A Chili Cook-off: Beefy Beer Chili

Happy March! I can almost see the end of winter… almost.  Lets step back to last week for a second.  February.  Usually when people think February, they think Valentines Day (or, if you live where I live, “Holy crap how is it still winter? I am SO over this BS, I can’t believe I have to endure another three months of this!”).  However, if you are part of the mining group at the company I work for, you think “Annual Mining Group Chili Cook-off”.  And of course, being the Kitchen Queen that I am, I decided to submit a chili (plus I REALLY wanted to knock my co-worker Jon of the podium – as things stood he was a three time winner and this year would be his third time in a row as the Chili Cook-off Champ.  Now, let me just remind everyone that I have only ever made one chili in my entire life – my healthy Seven Bean Chili – which unfortunately placed second to last at last year’s chili cook-off.  It’s actually one of my favourite things to eat…. but apparently not everyone agreed.  I wasn’t going to let my chili come even close to last this year. Nope, not mine.  My chili was going to freaking DOMINATE all the other pathetic wannabe chilies.  I was going to massacre.  Clean house.  Annihilate the competition.  Those chilies would want to BE my chili.  My Chili was going to make the competition it’s bitch.  They didn’t stand a chance.  I researched for weeks* (*I actually only googled the day before).  I found a few unbeatable recipes, and then combined them to make one SUPER UNBEATABLE chili.  I slaved all night to get it right* (*that’s actually not true, I literally just threw all the ingredients in my slow cooker, set it to low and then pressed go…. but I’m just trying to make the story more interesting).  I knew I had it in the bag.  There is NO WAY it could be stopped.  Step 1: Win chili cook-off; Step 2: WORLD DOMINATION. Muhahaahahahah.

photo 2It was noon. Lunch room.  With bated breath, my fellow comrades and I patiently awaited as our co-workers dug into slow cooker after slow cooker, tasting each chili carefully.   I knew I would be victorious.  The votes were tallied, and I held onto my breath while the winners were announced* (*I actually did the tallying so I knew right away what the results were).  I unfortunately did not win, first, second, or even third.  Again, Kelsey’s chili, that she worked SO hard on, came next to last.  My co-worker Jon won for the fourth time, his third in a row, and I was left in the dust, cradling my slow cooker in the corner.  But in all seriousness my chili was no match for the others.  I’m a total rookie.  The taste was there, it just wasn’t good enough.  Heck my chili wasn’t even in MY top three, and the second I tasted it I knew that the coveted Chili Cook-off Trophy, the Cameron Cup, would not be mine this year.  Until we meet again Jon! Which, like is everyday, since we work together, so, I say, UNTIL OUR CHILIES MEET AGAIN JON!

photo 4

The Cameron Cup

photo 5

Four Time Chili Cook-off Winner

Now, say what you want about my chili, but it actually was pretty good.  It just needed a little more spice I think.  My secret ingredient was beer, and it gave the chili a very interesting flavour.  I think it was missing some sweet, so next time I will add a few tbsp of brown sugar to add to the taste a little bit.

Beefy Beer Chili


  • 3 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 19 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of green chilies
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, diced, seeds in
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of beer
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tbsp (or more) red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

  1. Brown beef in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Doing this in bunches may help, since 3 lbs of beef is actually quite a bit of meat.
  2. While the beef is browning, combine tomatoes and paste to the slow cooker.  Add the beans, green chilies, onion and garlic, and all the spices.  Add beer and beef.  Mix all the ingredients together to insure they are evenly combined.  Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.

photo 1

Pretty easy right?  Again, I recommend adding some brown sugar to the pot (2 tbsp should do) and adding more red pepper flakes.  My dad actually recommended cooking the beer with the beef, and said that more alcohol would be burned off, making the chili taste less like beer.  Next year I vow to make a prize-winning chili, but as of now, I will have to live with my fifth place recipe.  Here’s to next year!

I actually love eating chili in the winter and fall, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is great considering we hit temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius this winter. Eek!  Be that as it may, I’ve tried to be a good sport.  Ken and I have visited camp a few times this winter, on weekends where it actually warmed up – which is lucky since we only have a wood stove to warm us up.  And of course there’s a sauna.  I wasn’t brave enough to cut a hole in the ice this year but I did just in the snow with nothing buy a towel and my bravery. Of course I immediately regretted it – nothing a little steam and a few shots of Amaretto can’t fix 😉 Happy Baking!