Meat Chili

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A hearty chili with some flexibility.

This recipe was originally intended for a slow cooker, but if you intend to use a pressure cooker, see the inline notes about adjusting the recipe!


  • 1-1⁄2 to 2 pounds ground meat or chuck roast (beef, buffalo, turkey or other), cubed (sort out the fattiest pieces)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 beer (amber or brown ale preferred) -- Pressure cooker: Pour half the beer into your mouth, reserve the remainder
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups (2 16-oz cans) canned black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Optional for spicy chili: 1 tablespoon ground chipotle peppers, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • Campbell style additions:
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp brown sugar

To serve:

  • Shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • diced avocados
  • chopped scallions
  • hot sauce
  • chopped cilantro


  1. Place a half dozen of the fattiest pieces of meat into a large, heavy, hot pan, dutch oven, or your instant pot ("sautee" on high) and render the fat for a few minutes until you have a nice puddle of tallow in the pan. If your meat is lean, use a tablespoon of high smoke point oil.
  2. Brown the meat. Break up ground meat as it browns, leaving pieces as large or small as you like them. If you're using chuck roast, make sure all sides of the beef cubes are seared dark brown. Transfer the browned meat from the pot to a clean dish.
  3. In the same pot used to brown the meat, warm a teaspoon of oil (or tallow, as necessary) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the other vegetables and continue to cook until softened, another 5-8 minutes. Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then stir into the vegetables.
  4. Add the seasonings and 2 teaspoons of salt to the pan. Stir until the vegetables are coated and the spices are fragrant, another 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the beer into the hot pan. Scrape up the fond as the liquid bubbles. Continue scraping and stirring until the beer has reduced.
  6. Add the browned meat back into the pan. Slow cook/simmer the chili for 1.5-2 hours OR cook with pressure cooker on high for 30 minutes with natural release. The chili will still look soupy.
  7. Add the tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed), corn (if using) to the pot. Simmer for another 10+ minutes. Taste and add more seasonings or salt to taste.
  8. Serve with cheese and other garnishes.

Chili is often best the day after it's been cooked. It will also keep for up to a week and freezes well for up to three months.

Preparation Notes

Makes X to Y servings.

  • Total time XX minutes
    Prep time: X minutes
    Cooking time: XX-YY minutes (some overlap)
  • Try this crazy option for some result!