posted in Beef Main Dishes

Halftime Chili

When we first moved into our house many years ago, the community was new and we had a brand new fire station. Since we had a 2 year old 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: Halftime Chili

The recipe is adapted barely from Bon Appetit. And if I had been food blogging back then, I would have taken photos of those cute firefighters eating my chili 🙂

Really good chili has spices- lots of them (not a chili packet).

I love to add beer to my chili- it adds a great malty flavor into the sauce. 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.

Here’s how you make it: sauté onions and garlic.

Add the ground beef and get it 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 Super Bowl Sunday!  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.

Of course I had to share a photo of my little boy (now much older!) at the fire station in all of his gear. He sure loved that place! My little guy is sharing a fun Super Bowl recipe on his RecipeBoy blog today too: How to Make Walking Tacos.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 1 hr, 30 min

Halftime Chili

Lots of flavor in this one with both the beer and the barbecue sauce! Our local firefighters stopped by and had a bowl of this chili on Superbowl Sunday. They gave it the big thumbs up!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 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 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teapsoon dried thyme
2 mild jalapeños, seeds & ribs removed and chopped finely
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with puree
One 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
One 12-ounce bottle of beer
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce
One 15-ounce can chili beans in sauce


Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add beef and sauté until browned, about 5 min. Add chili powder, cumin, basil, bay leaves, oregano and thyme. Stir 2 minutes. Mix in 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 min. 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: a bunch of fresh cilantro, different kinds of beans, cheese, sour cream, ground veal or turkey.

Source: Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

35 Responses to “Halftime Chili”

  1. postedFeb 2, 2012 7:39 AM

    LOL! firefighter approved! what else do you need? love it!

  2. postedFeb 2, 2012 7:53 AM

    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.

  3. postedFeb 2, 2012 7:54 AM

    I consider myself a chili fanatic and this looks like a must-make recipe!

  4. postedFeb 2, 2012 8:36 AM
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Lori the pictures are gorgeous!!

    And you have very lucky firemen in your area….YUM!

  5. postedFeb 2, 2012 8:50 AM

    Wonderful recipe. Cumin is a must in my favorite chili!

  6. postedFeb 2, 2012 9:47 AM


  7. postedFeb 2, 2012 11:38 AM

    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 🙂

  8. postedFeb 2, 2012 12:07 PM

    Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous (as always!) and this chili looks like pure perfection! Great recipe once again! 🙂

  9. postedFeb 2, 2012 1:04 PM

    This sounds like a perfect bowl of chili. My husband would love the spice and I love the added beer. Perfect flavors!

  10. postedFeb 2, 2012 1:22 PM

    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!

  11. postedFeb 2, 2012 3:27 PM

    That must be some great chili. And I love the last picture. So cute!

  12. postedFeb 2, 2012 3:28 PM

    Yum! Love the name you chose. This chili looks amazing!!!

  13. postedFeb 2, 2012 5:24 PM
    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes)

    Wow Lori, this looks perfect! Pinning now. And Recipe Boy is so cute (bet he doesn’t wanna hear that nowadays, huh?)

  14. postedFeb 2, 2012 8:51 PM

    it looks really good and your kid is so cute!!

  15. postedFeb 3, 2012 5:07 AM

    This sounds sooo yummy. Any cook times for converting this to a crock pot effort? I’ll be using browned shredded steak.

    • postedFeb 3, 2012 6:03 AM

      I’m not certain… perhaps 3-4 hours on low?

  16. postedFeb 3, 2012 6:23 AM

    Great game day food! Love the last photo:)

    • postedFeb 3, 2012 6:27 AM

      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 🙂

  17. postedFeb 3, 2012 7:08 AM

    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.

  18. postedFeb 3, 2012 9:23 AM

    Going to make it!!! How cute is your son.

  19. postedFeb 3, 2012 9:51 AM

    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!

  20. postedFeb 3, 2012 11:35 AM
    Annamaria A

    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?

    • postedFeb 3, 2012 11:36 AM

      yes, chili beans come in a sauce. I used Bush’s brand of chili beans.

  21. postedFeb 4, 2012 12:07 PM

    bbq sauce, cool idea!

  22. postedFeb 4, 2012 1:21 PM
    Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen

    This chili looks SO good!! I’ve missed the blogosphere! 🙂

  23. postedFeb 5, 2012 7:28 AM

    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!

  24. postedSep 23, 2014 9:55 AM
    Patricia Miller

    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!

  25. postedJan 28, 2015 6:25 AM

    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.

    • postedJan 28, 2015 7:47 AM

      I’d say it adds a little sweet and smoky flavor, depending on what brand you use of course.

  26. postedJan 31, 2015 6:29 AM

    What kind of beer did u use? There r a million varieties ! Is there a sub for beer?

    • postedJan 31, 2015 7:04 AM

      Any kind of beer is fine. You could sub beef or chicken broth or water.

  27. postedDec 7, 2015 4:21 PM

    Can this be cooked on low in the crockpot?

  28. postedMay 8, 2016 2:13 PM
    Crystal Musall

    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.

    • postedMay 8, 2016 3:11 PM

      That’s great!!

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