Best chili I've had. There's probably better, but I've not tasted it yet.

Adapted from here


  • 4-5 cans of chili beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 quarts (3.8L) water
  • 3 whole ancho, pasilla, or mulato chilies, seeded and torn into rough 1-inch pieces (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 2 whole New Mexico red, California, costeño, or choricero chilies, seeded and torn into rough 1-inch pieces
  • 1 whole cascabel, árbol, or pequin chili, seeded and torn in half
  • 3-5 pound chuck roast
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 quart (900ml) low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Marmite or Maggi sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 2 whole cloves, toasted and ground
  • 1 star anise, toasted and ground
  • 1 ounce chopped unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 fresh Thai bird chilies or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28-ounce; 794g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Buffalo-style hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot (or more to taste)
  • 3-6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, to taste


Add dried chilies (the first 3 types) to a fry pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened with an intense, roasted aroma, 2 to 5 minutes. Do not allow to smoke. Remove chilies, place in a small bowl, and set aside.

Slice chuck roast into 1 inch thick slabs and trim off most of the fat. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to a fry pan or heavy bottom pot and heat over high heat until smoking. Brown all chuck roast slabs (doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through, just get a nice crust on them). Once all chuck roast is cooked, transfer all rendered fat into a small bowl and reserve separately (there actually might not be that much).

Return pot or fry pan to medium-high heat and add 1 cup (240ml) chicken broth, using a flat wooden spoon or stiff spatula to scrape browned bits off of bottom of pan. Reduce heat until chicken broth is at a bare simmer, add toasted chilies to liquid, and cook until chilies have softened and liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chilies and liquid to a blender. Add anchovy, Marmite/Maggi, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground spices, and chocolate and blend at high speed, scraping down sides as necessary, until a completely smooth purée has formed, about 2 minutes. Set chili purée aside.

Cut chuck roast slabs into 1/2”-1” pieces (whatever you prefer). Add any accumulated meat juices to chili purée.

Heat 4 tablespoons (60ml) rendered beef fat (if necessary, add vegetable oil to reach 4 tablespoons) in a fry pan or heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add fresh Thai bird chilies or jalapeño, garlic, and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili purée and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot, until chili mixture begins to fry and leaves a coating on bottom of pan, 2 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and mix for a bit to get everything off the bottom of the pan.

In a large crockpot (6qt or larger), combine contents of fry pan from the last step, add chopped chuck roast, bay leaves, beans, crushed tomatoes and cider vinegar and cook 6-8 hours on high, adding water if necessary to keep beans and meat mostly submerged (a little protrusion is okay).

Using tongs, remove and discard bay leaves. Add hot sauce, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt, ground black pepper, additional vinegar, and brown sugar.