Kitchen Sink Chili

What you’ll need:

The Hardware:

  • 10”+ skillet - I like cast iron.

  • Small stock pot - I use an enameled dutch oven

  • Crock pot (or a mixing bowl to store ingredients that you’ll later move back into your stock pot/dutch oven)

  • Potato masher (only if you bought sausage links instead of ground sausage)

  • Latex/Nitrile gloves, or in a pinch, some grocery bags or ziplock bags on your hands will work fine.

The Software:

  • 1 Large onion (I prefer vidalia or other sweet onions)

  • 2 Bell peppers (color is unimportant)

  • 2 Jalapenos (These will not add ANY spiciness to this, so don’t worry if you don’t like spicy food)

  • 3 Cloves of garlic

  • 3Tbsp Olive oil (vegetable or canola oil will work fine too)

  • 6-8oz of Bacon (I use smoked, uncured bacon. Any will work though)

  • 1lb Ground sausage

  • 1lb Beef/Steak (Not ground beef - Use whole chuck, sirloin, or top round- whatever’s on sale)

  • 14.5oz Can of diced tomatoes

  • 15oz Can of kidney beans (any variety, I prefer smaller ones)

  • 6oz Can tomato paste

  • 1/4 Cup light brown sugar

  • 2/3tbsp Chili powder

  • 1tsp Ground cumin

  • 1tsp Smoked paprika (you can skip this- it can be expensive.)

  • 1tsp Black pepper

  • 1tsp Kosher or sea salt

  • 8oz of cold beer

  • 1 Habanero (I use a scotch bonnet - don’t skip this, I’ll tell you how to remove the spiciness later if not desired; If you’re brave, add a second one.)


Let’s get started.

First, take all of your veggies (except the habanero) and dice them. With your bell peppers and jalapenos, do your best to trim and remove all ribs and seeds. This is where the spiciness and bitterness of peppers come from. We want flavor from these- not heat or bitterness. The garlic cloves should be crushed and minced. It should all look like this. The jalapeno is still whole as an example for one that has had seeds removed.



Take your skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. once it’s up to temperature, add your veggies and mix it up. Lightly salt and pepper them, you’ll be adding salt and pepper to the final product, so go easy.


When the onions and peppers get a little color, pull the veggies and throw them in your crock pot or mixing bowl.

In previous versions of this recipe, I suggested using a more time consuming approach of cooking the bacon, sausage and beef in three different steps, using the bacon and sausage fat to cook up the beef. I got lazy and cooked all three at once, and there was no discernable difference in the final product. Doing all three at once took my prep time from nearly an hour, down to about 35 minutes.


Dice up your beef, and cut your bacon into little pieces. It’s actually helpful to have your bacon partially frozen to cut it. Add all this with the ground sausage to a large skillet or in your dutch oven/stock pot and fry it up until cooked evenly. The bacon will not get crispy, but that doesn’t matter since it will be simmering with chili anyways. Drain off any excess fats that render out. Add your veggies back in if you’re simmering it on the stove top instead of a crock pot.


At this point, your mix should look like this:


Now on to the other stuff: Crack open your canned goods. Drain the tomatoes (don’t squeeze out the liquid though), rinse the beans. Add to your pot. Measure out a cup of beer, add that too. Coincidentally, there’s 4oz of beer left. This is why I said cold beer. Drink the 4oz of beer. I chose Yuengling. (tip: IPAs and Pale Ales add a nice subtle citrus twang from their hoppy-ness, porters add roasty flavors to the chili.) Use whatever beer you want except probably sour beers, but make sure it’s filtered or be careful not to pour out any sediment- I don’t like the idea of yeast sediment in my chili. I would recommend avoiding ‘light’ beers and your typical ‘Bud’ beers.

Add your spices and brown sugar. Season to taste of course if you don’t like the quantities I listed. Stir it all in. It will be pretty thick. It will loosen up as it simmers.


Lastly, that scotch bonnet pepper. WARNING: Habeneros are dangerous. Their oils and seeds can cause severe skin irritation, about equivalent to a 1st degree burn, and it will last for up to a few hours. If you touch your eye, wash out immediately with saline. Wear gloves when handling, cutting and even when washing the knife you cut it with. Don’t touch your face or any body parts. If you don’t have latex or nitrile gloves, you can get away with wearing plastic grocery bags or quart or larger ziplock bags, but this is not ideal. Flower the pepper out with a paring knife. See the picture below for reference. Leave the stem. Just sit it on top of your chili. Simmer your chili for 4-6 hours stirring once an hour or so. If you’re using your stock pot, do this over medium-low heat. If you’re using your crock pot, it doesn’t matter. On crock-pot brand crock pots, high and low reach the same final temperature. If you go more than 6 hours, put it on low heat on your stove, or the crock pot on ‘warm’. If it’s too spicy, add a dash of apple cider vinegar to neutralize the capsaicin (the stuff that makes peppers hot) and stir it around. Let it sit a minute and taste it again. Repeat until the heat level is right for you or until you’ve tasted all the chili and none is left. If it isn’t spicy enough, stir around that scotch bonnet and leave it simmer a little while longer, taste again.



Remove the pepper by the stem being careful to not touch the pepper itself.


That’s pretty much it, you have chili. Enjoy!

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