it in a Dutch oven using the free heat of the fireplace coals, but the working-on-my-taxes-part was a non-starter, so just made it on the stove.

I normally get up early and by mid afternoon, I’m usually ready to call it a day. But since this is prime dinner prep time, I’ve figured out I need to get the serious prep done early. So for today, I got all of the chopping done by noon so I could throw it all together around 3pm. I had about 2 1/2 pounds of smoked brisket which I diced into about 3/8” cubes, which took awhile. I’ve watched chili competitions where they seem to spend hours cutting up big pieces of meat in to precisely the same sized small pieces – I didn’t do that. I got all of the other ingredients ready to go as well so all I had to do was dump it together and adjust the seasonings.

Normally I would cook the meat (burger) about done and add the onions and peppers for a good saute prior to adding the other ingredients. But since the brisket was already cooked, I just sautéed the onion and peppers in a little olive oil and then added the brisket with the other ingredients.

At the end, I added a little salt and about 5 squirts of Sriracha for some heat – can always add more to the bowl. This turned out to be the thickest chili I’ve ever made and I really liked it - the chili powder and brisket flavors worked well together for me.

I know to the chili purest, beans are a no-no but for me lack of beans makes it tomato beef soup – guess it’s all about how you were raised. I will definitely make this again – one of the major differences is the texture of the have-to chew-it brisket vs the ground beef. If you want to try it give me a shout and I’ll smoke you a brisket – for pick up of course. This pic shows my bowl full topped with the lime-crema from Mangos, Chili and Z and I liked the effect it had. And the icing on the cake was that Beverly liked it both before and after the crema addition.

One of my chili highlights involves the powder. Several years ago, I came up with a complete chili (not chile) powder containing everything needed but salt and made from my homegrown peppers. A while back, I bought some chili powder from a rub maker who’s product I use a lot of and after giving it the smell test, I decided mine needed a lot of work. So we made a batch of chili with the purchased powder and ended up adding some of mine to fix the taste. I realize everyone’s tastes are different, but it was a feel good none the less. I thought about marketing mine, but what makes it unique is the homegrown and dried peppers which taste fundamentally different (better) than purchased and that would be more farming than I wanted to do. So I just make it for the kids and us and to give away at Christmas.

The title picture shows the GIANT snowfall (maybe 3-4 snowflakes deep) from the SEVERE weather (as described in the 6am call from the school system) that resulted in school cancellation on Tuesday – I get such a kick out of this. I believe the weather man had an off day, but it was still a cold day for chili.

Have a great day today.



  1. A big bowlful of this would go great today. It is so cold here with lots of snow on the ground! Thanks for sharing with us. I've never used brisket for chili before but I'm sure it would be delicious! BTW,you're invited to stop by and become a fan of my site!

  2. Thanks for the shout out with the Lime Crema. I'm really starting to like and use more of that Sriracha sauce. Good stuff. I'm one of those "no-no" people who always put beans in their chili. To me, chili isn't chili without them. Great post Larry and love the looks of that chili.

  3. LOL on the snow! We had a "snow day" on Friday but never got a drop of snow right here along the Gulf Coast though we were predicted to. Just north of us did get a little bit.

    The chili sounds good, though it is a meatless day for us due to Ash Wednesday. I sometimes like my chili with beans too - I like it both ways really.

  4. When I smoke brisket, i always make a second JUST so I can make chili from the extras. been much too cold for me to smoke, and my stash in teh freezer is gone... I am sooo ready for spring

  5. Poor ole weather people. They seldom get the forecast correct... We have had about 8 inches of snow up here on the plateau... It was NOT predicted.. I think the schools up here have missed about 15 days of school this school year... Ridiculous!!!!

    Your chili sounds good. We had some this week and the recipe called for sausage instead of beef.. It was delicious.

    Have a great day.

  6. The difference of a northerner's big snow to a southerner's big snow is about 35 inches! But a brisket chili is a welcome relief to both groups.

    And Larry, this looks mighty good to one who has experienced both degrees of snowfall.

  7. That chili looks good! I just said that I wanted to make chili like this. Thanks for the recipe! It will be perfect on one of these cold nights.

  8. Yum, Larry - this looks so good! I grew up making chili (ALWAYS con carne), but still haven't made it with brisket. Gonna have to change that!

  9. Your chili does look awsome and I agree- I like beans in my chili!
    I haven't tried making brisket chili, but I'm sure I'd love it, and so would the carnivores in my family. :)

  10. I'm like you, I like chili with beans. I have had ground meat chili so I tried making a real texas red last year. It was okay but I couldn't get used to the "have to chew it" texture that you mentioned.

  11. Chili looks good to me!

    Since you are using homegrown peppers in your chili seasoning, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month? Full Details at


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