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Smoked Chili Con Carne

Smoked, meaty chili is best spiced with chocolate, beer, and a marvelous hunk of meat. This manly stew has it all, fire-up the Traeger, this is a hearty meal that's hot, hot, hot.

  • Difficulty3/5
  • Prep time15 mins
  • Cook time3.5 hrs
  • Serves4
  • Recommended HardwoodCherry


Ground Chuck2 lbs.
Large Onion, diced1
Red or green Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced1
Garlic, minced3 cloves
Diced Tomatoes, or diced Tomatoes with Chiles1 (15-oz.) can
Prepared Beef Bouillon or Stock2 cups, plus more as needed
Beef, Chicken, Pork, or Chipotle Bouillon Cube, preferably Knorr's brand1
Dark Beer or strong brewed Coffee1/2 cup
Canned Tomato sauce, or Paste1/2 cup or2 Tbsp. paste
Chili Powder1 1/2-2 Tbsp. , or more to taste
Ground Cumin1 Tbsp. , or more to taste
Oregano, preferably Mexican1 tsp.
Chili Beans with sauce2 (15-oz.) cans
Dark Chocolate Chips1 Tbsp.


Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with a wire grid cooling rack.

Using a rolling pin, roll the meat into a rectangle roughly the size of the cooling rack between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and use the bottom one to help you flip the meat onto the rack; remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap and discard.

Transfer the diced onion and bell pepper to a perforated vegetable grilling tray or a metal kitchen colander. Alternatively, you can poke holes in a heavy duty sheet of aluminum foil; the point is to allow smoke to circulate around the ingredients.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).

Put the baking sheet and grilling tray on the grill grate. Smoke the meat and vegetables for 1 hour.

Break the meat up into small chunks or crumbles and add to a Dutch oven along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the meat drippings. Stir in the onion and bell pepper, as well as the garlic, diced tomatoes, beef bouillon, bouillon cube, beer, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.

Increase the heat on the Traeger to 300 and cook the chili, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Stir in the chili beans, and chocolate chips. Taste for seasoning and texture, adding more prepared beef bouillon or spices if needed. If the chili is too runny, remove one to two cup and puree in a blender jar: stir back into the chili. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour more.

Serve hot in bowls with any or all of the suggested toppings.

Optional for serving: chopped fresh cilantro, grated cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream, tortilla chips, Mexican hot sauce.

  • Difficulty3/5
  • Prep time15 mins
  • Cook time3.5 hrs
  • Serves4
  • Recommended HardwoodCherry

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