Beer Chili Recipe

Chili is one of those classic American meals that you just can’t seem to get away from. If you ask family, friends, or colleagues about it, you’ll most likely find someone who has a family chili recipe, or who’s mom ‘made the best chili around.’

In my house, ever since my mom found a great chili recipe of her own, it has been a family staple. It’s the perfect comfort food to warm you up after a cold winter day. It’s also a great flavorful, aromatic meal for a relaxing summer evening.

You get the picture. Chili is a meal for any season of the year.

So, how can you make your own bowl of chili, and how can you make it stand out from the crowd? Of course the best way to do this is to simply make an amazingly tasty bowl of chili. In addition to that, having a gimmick wouldn’t hurt.

What is Beer Chili?

Beer chili is pretty straightforward. Rather than using more tomato paste or water to give the chili its slightly runny texture, you can use a can of beer instead. Telling your dinner guests that your chili is made with beer might come as a shock to them, and may even make them wary to try it.

However, there are reasons why beer just goes great in chili, and why chili made with beer might actually taste better than chili made without it.

It’s a pretty widespread fact that drinking tomato juice when you’re drunk will actually help you de-buzz. That’s similar to what happens when you combine alcohol and tomato products in this chili. The reaction between the tomatoes and the alcohol will bring out underlying tomato flavors that you don’t normally get to taste, while also detoxifying the beer.

Also, the hops from the beer will react with the chili and actually add a slight bitterness, that in turn brings out the sweetness of the other ingredients.

So, whether or not you think that these are convincing reasons for using beer in your chili, you have to admit that it’s still a great way to bring chili to the next level.

Beer Chili Recipe

Chili is one of those meals that allows you to get creative and customizable when making it. The amount and type of spices and herbs you use is ultimately up to you. However, using a recipe as an outline is a good way to go.

Make sure to taste the chili as you go so you know what flavors your chili still needs.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground meat of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of tomato puree
  • 8-10 ounces of pinto beans
  • 1 can of FRIO beer plus more, if needed
  • Water, if needed
For toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapenos
  • and/or chives
TIME: About 1 hour

Step 1 - Put the olive oil, onion, peppers, and garlic into a pot on the stove over high heat and saute until just beginning to brown.

Step 2 - Once the vegetables are starting to brown and turn soft, put the ground beef or meat of your choice into the same pot, as well as the salt. As the meat browns, break it into small pieces and mix it around with a wooden spoon or spatula. This will take about 10 minutes.

Step 3 - Now, pour in all your spices and mix well. Let this cook for about 3 minutes.

Step 4 - Finally, the step we’ve all been waiting for. Get your can of beer and pour it right into the pot. Mix it well.

Step 5 - Add in the tomato puree, mix well. Then add in the beans. If you think the chili is too thick, add in some liquid. Start with ½ cup of water, and if you still need the chili to be more runny, add in ½ cup of beer. Switch back and forth between beer and water for every additional ½ cup liquid you need. Remember, as the chili cooks, liquid will evaporate. So, you can be a bit generous.

Step 6 - Let your chili simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Taste it every 10 minutes and see if there are any missing flavors. Now is the time to add in any more spices you think might be necessary.

Step 7 - Serve it up and add your toppings.

There you have it -- delicious beer chili. While this chili may raise a few eyebrows when you tell your guests what’s in it, the second they take a bite, they’ll be sorry they ever doubted you. This meal is sure to become a family favorite. It’s flavorful and easy to make. What’s not to love?
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