Dave’s Chili Con Carne

Chili, for most Americans, contains beans. This is a little odd, because as anyone who has been to a Chili competition can tell you, fillers such as beans, pasta, or rice are simply not allowed. This is pretty much consistent no matter what organization is running the competition.

My recipe adheres to the rules; not a bean nor a scrap of pasta to be found. If you haven’t tried making a traditional homemade Chili, this recipe is a great place to start. As written, it has just enough heat for you to notice, but not enough to make you suffer any life-threatening physical maladies. Let me know what you think!

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  • 14 ounces of Crushed Tomatoes (preferably Pastene if you can get it)
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped fine
  • 4-5 pounds of boneless Chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Jalapeño chili, seeded and chopped fine.
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina


  1. Cut the chuck roast into 3/4 inch pieces, trimming away any excess fat, and reserving the larger pieces of fat for use in the next step. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dice up the beef fat (suet) into 1/4 inch pieces, and cook over low heat in a large dutch oven, until the fat is rendered. Remove the solid pieces of fat and discard, keeping the liquid in the pot.
  3. Add the diced bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  4. Remove all of the fat from the dutch oven and set aside, then pour 1 tablespoon of the fat back into the dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until the fat is almost smoking.
  5. Brown half of the beef cubes, turning occasionally. This should take about eight minutes. Set the browned beef cubes aside in a bowl, add another tablespoon of the fat to the dutch oven, and brown the other half of the beef cubes as before. Add the second batch of browned beef cubes to the bowl with the first batch.
  6. Add the remaining fat to the dutch oven along with the onions and jalapeño peppers and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the browned beef, the bacon, the pimentón, the water, and the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for one hour.
  9. Remove the cover and continue to simmer for another 45 minutes.
  10. Remove about a cup of the chili liquid and put in a microwave-proof bowl. Stir in the masa harina and microwave for one minute, until thickened. Slowly add the mixture to the chili and whisk until thickened, about five minutes.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.



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