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Simple Cheater’s Chili

This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Cheater’s Chili (2007). It’s one of my favorites.


  • 1 pound cubed chuck or stew beef
  • 1 pound cubed pork (preferably slightly fatty)
  • 2 bottles of beer*
  • 3 jars of your favorite salsa
  • 2-3 handfuls tortilla chips to start
  • 1-2 chipotle chiles, minced plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (optional as this makes it really spicy)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Sour cream (I use tofutti non-dairy sour cream), shredded cheese, chopped green onions and Fritos.

*I use gluten-free beer (Redbridge for light beer, Bards Tale-dark beer)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large, oven proof pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Get the pan good and hot. Season the meat with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Brown the meat in batches, removing from pan when seared, brown and crusty on the outside. Watch for splattering! Be careful not to crowd the pan or else you won’t get a good sear.

When all the meat is seared and removed, add 1.5 bottles of beer straight into the pot and start scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the chili powder, cumin, salsa, and meat. Stir well. Add 2-3 handfuls of tortilla chips and crush them up. Give the entire mixture a couple of big stirs. The chips will be used to thicken as it bakes.

Cover with a lid or foil and put in the oven for about 4 hours. Check once per hour, stir, and adjust liquid levels with extra beer and add lots more crushed chips to thicken.

Remove from oven and serve hot in bowls with green onions, cheese, sour cream, and Fritos.

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