Brew House Chili

Luke Murden, Virginia Beach Whole Foods Cooking Coach, demoed this recipe in early October. Tiring of beans, it was time for a meat fix change of pace so I made this up. It is wicked good and takes its name from the 12 ounces of beer used to make the stock.

I sacrificed a bottle of Breckenridge Vanilla Porter to this effort. It worked quite well. I’d recommend using a porter or a stout as the beer. Malty with a kiss of hops is good. IPA hoppy is bad as it will go medicinal as the liquid is reduced. Coastal Extreme hoppy would probably alter the space-time continuum.

This should be called 3 alarm chili. It’s not hot, my first attempt to make this was a 3 alarm fire drill as I set off all of the smoke detectors in the house. Watch the heat while browning the meats.

I think this would be good with a side of Yankee Greens or sautéed kale and shallots seasoned with garlic and lime juice. It’s pretty rich stuff so rice/beans are not needed.


This is a big beast so you’ll need the following

  • Cast iron skillet for browning the meat
  • 7 Quart Dutch oven in which to sauté vegetables and simmer the mash
  • 5 Quart Dutch oven to receive browned meats
  • Chef’s knife and paring knife for seeding the jalapeños.
  • Prep dishes for onions, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeños
  • Prep dish for spices — 1 addition but about a cup total goes in


This is a big beast with lots of stuff in it so I’ve grouped the ingredients by categories.

Vegetable Ingredients

  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 2 green peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic, lots of garlic, so have a whole bulb on hand to start
  • 3 beers, one for the cooking, one for the chili, and one with the chili. One goes in the chili, 2 into the cook! The first and last may be an IPA. A stout or a porter for the chili.

Meat Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground sirloin (90% lean)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (chicken or pork)
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage (chicken or pork)


This recipe uses lots of spices so stock check your spices before shopping. 1 oz liquid is needed of most of these.

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground cocoa powder (not hot chocolate mix!)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (I goofed and used 3 and survived)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon


  1. Measure out spices.
  2. Dice onions
  3. Dice green pepper
  4. Mince garlic
    Seed and mince jalapeños. Be careful where your fingers go while doing this as the jalapeño flesh is hot.
  5. Skin the sausages and mush them out for scrambling.
  6. Sauté the onions until translucent.
  7. Add the garlic and peppers (green and jalepeno) and continue for 10 minutes more. Reduce the heat and get some caramelization on the onions.
  8. While all of this is going on, brown the ground beef and sausage. Work the sausage with a metal board knife to break them up. Get a hot start and add the beef in small batches so the ground beef is not poached in its own juices but turn the heat down to avoid a fire drill.
  9. Once the peppers are saluted, add the spices to the vegetable mixture including cocoa and mix well. Reduce the heat to simmer while the meat finishes up.
  10.  At this point, the meat that has been browned may be added to the vegetables. Finish browning the remaining meat and add it to the vegtables. Add the tomatoes and 12 oz beer at this point. Return the heat to medium and bring the liquid to a boil. stir everything together. Reduce the heat to 1/4 to simmer. Just a gentle bubbling. We’re not trying to reduce this mixture a whole lot.
  11. Simmer covered for about 1 hour to mix the flavors and make everything tender. The tomatoes will still be present in dice form and the sauce will be a deep chocolate brown and everything quite fragrant from the outrageous spicing.
  12. Take servings and cool before digging in. This is good with fresh lime juice added at serving.