My Award-Winning Recipe for "Three-Alarm Chili"
Recipe for "Three-Alarm Chili"
I've been making chili since I was in high school, mostly from the same basic
recipe: ground beef, tomato paste, and chili powder. Frankly,
it was all right but not great.
Back in 1995, I found a recipe that had won First
Place in the National Chili Cook-off in California that year. I made it one
night and it was incredible. I modified it a bit over the years to suit my
taste and I posted my recipe below. Note
that it uses chocolate and four types of chili powder. By the way, real
chili fans wouldn't think of putting beans in their chili, so I've made them
optional. The chili
won't burn your tongue or make you sweat (if you enjoy those
sensations, just double the cayenne), but it is pretty darn spicy.
This chili takes a lot of time to prepare, but it's absolutely awesome.
pounds steak (round or sirloin, not ground)
teaspoons vegetable oil
teaspoon seasoned salt
teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon meat tenderizer
medium white onion, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
- 10-oz. can chicken broth
- 10 oz. beef broth
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, peeled, chopped, and drained
cloves garlic, finely chopped (or garlic powder)
tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder
tablespoons California chili powder
tablespoon medium hot New Mexico chili powder
tablespoon ground pasilla chili
tablespoon ground cumin
teaspoons cayenne pepper
teaspoon Tabasco sauce
teaspoon ground oregano
teaspoon garlic powder
oz. semi-sweet chocolate
- 27-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 20-oz. can red beans, rinsed and drained
- 15-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1: Cut meat into 1/4" to 1/2" cubes.
Cook each pound of meat separately this way:
In large cooking pot, heat 1 teaspoon cooking oil, stir in 1 pound cubed
meat, then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder,
and 1/2 teaspoon meat tenderizer. When
meat is lightly browned, drain off all fat.
Saute chopped onions and chopped bell pepper.
2: Return all the meat, the onions, and the bell pepper to the pot and add all
of the Part 2 ingredients, and beans if desired.
Stir well to combine. Simmer
uncovered over low heat for 3 hours, adding an additional 1 can chicken broth if
necessary. Do not allow to boil.
Store in refrigerator overnight, reheat for 2 hours the next day, and eat
(chili is always better after it sits overnight in the refrigerator).
8 quarts (approx. 12 pounds). I usually make a triple batch, which will just
about fill two 16-quart pots.
with milk and crackers.
Making 65 pounds of chili on New Year's Eve, 1999 to celebrate the new
millennium. Note the army of empty
cans in the background. This recipe is a lot of work but it's worth
it. Also, chili freezes well so I usually make a lot at one time and
put it in the freezer.
Above: That's me cooking
up "only" two pots of chili in New York during 2001 when I visited my