If you’re looking for a hearty and meaty chili recipe that is great on its own or topped on a dog, then this Dutch Oven Awesome Chili is for you.
The Best Chili Recipe Ever
When I was in high school, my dad Dean and I decided we wanted to develop our own chili recipe. After many tweaks and batches, this is the recipe we settled on. You can tell I was in high school by the name I gave it…awesome!
This is a special recipe to me because I got to spend time with my Dad, one on one. As a dad now, I know this bonding experience means just as much to him as it does me.
I make this chili every Halloween; it’s now a tradition with my own family.
And this Dutch Oven Awesome Chili is award winning too.
I entered this recipe in a chili contest at work back in 2005 and won 1st place. Since then, I tease my Dad that when I make Awesome Chili, the name changes to Award Winning Awesome Chili whereas when he makes it, it’s only Awesome Chili.
No Garlic Chili Recipe
Yes, you read that correctly. There is no garlic in this recipe. Garlic and I have a very stressful relationship.
Even though garlic and I don’t get long, I will occasionally cook with it, but this recipe was developed without any and I’ve left it that way. It’s still delicious, I promise.
If you find not having garlic in chili to be against your religion, please add some. You can add 4 cloves or 2 tsp granulated garlic.
How to Make Dutch Oven Awesome Chili
First off, this is a thick and hearty chili; really chunky and less like stew.
I want to be up front so no one gets mad at me when you make this and it’s done cooking: there is not as much liquid in this recipe as in other chili recipes you might have made.
Once you have all your ingredients, including measuring out the spices, this recipe goes pretty quick-ish.
Heat the Dutch oven on medium-high and crumble in the ground beef.
Add the onions and bell peppers once the beef is in. Mix well and cook.
You don’t have to fully cook the ground beef through at this stage; it will get completely done in the process of making the recipe.
Once the beef has sufficiently browned and the onions and peppers have softened, drain off the renderings. Even thought I used 93% lean ground beef, it produced ample renderings with 3 pounds of meat.
After the renderings have been drained, it’s time to add the seasonings.
Tips for adding spices
To avoid clumping, don’t add them all at once. Put the Dutch oven back on the burner over medium heat.
Do a little dance and sing “sprinkle and stir,” “sprinkle and stir,” and “sprinkle and stir” until they’ve all been incorporated and mixed in well.
There is nothing worse than biting into a luscious piece of meat only to be greeted by a choking amount of chili powder.
Pour in the salsa then the tomatoes. I had already reduced the heat to medium but you can go to low. Tomato products hitting the hot pot can spit and HURT.
Gently fold in the kidney beans. Like your real kidneys, they’re fragile.
They will break apart if they are roughly stirred in.
Just remember how much it hurt when your brother would kidney punch you growing up…oh, he didn’t, just mine then?
Well it hurts and it hurts the beans if you’re too rough. So just hear your mom’s voice in your head, “no rough-housing” while you’re incorporating them.
Increase the heat up to medium-high, or even high and bring it to a boil. Now, I put the lid on at this stage because, well, I don’t like scrubbing my walls. The splatter is real my friends and it will make a mess.
Once this awesome chili has its boil on, reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing it to maintain a low simmer. Let it simmer away for 30 minutes or so, but stir it occasionally.
How to use up leftover Dutch Oven Awesome Chili
If you have leftover chili and want a new way to enjoy it, here are 4 ways to use it up.
- Skillet Nachos
- Potato Boats with Chili, Green Chiles, and Cheese from The Complete Savorist
- Chili Cheese Dog Skillet Bake
- Chili over Spiced Roasted Cauliflower from The Complete Savorist
Dutch Oven Awesome Chili
- 5 qt. Dutch oven or larger
- 3 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 2 bell peppers diced
- 2 tbsp chile powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups salsa
- 29 oz stewed tomatoes 2-14.5 oz cans
- 16 oz dark kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 16 oz light kidney beans drained and rinsed
- cheddar cheese shredded
- sour cream
- green onions sliced
- Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat
- Crumble in the ground beef; stir.
- Stir in the onions and bell peppers; mix well.
- Cook the beef until it has browned and the vegetables have begun to soften.
- Drain off all the renderings.
- Return to the heat and incorporate the spices while stiring.
- Add the salsa and stewed tomatoes, mix well.
- Gently fold in the kidney beans
- Bring to a boil over medium-high or high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, the chili will thicken and the liquid will be absorbed.
- Serve with any of the optional garnishes and enjoy.
This post has been updated from its original May 16, 2017 publishing with new content, clarified recipe card, and new photography.