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Texas-style Smoked Chili (adapted from Johnny Trigg’s recipe)
  • prep: 30 min
  • cook: 4 hr
  • total: 4 hr 30 min
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  • servings:
  • Summary

    Chili is good all year round but it’s especially comforting during the chilly winter months. Pair it with some crusty bread or SYD cornbread, it makes a complete meal. You can amp the heat up or down, and the spices up or down depending on your mood. I like chili that’s plain and simple. I don’t add beans, chopped onions as a garnish, shredded cheese, nor sour cream. Of all the chili recipes I’ve tried, one of the best that I like is the one that Johnny Trigg made during Season One of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Johnny cooked a big pot of chili with about 20 lbs of ground chuck and it was served during the dinner scene in the Season Finale episode eight.TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters – Cast from Season One 2010 We actually ate dinner in the scene where Johnny challenged all the pitmasters to a winner-take-all rib throwdown. Paul Peterson who was also on the show was a trained chef and he made some awesome enchiladas with Pico de Gallo but it was Johnny’s chili that was memorable for me. His chili is mild and very enjoyable and you can eat a lot of it without getting heartburn. When I told Trish, Johnny’s wife (all of us called her Mom on the show) that I liked Johnny’s chili, she was so kind to send me a handwritten recipe for Johnny’s Texas style chili with no beans. I’ve since adapted Johnny’s recipe to suit my tastes and cooking style. For example, I like to smoke my chili in a cast iron pot on the pit to give it a smoky flair and I make it much spicier. I also use the spice dunk approach (see recipe) that is common among competition chili cooks to get maximum flavor before eating. I also add a piece of old cheese to enhance the flavor and give it a smooth luxurious texture. It’s thick and can be eaten with a fork and goes well on top of a hotdog! I like to make it the day before to let it rest in the fridge for at least a day before I reheat and serve it.


    • 5 lbs ground chuck or ground beef with 25% fat
    • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
    • 1 big onion, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
    • 2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
    • 2 six-oz cans tomato paste
    • 4 oz of old cheese (I used an old block of Parmigiano-Reggiano I had in the fridge. A block of sharp cheddar or cheddar also works well)
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 beef bouillon cubes Knorr brand
    • ½ tsp cayenne powder (more or less to your taste)
    • SYD Hot Rub to taste
    • Chili spice dunk (use more or less to your taste)
    • 3 heaping tablespoons mild chili powder
    • 2 heaping tablespoons paprika
    • 2 heaping tablespoons ground cumin


    Click Here For Step-By-Step Instructions




    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 6
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 659 % Daily Value *
    • Total Fat: 29 g 44.81%
    • Saturated Fat: 11 g 55.15%
    • Trans Fat: 0 g %
    • Cholesterol: 218 mg 72.67%
    • Sodium: 1035 mg 43.15%
    • Calcium: 203 mg 20.29%
    • Potassium: 336 mg 9.6%
    • Magnesium: 0 mg 0%
    • Iron: 10 mg 54.97%
    • Zinc: 0 mg 0%
    • Total Carbohydrate: 22 g %
    • Dietary Fiber: 5 g 18.33%
    • Sugar: 11 g
    • Protein: 81 g
    • Alcohol: 0 g
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acid: 1 g
    • Omega 6 Fatty Acid: 2 g
    • Vitamin A 64.25%
    • Vitamin C 42.77%
    • Vitamin D 1.13%
    • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Diabetes Exchanges
    • Exchange - Fat2
    • Exchange - Fruit0
    • Exchange - NonFat Milk0
    • Exchange - Other Carbs0
    • Exchange - Starch0
    • Exchange - Vegetables3
    • Exchange - Lean Meat11
    • Exchange - Alcohol0
    MyPlate Info
    • MyPlate - Grain Total0 oz-eq
    • MyPlate - Vegetable Total1 c
    • MyPlate - Fruit0 c
    • MyPlate - Dairy0 c
    • MyPlate - Protein Total10 oz-eq