Dutch Oven Brisket Chili with my Secret Ingredient

OK, truth be told, I have two secret ingredients for my chili. Well, after this post, one of them will still be secret. The second one I’m sharing with the world. Why? Because we all need a leg up on the chili competition. Everyone thinks they make the best chili. Usually because we make it for crowds and everyone, after having a free bowl of chili, lauds us with how great the chili is. But we know, in our heart of hearts, that our chili is indeed the best chili and it’s because of the care we take in protecting the secret we slide in when no one is looking. And no, that secret ingredient is not love, or chocolate, or a cup of bourbon (even tho all of those things make fine additions to any pot of this reddish brown deliciousness). No, my secret ingredient is how I cook the meat.

Does chili have beans in it?

Also, let’s talk about chili in general. It’s not rocket surgery. It’s meat, tomato sauce, beans and chili powder. Yes, chili has beans in it. It was invented in the northern regions of Mexico and it most definitely had beans. If you don’t like beans in chili, great, skip the beans. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong or that I am wrong for wanting beans in mine. It means you like it a different way which is perfectly OK, just don’t argue about it. Only an idiot would argue that the way he prefers to eat something is some how superior over someone else’s preference. Unless of course you like a well done steak. In that case you deserve the ridicule. JK. I don’t care. So this is a pretty basic recipe, but with a few tricks to make it better than most. Use the tricks and tips on your recipe if you like. And always make brisket chili if you can. It’s head and shoulders above ground beef.

Dutch Oven Brisket Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, rough chopped, with a few slices reserved
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2.5 pounds of leftover brisket, cubed into big chunks
  • 30 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 packet of premade chili mix
  • The reserved onion sliced razor thin
  • 6 oz thick Worcestershire Sauce, divided (not the thin watery stuff. Sub BBQ sauce if you can’t find it)
  • 15 oz dark red kidney beans. drained
  • 15 oz black beans, drained
  • 15 oz white  kidney/cannellini beans (sub navy beans), drained
  • 1 small can or tube of tomato paste to thicken (optional)

Brisket Chili

How to make dutch oven chili with brisket

Let’s start off with portions here. Most of you go by whatever the back of that little packet of premade chili sauce. Which is 1 lb of ground beef. I like my chili meaty. Sorry. I like my chili MEATY! Like I can’t stress it enough how meaty I like my chili. I need that guy who narrates the Arby’s commercials or maybe James Earl Jones to say it in their rich baritone voices to give it justice. You can hear them in your head right now, can’t you?!?!

Go with multiple types of beans

I also don’t like to go light on the beans, nor do I like to stick to one variety of beans. Get creative. Go with some different colors and kinds. There’s no wrong answer here. I go with dark red kidney beans, black beans and white beans. More beans means thicker chili, just make sure to drain them. We want the beans and not the sauce. 

Start by dropping the dutch oven into a nest of hot coals with the coals a few inches away from the outer edge of the cast iron pot. At first I put the pot right in the coals. I poured some oil in there, turned my back to chop the brisket and the oil burst into flames. I’ll show the coal arrangement and a little about fire management in a minute. For this cook, I used the Hooray Grill:

What is the best cut of meat to use for chili?

Hands down, it is brisket. I’m not talking raw cubed raw brisket. I’m talking slow smoked brisket with a good bark. There are two ways to obtain this brisket. One is to make brisket and make enough to have a bunch left over for chili. I know some of you are wondering what this mythical beast is called, “leftover brisket.” I know, I know. It’s about is rare as unicorn meat. The other is to go to a local BBQ joint and buy a couple pounds. For this recipe, truth be told, this is not my brisket. I went to a friend’s BBQ restaurant (Called SugarFire)and ordered a chunk of brisket. 2.5 pounds to be exact and I chunked it up:

The brisket needs no seasoning. It was already seasoned when it was cooked. 

Cast iron dutch oven chili is the only way to go!

Once the cast iron dutch oven gets to around 350 go ahead and add the oil:

And then add the onion:

Tip #1:. Pour the meat on top of the onion. 

Tip 2: Add 4 ounces of the 6 ounces of thick Worcestershire Sauce (sub your favorite barbecue sauce if you can’t find any thick Worcestershire) and close the lid:

Brisket Chili

Let the onion steam up through the beef and let the Worcestershire or barbecue sauce infuse into the fibers of the brisket. I call it the White Castle or Krystal effect (depending on your region). It hyper infuses the onion and sauce flavor into the brisket. Do this if you go with hamburger or cubed pork loin, or sirloin or whatever.

Once the meat is warmed up and the onion is translucent, drop in the tomato sauce:

Brisket Chili

And here you can see the fire management. The hot coals are a few inches away from the pot:

Brisket Chili

Pay attention to that fire. Leave the coals too close and we no longer have slow cooked dutch oven chili, we have scorched chili. Also, let the fire die and it will be hours before that chili is done. Every so often, you will need to add a handful of coals here and there. When, and how much is totally a feel thing. I suggest some nitrile gloves because doing this with lump charcoal and tongs is not easy. 

Tip #3: Now that onion I reserved from the stuff I rough chopped I’m going to slice razor thin:

If you can’t see the knife blade through the onion, you are slicing it too thick:

Then finely mince that down to practically nothing. We want that onion to melt into the sauce. So add about 1/4 cup of finely, finely minced onion and the chili powder into the cast iron dutch oven chili:

Brisket Chili

Now stir it in:

Brisket Chili

Let that cook for a couple hours and thicken up, concentrating those flavors.

Tip #4: Drain the beans completely:

And not just drain, but pour them into a colander and rinse all the sauce off. We want the brisket and the beans to be the show here. If we dump in all the sauce from the beans then the sauce that is in and around the brisket and beans will be the star. That’s not my goal. I want to go subtle on seasoning because I’m using great ingredients. If I were using boring hamburger I would need the sauce to shine. But already cooked brisket is magical by itself. Let it shine. 

Brisket Chili

Since I was doing a photo shoot, I poured all my beans in at once. If I were making this for my family (rather than a camera), I would only pour in the kidney and black beans right now. The white beans are softer and can turn to mush if allowed to simmer too long. Which brings us to:

Tip #5: Reserve the white beans until about 30 minutes before serving. Allow the red and black beans to simmer in the sauce but add the white beans at the end. 

Finally, add the remaining 2 ounces of Worcestershire or BBQ sauce and stir it through.

Now just let it simmer with the lid cocked off to the side to allow water vapor to escape, and let the dutch oven chili over fire thicken:

Brisket Chili

For me, I do not want my chili soupy. That’s bean soup with meat added. It should mound on a spoon like this:

Brisket Chili

 

Brisket Chili

If you need to serve your chili and it hasn’t cooked down enough, add some of that tomato paste in. It will help. 

I didn’t list any accoutrements for adding to the chili after it’s served. You know better what you and your crew like. I added some rings of baby bell peppers for some color and some crunch. A little sour cream, shredded cheese (not the stuff from the package but shredded myself), green onions, some oyster crackers and a little more W Sauce for everyone. And for me personally, a little hot sauce. 

And if you have a soup crock, that always helps in presentation:

Brisket Chili

So if you want to take your chili to the next level and keep that improvement to yourself, steam that meat with some onion and either Worcestershire or barbecue sauce.

OK, to sum up, here are my tips:

Tip #1:. Pour the meat on top of the onion and close the lid. Let the onion steam up through the brisket (or whatever meat you use).

Tip #2: Add Worcestershire or BBQ sauce

Tip #3: Slice some onion razor thin so it melts into the chili.

Tip #4: Drain the beans and rinse them

Tip #5: Reserve the white beans until about 30 minutes before serving.

You can do this recipe word for word, step by step and it will make great chili. But maybe you have a killer recipe already and you want to adapt a couple of these tips/tricks to your method. Either way works. I hope you learned at least one new trick/tip today.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook pageInstagram, and YouTube feeds

Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote

Dutch Oven Brisket Chili with my Secret Ingredient

Dutch Oven Brisket Chili cooked over open fire and infused with my secret ingredient.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion rough chopped, with a few slices reserved and sliced razor thin
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2.5 lb leftover brisket cubed into big chunks
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 packet premade chili mix
  • 6 oz W Sauce American's Worcestershire Sauce, divided
  • 15 oz dark red kidney beans drained
  • 15 oz black beans drained
  • 15 oz white kidney/cannellini beans drained (sub navy beans)
  • tomato paste to thicken (optional)

Instructions

  • Set the Dutch Oven near the coals and get the pot above 350 but no higher than 400
  • Drizzle the oil in and then layer the bottom of the pan with the onion
  • Then top with the brisket and 4 ounces of the W Sauce and close the lid and let the onions and W sauce steam the beef
  • Once the onion is translucent and the brisket has warmed up, add the tomato sauce and stir it through
  • Slice the reserved onion razor thin and then finely mince and add to the dutch oven along with the chili powder packet
  • Set the lid on top a bit askew to allow the steam to escape
  • Drain the liquid off the beans and add the red kidney and black beans and stir them through
  • Add the the remaining W sauce and blend completely
  • About 30 minutes before serving, add the white kidney beans and mix them in, closing the lid but leaving a gap for the steam to escape
  • Once the chili has thickened, serve with whatever accoutrements you wish

And here are some more pics that didn’t make the recipe but are pretty enough for Pinterest!

 

 

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

Latest posts by Scott Thomas (see all)

3 comments

4 stars
Just made the Chili. Added a bottle of Schaffley’s Oatmeal Stout and was very good. Brisket came from Bandana’s

Reply

Mark,

When I add a beer to chili, it is almost always a stout. It just pairs so perfectly with the flavor profile of chili. Excellent choice and addition!

Seems mouth-watering, will definitely give it a try.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating