I made up this chili one disappointing, rainy, summer Saturday a couple years ago. Matt and I were supposed to meet some friends at Fire Island and spend the day at the beach. But no, Mother Nature had other ideas. She sent some rain and chilly temperatures to ruin our plans. To soothe our sulkiness, I came up with this delicious chili.
We loved it. I made this all through football season last fall, and it was always a big hit. Then I made it again last year on Black Friday, and again, everyone loved it. Matt suggested that this become our official Black Friday chili. We do NOT do any shopping on Black Friday, so I thought it was a fine idea. I busted out this recipe yesterday afternoon and we spent a lovely day in sweatpants, snuggling and watching movies and college football games. We noshed on this chili and some leftover pie. It was a wonderfully cozy day.
This chili is basically the love child of beef chili and barbecue baked beans. I don’t recall my thought process that came up with this combination, but I haven’t heard any complaints! I combine the basic elements of chili (ground beef, onion, garlic, jalapeno, spices, and tomatoes) with the essential elements of barbecue baked beans (bacon, barbecue sauce, beans, brown sugar, and barbecue rub). It makes the perfect marriage of the two dishes, boasting big barbecue bacon flavor and the perfect chili texture.
I served the following garnishes: sour cream (for Matt), shredded yellow cheddar, bacon bits, and sliced raw jalapenos (for me). Other yummy possibilities include: chopped raw onion, minced cilantro, chopped scallions, tomato salsa, chopped tomatoes, and whatever else your imagination and personal preferences dream up.
I would be remiss to not tell you that this chili isn’t terribly spicy. It’s very kid-friendly, and people who don’t love spicy food are fine with the mild heat level. If you want it spicier, add another jalapeno, or some cayenne.
8 slices bacon
2 lbs. ground sirloin
2 medium onions, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs good barbecue rub, homemade or store-bought
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 (12 oz) bottle of beer
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 (28 oz) can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can original barbecue baked beans, like Bush’s
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp hot sauce (I used Texas Pete’s)
2 tsp chipotle hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Preheat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Chop two pieces of bacon. Brown in the Dutch oven until crisped and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet or grill pan, fry up the remaining slices of bacon and crumble them onto the same plate with the chopped rendered bacon. If you chop and cook all the bacon in the Dutch oven, it will be too much fat and it will burn.
Once you have rendered the chopped bacon, leave the fat in the pan and crumble in the ground sirloin. Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink. Add in the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Now stir in the barbecue seasoning, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder. Make sure all the meat and vegetables are well coated. Deglaze the pan with the beer. When it has mostly evaporated, add the tomatoes, barbecue sauce, baked beans, liquid smoke, hot sauce, and chipotle sauce. Stir to combine. Add back in about two-thirds of the crumbled bacon. Reserve the rest for garnish.
Let the chili simmer for at least one hour on medium-low to low heat. Stir occasionally and make sure it isn’t scorching on the bottom. You can also transfer it to a slow cooker at this point and let it go on low all day. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.
When ready to serve, garnish with whatever you like, but be sure to include the reserved bacon.