Get ready to elevate your Game Day experience with mouth-watering Brisket Chili! Chunks of brisket simmered with a blend of robust spices and hickory smoked bacon create a rich and flavorful chili that's sure to score big with your guests. Serve it with your favorite toppings for a touchdown-worthy meal that will have everyone asking for seconds.
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What Makes Brisket Chili So Good?
With so many so-so chili recipes and more than a few terrible ones out there, trying a new recipe can seem like a risk, especially with beef prices these days. It is enough to make folks stick with tried and true recipes.
But then they'd miss out on this delicious no-bean Brisket Chili recipe with classic seasonings and just enough twists to surprise your taste buds without turning chili-making into an all-day affair.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Today, brisket is highly sought-after, but that wasn't always the case. This recipe takes inspiration from traditional chilis by using cubed brisket. The large cubes of brisket give this chili a stew-like texture and rich beefiness that ground chuck can't match.
And while brisket is a tough cut of meat, cutting it into cubes and slow-simmering it make it tender and flavorful.
The hickory-smoked bacon and the chipotle chile powder lend a distinct smokiness to the dish without needing a smoker or adding artificial liquid smoke to the recipe. Anyone looking for bold and authentic flavors won't be able to pass this one up.
It's the best chili recipe with brisket and is sure to be an all-time favorite.
Beef Brisket Chili Ingredients
For Texas Beef Brisket, you'll need:
- Brisket, use the flat only
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Onion powder
- Hickory-smoked bacon
- White onion
- Sweet paprika
- Smoked paprika
- Chili powder
- Chipotle chile powder
- Chicken broth
- Tomato puree
What's the Difference Between a Point and a Flat Piece of Brisket
Two separate muscles make up a whole brisket. The flat, often called the 'first cut,' is much leaner than the point, also dubbed the 'second cut' or 'deckle.' Since the flat portion of the brisket has a lower fat content than the point, it's prone to drying out but is well-suited for stews, chilies, and other wet-cooking methods.
How to Make Texas Brisket Chili
To prepare the Brisket Chili:
- Cut the brisket into quarter-inch cubes and spread them on a rimmed baking tray.
- Sprinkle the cubed beef with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and onion powder. Use your hands to mix the meat and distribute the seasonings evenly.
- Cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and set aside for later.
- Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- While the pot is warming up, dice the hickory-smoked bacon into small pieces. Crisp the bacon in the pot while stirring frequently to prevent it burning.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate. Leave behind as much bacon grease as possible.
- In small batches, sear all sides of the brisket cubes. Transfer the seared beef to the plate with the cooked bacon. If you run out of bacon grease, add some vegetable oil.
- While the beef is searing, finely chop the white onion, mince the garlic, and reserve both.
- After searing all the brisket, add the white onions to the hot pan. Cook until the onions become translucent, then add the minced garlic and all the spices. Cook for about a minute more until the spices become fragrant.
- Return the seared beef and crisp bacon to the pot.
- Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock and use a wooden spatula to scrape any fond from the bottom.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for two to three hours or until the brisket is fall-apart tender. Check the pot occasionally, stir, and add chicken stock or water if necessary.
- Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Beef Chili Recipe Variations
The easiest way to make this Texas Brisket recipe your own is by sprinkling on your favorite toppings, including chopped green onions, rough-cut cilantro, charred corn, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, or pickled jalapeno slices. A squeeze of lime will add a touch of bright citrus flavors.
A few other ways to customize the chili are:
- Replace some or all of the chicken stock. Beef broth or stock and beer are excellent options.
- Throw in some beans. A can or two of pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans makes the chili more filling and thickens the liquid.
- Add some chilis. Ancho chiles, green chiles, and chipotle peppers are good ones.
- Use burnt ends. Cube smoked burnt ends and use them instead of some or all of the seared brisket.
What to Serve With Beef Brisket Chili
In addition to the garnishes listed in the section above, here are a few traditional sides that go wonderfully with real Texas-style chili:
- Cornbread. You can't get more traditional than cornbread. Whether you cook old-school cornbread or choose a more modern alternative like cheesy jalapeño cornbread muffins, this is one must-have side dish.
- Rice. Plain white or seasoned rice are both great ways to bulk up a bowl of chili.
- Beans. While there may not be any beans in this chili, offering them on the side is a great idea.
How to Store Texas Brisket Chili
It is crucial to allow the chili to cool to room temperature before putting the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Since chili can stay in the danger zone for a long time while in the pot, try pouring it into a large container with more surface area, like a large Pyrex storage container.
After the leftover brisket chili is at room temperature, transfer it to a storage container and put it in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for up to a month. For more convenient reheating, you can pre-portion frozen chili.
Thaw the frozen chili overnight in the fridge or quickly defrost it in the microwave.
What Is the Best Way to Reheat this Brisket Chili Recipe?
The chili's texture is best if you go with a low and slow reheating method:
- Place the thawed chili in a saucepan and heat on low.
- Stir the chili from time to time to prevent it from scorching.
More Main Dish Recipes for Game Day
- 3 to 4 pounds brisket cut into ¼-inch cubes (use the flat only)
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons onion powder
- ¼ pound hickory smoked bacon diced
- 2 cups finely diced white onion
- 3 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 28 ounces tomato puree
- Sprinkle the cubed brisket liberally with kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
- Cook the bacon in a large stockpot over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot and set aside, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
- In the same pot, cook the cubed brisket in the bacon grease in small batches to avoid crowding the pan. Stir occasionally until the sides of the cubes have browned; then remove from the pot and set aside. Repeat with the remaining brisket pieces. You may need to add some vegetable oil while cooking the brisket, should the pot become dry.
- In the same pot, sauté the onions with a tiny pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent and begin to brown. When the onions are almost done, add the garlic and all the spices and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the brisket, bacon, and chicken stock to the pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Then add the tomato puree and mix well.
- Reduce the temperature to low, place a lid on the pot, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the brisket becomes very tender. If the chili becomes too dry, add additional water or chicken stock to reach your desired consistency.