Brisket Chili

Brisket Chili

Winter in Ohio is pretty unpredictable. A few weeks ago, we were in the 60′s, and now we have snow on the ground. One day is calm, the next is a snow storm. It’s tough to always ben able to cook outside in some of the stuff that we get, so it’s good to make enough when we can to freeze for later.

On some of these days, soups, stews and chili really work to warm you up, so why not take great smoked meats to make any of the these? You’ll end up with a taste of outdoor cooking in your normal comfort foods in a bowl!

I took some tips form Alton Brown in making my chili, with a few of my own twists. He may not think they’re best, but I love the results!

There’s one little trick that works any time spices are used… toasting them! Before making the chili, all the ground chiles and cumin are toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat, just until there’s a toasted aroma from them. Once you do it, you’ll know what that is!

The chili actually starts with a bottle of dark/malty beer, nothing too hoppy. I use Shiner Bock when using brisket, as it just seems to work well with anything barbecue. Pouring that into a dutch oven or large pan, a chopped onion is added, along with cumin and ground chiles that were already toasted. This is all cooked down to almost all the liquid is gone. It will be all malty and spicy, and the onions will be cooked. Then fire roasted, crushed tomatoes are added, along with chipotle flakes, salt, chili powder, and brisket chunks. This all gets stirred up and simmered for a couple hours.

The chili is served up with some grated cheese and a dollop of creme fraische! Try it out; you’ll thank me!

Livefire Brisket Chili
A great use of leftover brisket
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 pounds smoked brisket, cut into chunks
  • 2 28 ounce cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer
  • 2 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp guajillo chile powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cayenne chile powder to taste (for heat)
  1. Before making the chile, add ancho and guajillo chile powder and cumin in a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until toasted (aroma will make it obvious).
  2. In a large pan or Dutch oven, add the beer, onion and toasted chiles and cumin and cook over medium high heat until the liquid is almost gone.
  3. Add chipotle flakes and cayenne, then add tomatoes, brisket, salt and chili powder.
  4. Simmer for a couple hours, then serve with grated cheddar cheese and creme fraische.

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.


  1. We’re getting some pretty nasty weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain, and then snow again) Mon-Tues so I might need to pull out some of the brisket reserves in the freezer. This dish would be perfect, Curt.
    Chris recently posted..How I Grill Veal Chops on the Kamado GrillMy Profile

    • Let me know what you think! It’s chile-heavy, but I like it that way, and it’s not the sweet stuff with beans and hamburger that’s so common in the Midwest (I don’t know about Tennessee, though).

      For a little added boost, toast some cumin seeds and add them to the creme fraiche!

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