Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

There are days when you wake up feeling like a true, creative original.   When these days strike, nothing you do seems derivative or reeks of cliché.  You are inspired!  You wake up to start your day by putting together an outfit for yourself that has that certain je nes c’est quoi communicating the one-of-a-kind energy you know you radiate.   That fantastic tune you hum while shaving won’t even be anything you have heard before. You’re making it up as you go!  Could a Grammy be in my future?   And, as you post away on Facebook and Twitter you won’t even have to rely on Rumi or Oscar Wilde for the oh-so-clever yet drippingly poignant bon mots you post on your wall.   There will be no retweeting for you today!
Should you be lucky enough to be at the farmer’s market on one of these originality days you can’t help but  be inspired to create all manner of unique flavor combinations with the new and obtuse vegetables nobody else has even heard of.   Watermelon radishes?  Fingerlimes? Can I put bacon on or in it?  You won’t even see the man selling Kale and you certainly won’t be tempted to dump everything you find onto an artisan pizza or toss it with some variety of infant lettuce picked before it has had a chance at a full life. That would be just  too cliché for you and jumping on a food fad just isn’t for you.  Not today anyway.

Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

Today, however, I wasn’t having one of these days.

Nope.  Instead I awoke on this cold rainy morning  and the first thing I thought was “today is a good day to make plain old chili.”

And I will blog about it even though I also understand that the internet needs another chili recipe like YouTube needs another cat video or my kitchen needs another piece of All Clad.  (This casserole/brasier does looks pretty tempting!)    If you Google “chili recipe” you will get over 30 million hits.  Take your pick as I will bet you most of them are quite good and more than few of them could even be considered great.   Some may even be unique although this is an adjective I wasn’t really looking for when I decided to make chili today.  This version, I have to say, may not be unique but it is pretty damn good.

No matter. All of the adjectives I had set out to use to describe this particular chili sounded pretty cliché once I put them into sentences. It is spicy, but not too spicy.  Its multiple ingredients all simmer for hours to become one mighty fine entree, serving up both a discernible complexity and a singularity of depth.  (Ha!) This is, after all, what a good chili is supposed to do, right?  All while being, um, tomatoey.  And yes, the house does smell amazing while it cooks on the stove for hours.  Just seeing it here on the blog I could lick my screen.  

I was thinking of titling this post “Texas Red Chili with Beans” because I do think it fun to see Texans foam at the mouth when you deign to suggest that chili should have beans in it.  And I giggled with glee reading the fallout from The Barefoot Contessa featuring Devon Frederick’s “award winning” Tex Mex Chili which not only containing not only 2 cans of kidney beans but also uses basil instead of cilantro.     (Where does Ina go from here? Manhattan Clam Chowder with cream?)

Nonetheless, Texans inflicted Rick Perry on us for a few months recently so I think it only deserved that we get to question their judgement on other matters as well. We can put some beans in our chili if we want to Rick!  So, reluctantly I decided not to go there with this post as even now,this discussion seems, yes, cliché.  

Cliche or not this chili is fantastic.  The recipe comes from my most recent cookbook acquisition “Two Dudes One Pan”.  The book itself is not new but the recipes therein are timeless (this means cliché but in a nicer said way) and their preparation, being limited to one pan, is certainly appealing to moi.  It’s very rare that I thumb through a cookbook where just about every recipe calls out to my personal cooking aesthetic so you will be seeing more from it here soon...when I’m not having one of those days.

Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans
Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

"Big Red" Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

Adapted from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s “Two Dudes One Pan

This is what you will need:

  • 8 oz. bacon cut into lardons 1/2? wide
  • 1 pound beef brisket, cubed into 1? pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed with the flat of a knife
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1.5 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes with liquid
  • 3 14 oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup (less 4 tablespoons) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (optional)

This is how you make it:

  1. Heat a large, heavy Dutch oven or enameled pot over medium-high heat for a few minutes and then add the bacon and stir frequently until bacon is crisp, between 8 and 10 minutes.
  2. When done, use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  4. Add the brisket cubes to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until all sides are browned.
  5. Add the copped onions, garlic, and salt and cook until the onions are soft (5 minutes).
  6. Add the ground beef and stir until the meat is browned (5 minutes).
  7. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break up into small pieces with your fingers making sure to break them into small pieces.
  8. Add tomatoes, 1 cup of water, the remaining salt, and the remaining chili ingredients into the pot.
  9. Stir and bring to a very low simmer and cook until the brisket falls apart and the chili has come together thick, about 3.5 hours.
  10. Then simmer at even a lower temperature for another 30 minutes!


Top with the usual non cliche toppings like sour cream, onions, and sharp cheddar. Don't apologize for serving them with some cliche saltines. There is a reason every greasy spoon diner in the United States with a chili specialty does this. Even in Texas.
Big Red Chili with Brisket and Pinto Beans

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. What’s great is that you had an empty pot left!

  2. Yeah, I can relate…every time I add to the number of brownie recipes on line! I’m always delighted to see another chili recipe…especially from a blogger with such an exquisite palate 🙂

    PS…I passed on a blogger award to you on my Friday post~

  3. Well, my dear, because you made it, it still feels fresh and original to me!! One imagines that if Rick Perry were to read this post he would go on a campaign to eradicate impure chili: “Beans are an abomination!” all the while secretly gorging on the stuff in his hotel room – perhaps even bathing in it. Take pride in its deliciousness!!

  4. Ah Trevor, they also inflicted us with Ron Paul. Perhaps they deserve a second chili recipe featuring both beans AND chicken for that offense…
    This chili recipe has what all of the rest lack – a healthy dose of clever wit.

  5. I am not one that likes to sweat when I eat spicy food so finding a chili recipe that lands on middle ground when it comes to spice can be very limiting. Your chili does fit my tastes on the middle ground.
    Not a fan of Rick Perry and I am from Texas. Some of his ideas really make you think he is so much not Texan.

  6. That was no hipster that groan was a growl and it was my tummy. GREG

  7. Oh yum! There is nothing better than a comforting bowl of a good hearty chili, and I love that you used brisket. Great recipe!