You may or may not know this, but in some parts of the country, a good chili recipe is worth more than gold. But why? What about this southwestern stew, comprised of meat, beans, tomatoes, chili peppers, other spices, and pretty much anything else you can think off, makes people so crazy? Well, it’s not really something we can describe unless you’ve tasted a supreme pot of perfect chili, and it’s also not something that comes without training or practice. Making award-winning chili requires patience, ingenuity, and a certain level of culinary acumen that takes years to master.
But don’t let that deter you—learning is all part of the experience. If you want to hop on the chili train but don’t know which of the many chili recipes to start with, here are 7 award-winning chili recipes you can experiment with at home:
This award-winning recipe includes everything from red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, green peppers, yellow onions, six whole cloves of minced garlic, strong coffee (Yes, we said coffee), and no less than five whole pounds of brisket. That list of ingredients alone is enough to get us salivating. While it’s only a half cup of coffee, it’s added near the end (in the last hour of cooking), which opens up a whole other world of flavor for this recipe. Link
Holy Mole Chili Con Carne
What sets this recipe apart from the rest is that it uses a whole bar of 70 percent dark chocolate and a few tablespoons of cocoa chili powder into the mix. It might not sound too tantalizing at first, but the chocolate doesn’t sweeten it up majorly, but instead, adds a wonderful dimension of rich flavor, and slightly accentuates the heat of the chilis. Coupled with red pepper flakes, ground cumin, and a dash of coriander, this chili is punchy where it counts, but never gets too “violent.” Link
Boilermaker Tailgate Chili
Not that we need to tell all of you, but if we could, we’d put beer in all of our food. We are, after all, the guys who put beer in our office Keurig… We love this recipe because it combines all of our favorite things: Lots of meat (ground chuck and Italian sausage in this baby!), Tabasco, beer, and chili powder (and a ton of other stuff, obviously), and mixes it all together in one beautiful crockpot. It’s one of the most popular chili recipes on the whole damn Internet, and for good reason. Our only adjustment? Toss the whole bottle of beer in there; not just a half-cup. Link
Vegetarian Chili with Quinoa
Listen… Before you jump down our throats about how “award-winning” and “vegetarian” should never be included in the same sentence, we want you to know that we agree with you… Ordinarily. But this award-winning recipe from Mountain Mama Cooks includes everything from white onion and carrots, to mushrooms, corn (probably the most underrated chili ingredient ever), and even zucchini. And for a bunch of dudes who wrote an article on the best bacon recipes, you can bet your ass that if we’re including in on this list, it’s damn good. Give the lentils a chance, OK?! Link
Award-Winning Texas Chili
Here’s a fun fact: Texans take their chili pretty seriously. And here’s another fun fact: If you bring a chili with beans in it to a Texas cookout, they’ll make you sit at the kids table for the rest of your idiot life. Real-deal Texas chili should never, ever, ever have beans in it. This traditional and exceptionally tasty Texas stew leaves out most of the “fillers” (like beans, onions, and chopped pepper) and includes only the stuff we care about: Meat, meat, and more meat. This recipe features nearly three pounds, to be exact. We also love the interesting seasoning choice of Sazon (a spice absent in most “traditional Caucasian cooking”), as well as the use of two distinct chili powders. And as noted in the comments, if you’re looking for a little less heat, omitting the cayenne won’t hurt this recipe in the least. Link
Bill’s Award-Winning Turkey Chili
How the hell could we put a list of delicious chili together without including a recipe for the turkey lovers in the room? Before you turn your nose up at it, it’s important to understand that turkey chili, in its own right, brings an incredibly unique flavor to the table—one that we’re actually huge fans of. This one only won Bill first prize at the office chili cookout, but hot damn if it isn’t one of the best recipes we’ve ever come across. The semi-sweet chocolate is definitely a nice touch, too! Link
We spent a lot of time putting together this list of our favorite chilis, and we wanted to finish out our list with one that doesn’t have any crazy ingredients like booze or chocolate, but is just an overall, 100-percent rock solid chili. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Flatlander. Old fashioned down to the two solid pounds of ground beef, garlic powder, and basic drained and rinsed red beans, if you’re looking for a wholesome, delicious, and award-winning starter chili, this is the one right here.
Grab some cornbread, grate some cheddar, and pop open a cold one—it’s time to eat! Link