A few years back I headed up to Blocksburg, CA for the 4th of July Chili Cook-Off taking place at the community center. In that a lot of the contestants had either eaten or had heard about my chili, I was told I couldn't enter mine (as they thought I'd be a shoe-in to win). Instead, they let me be one of the judges. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

I've found that to make a really good chili, you need to build up the spices.

For 8


1 # Italian Hot Sausage (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1# Hamburger
1 Red Onion (loosely chopped)
10 Cloves Garlic (loosely diced)
1 (2 inch) Cerrano Pepper (finely diced)
2 (15½ oz.) Cans Dark Kidney Beans
1 Red Pepper (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 Green Pepper (cut into 1 inch pieces)
½ Bottle of Budweiser
2 (28 oz.) Cans Peeled Plum Tomatoes (drained and loosely chopped)
1 Cup Tomato Juice
4 T Olive Oil
2 T Oregano
2½ T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
½ T Basil
Red Pepper Flakes
3 t Cayenne Pepper
8 dashes Crystal Hot Sauce or Tabasco
2 t Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (I use Maille)
Monterey (or Pepper) Jack Cheese (for garnish)


In a stock pot, brown the hamburger, sausage, garlic, cerrano pepper, and onions with the olive oil, 1 T oregano, ½ T chili powder, ½ T cumin, 1 t cayenne pepper, a dash of salt, a liberal amount of black pepper, and a dusting of red pepper flakes over high heat for approximately 25 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Drain the kidney beans and rinse. Add to the stock pot and reduce the heat to medium-low, continuing to stir, for another 20 minutes.

Bring the heat back up to high and add the green and red peppers, mixing and stirring for 5 minutes. Pour half a bottle of Budweiser in and simmer for 10 minutes, reducing the heat to medium.

Mix in the tomatoes, and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of tomato juice and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Now it's time to bring the flavor back. Add your remaining spices: 1 T oregano, 2 T chili powder, ½ T cumin, ½ T basil, 2 t cayenne, and mix in. Add the Crystal Hot Sauce, and the 2 t of mustard, and allow to simmer on low heat for a good hour, stirring occasionally.

Grated Jack cheese goes well over the top.

Chili, like gumbo, always tastes better the next day.

Good Prepping & Dining Music

Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture

Kid Rock

The Derailers
Here Come the Derailers

Black Crowes
Shake Your Money Maker