This Halftime Chili is perfect for Game Day or any day!
When we first moved into our San Diego house way back in 2003, the community was new and we had a brand new fire station. Since we had a 2 year old (at the time) who was completely obsessed with fire trucks, we quickly made friends with our local firefighters. We visited the station often to deliver treats, and they let our son investigate the fire trucks. They brought their rig to our culdesac and popped in for a bowl of chili on Super Bowl Sunday. So I can state with great confidence that this is officially a “Firefighter Approved” chili recipe. And if I had been food blogging back then, I would have taken photos of those cute firefighters eating my halftime chili!!
The recipe was adapted barely from an old recipe by Bon Appetit (they don’t even have it on their website anymore).
Really good chili has spices- lots of them (not a chili packet).
What kinds of spices do you need to make chili?
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- dried basil
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- bay leaves
What makes a chili recipe so good?
I love to add beer to my chili- it adds a great malty flavor into the sauce. In fact, one of my other favorite chili recipe is my Beef and Dark Beer Chili. Jalapeños are a must-add ingredient too. They mellow out after cooking, so they don’t add as much heat as you think. I also really love to add a good scoop of barbecue sauce to my chili.
How to make Halftime Chili:
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post. You will need a Dutch oven or a stock pot to make this chili.
Heat olive oil in your pan, and sauté the onions and garlic.
Add the ground beef and cook until it is all nice and browned.
Dump in the spices.
Then you’ll add in a bunch of the really good stuff: beer, jalapeños, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and barbecue sauce.
Then just let it simmer away on your stove for an hour or so.
And it will be ready for Game Day, Super Bowl Sunday or any day! We like to keep things pretty simple with a sprinkle of cilantro and cheese and sour cream (maybe even some Fritos!). But you can display whatever fixings you’d like. Enjoy!
It’s okay to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef, if you prefer not to use red meat. If you don’t want to chop fresh jalapeño peppers, use a can of mild chopped green chiles instead. Use your favorite beer for this recipe. The type of barbecue sauce you use will affect the flavor of this halftime chili. Use a BBQ sauce that you love! We like Sweet Baby Ray’s Original.
Of course I had to share a photo of my little boy (now much, much older!) at the fire station in all of his gear. He sure loved that place! My little guy shared a fun Super Bowl recipe on his RecipeBoy blog too: How to Make Walking Tacos.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups chopped sweet onion
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 5 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 whole bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed and chopped finely
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with puree
- One 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken or beef broth
- One 12-ounce bottle beer
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- ½ cup bottled barbecue sauce
- One 15-ounce can chili beans in sauce
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add the beef and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, basil, bay leaves, oregano and thyme. Stir for 2 minutes. Mix in the jalapeños, tomatoes, broth, beer, tomato paste, and barbecue sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally to reincorporate the ingredients, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Mix in the beans and heat an additional 5 minutes.
- *This can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
- *Try adding a variety of things to your chili: a bunch of fresh cilantro, different kinds of beans, cheese, sour cream, ground veal or turkey.
This has been my go to. I’ve started using turkey as I’m trying to cut out beef and pork. I always use 1.5 times the listed amount for the seasoning. It’s still a crowd favorite.
This, too, has been my go to recipe for many years, after finding it in Bon Appetit. I usually reduce the ground beef to 2lbs and add another can or two of beans. Never thought of adding barbecue sauce but might give that a try next time. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m also a fan of the Beef and Dark Beer Chili! Love your blog!!
Thanks to my sisters suggestion for this recipe, I made this for my husbands work chili cook-off….and WON! I added an extra jalapeno and I used a Kona Beer…it turned out great! Thanks for the win.
Can this be cooked on low in the crockpot?
What kind of beer did u use? There r a million varieties ! Is there a sub for beer?
Any kind of beer is fine. You could sub beef or chicken broth or water.
Can you actually taste the BBQ sauce in this recipe? Not sure about adding it, but I am making this chili for Superbowl dinner. Sounds delicious.
I’d say it adds a little sweet and smoky flavor, depending on what brand you use of course.
I made this over the weekend and was very pleased with it! It has a beautiful dark color and depth of flavor. You can really customize how sweet versus spicy that you want it with your choice of bbq sauce. And I definitely thought it only improved with the leftovers. Will definitely make again!
This is a keeper in my house now! I made this yesterday, it’s “working” so it’s ready for the Super Bowl today. Love it!
bbq sauce, cool idea!
I’m going to try this recipe for Super Bowl!. Are the chili beans in sauce different than a can of beans? If so, what brand did you use?
yes, chili beans come in a sauce. I used Bush’s brand of chili beans.
This sounds insanely good! I have not had chili in forever, and do not have a great recipe, this might make next week’s rotation!
Love little boys dressed up like firemen. My 6 year old was obsessed for a time too, he was even a firefighter for Halloween one year!
Going to make it!!! How cute is your son.
New to your blog, and this will be the first recipe I’ll try. Making it tonight so it’ll have until game time to “work”. I look forward to many more recipes of yours to make.
Great game day food! Love the last photo:)
What you get to look forward not too long from now w/ Caleb! They’re so cute when they get obsessed with trucks and fire engines & vrmmm vrmmmm vrmmm all over the place 🙂
This sounds sooo yummy. Any cook times for converting this to a crock pot effort? I’ll be using browned shredded steak.
I’m not certain… perhaps 3-4 hours on low?
it looks really good and your kid is so cute!!
Wow Lori, this looks perfect! Pinning now. And Recipe Boy is so cute (bet he doesn’t wanna hear that nowadays, huh?)
Yum! Love the name you chose. This chili looks amazing!!!
That must be some great chili. And I love the last picture. So cute!
Yum! You got me in the mood for a big bowl of this delicious chili! Love the combination of ingredients in this, gives it just the right amount of kick!
This sounds like a perfect bowl of chili. My husband would love the spice and I love the added beer. Perfect flavors!
Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous (as always!) and this chili looks like pure perfection! Great recipe once again! 🙂
This looks delicious! It’s been a couple months since I’ve made chili…it might be time again. I don’t add beer to mine, but thanks to your suggestion I’m going to dump in a bottle next time 🙂
Wonderful recipe. Cumin is a must in my favorite chili!
Lori the pictures are gorgeous!!
And you have very lucky firemen in your area….YUM!
I consider myself a chili fanatic and this looks like a must-make recipe!
Even before reading the post I could see this was definite an amazing chili but if it’s firefighter approved, I don’t need any more convincing.
LOL! firefighter approved! what else do you need? love it!