Introduction: Smoked Chili & Chilifest

About: Don't take the world to seriously relax a little and enjoy the ride.

My fiance and I hosted our very own Chili-fest with a total of 9 chili entries and 32 people total. It was a ton of fun and we will be having one each year as everyone had a great time and a lot of fun. Plus we got to eat all different kinds of delicious chili !!

Now planning a chili-fest as well as making your own chili to enter takes A LOT of planning. Not only do you have to figure out and make your own chili recipe but you have to organize an event that will be fun simple and fair for all people wishing to enter.

The chili I made won 2nd PLACE and was deliciously different. I made a Smoked Chocolate Chili with a few secret ingredients that will get anyone's attention.

In this instructable I will go through the steps to make a Smoked Chili with Chocolate, Beer, Bourbon and Dark coffee as the secret or specialty ingredients along with the usual chili stuff like peppers mushrooms and meat. I will also go through the steps on how to host a chili-fest with friends that takes the guess work out of a chili party and keeps things fair and fun.

The chili cooking for this recipe requires two parts, 1 smoking the main ingredients and 2 cooking. The cooking portion only requires a single Large pot

Step 1: Chili Ingredients

I will be making a Smoked Chili to try and WIN a competition so I went big and wanted big flavour from the first bite.

For a "smoked" chili you will need a smoker!! if you don't have a smoker you can make this same recipe and it will be delicious and different but obviously no smoke flavor.

Now with any chili there are always a lot of ingredients but don't let the size of the list scare you away as most of these you should already have.

Food Ingredients


1lb Ground Beef

1lb Ground Pork

1 Pack bacon


3 cups yellow onion diced

1 red and 1 green bell pepper diced

4 jalapeno pepper diced and seeds removed

Handful of mushrooms

5 cloves fresh garlic minced

Secret Flavours

2 cups Dark beer

3 Cups Beef Broth

1 cup strong coffee

2 shots Bourbon

A few pieces of dark bitter sweet chocolate

Other Ingredients

1 cans 828ml - 28 oz. crushed tomato

1 can fire roasted diced tomato

2 TBS smoked Paprika

2 TBS chili Powder

1 TBS Coriander

1.5 TBS oregano

¼ cup – Brown Sugar

3 TBS honey

1 Can kidney beans

1 cup Freshly chopped parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Non Food Materials


disposable aluminum trays

1 Large pot

Step 2: Prep-work, Smoking

The prep-work for a recipe like this is essential to make your life easier. I bought all my vegetables a few days in advance to cooking the chili and chopped them up and placed them in large bags ready for smoking.

Step 1 - Chop all vegetables and place in bags for future use. Use the extra time to gather any other ingredients that you still need to get and place everything in a box to keep things organized. Remember that chili usually has a more defined taste the day after its cooked so plan on cooking the chili the day before you wish to serve it.

To achieve a very smokey chili, I smoked all my major ingredients for 2 hours:

  1. the meat
  2. the vegetables
  3. the sauce

Ready to smoke !

I used disposable shallow baking trays to place all the items I wanted to smoke on the smoker. I used hickory wood chips and smoked everything at 200 degrees fro two hours.

** Remove the bacon after 1 hours of smoking, Being a thinner meat it will take as long to get very smokey as the other the items***

Step 3: Cooking the Chili

Cooking chili its pretty simple its just adding a whole bunch of ingredients to makes something delicious. This requires just 1 pot so dishes are pretty easy to clean up after. Follow these steps in that order to achieve a delicious dark and smoking chili with some bold extra flavors that complement the finished chili.

***Make sure to have all of your ingredients ready and near you, the preparation before cooking will make cooking go smoothly****

Step 1 - In a large pot add some 2tbs butter and 2tbs oil over medium high heat. Roughly chop the bacon and add to pot and
cook until well browned

Step 2 - As a film develops on the pot add the 2 shots of bourbon to de-glaze the pot

Step 3 - Add in the veges and a crushed tomatoes cook and stir everything to combine

Step 4 - Add the 2 cups of dark beer then the 2-3 cups of beef stock stir then add the smoked ground meat and stir

Step 5 - Now add 1 cup of strong coffee and stir

Step 6 - Now add 2 tbs of smoked paprika, 1 tbs of ground cumin, 1 tbs coriander, 2 tsp dried rosemary, 2 tsp of oregano, 2 tbs of brown sugar, 2 tbs of honey and 2 tbs of chili powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Finish with salt and black pepper to taste

Step 7 - Toss 6 pieces of red pepper bitter sweet chocolate and cook for 1 hour with the lid off or until you reach your desired consistency.

To get the chili ready to serve add in the strained kidney beans and 1 cup freshly chopped parsley 20 minutes before its done cooking. Serve and Garnish with cheese and sour cream if desired.

Because I am making this for a competition that is the following day I will not add my beans and parsley yet because they don't take too long to cook. I will add them the next morning and place the chili into a crockpot set to warm. I do this around 10 am for a chili-fest tasting at 7:30pm this will give my chili more then enough time to heat up and cook the beans.

Step 4: Prepping for the Event and Prizes

Now for the event!!

Planning a chili-fest though requires good meal prep and party planning is actually fairly simple and can be a fun process. First of all you need to have people come to the event and have at least 5-6 entries to make it a decent competition. To do this I used Facebook and created an event but this can also be done with letters or phone calls. Facebook is probably the easiest because it allows you to clearly define the format for voting and how everything will work. Here is how I broke down my explanation of the chili-fest;


Both MEAT or VEGETARIAN chili recipes are welcome

How it works:

- Bring your most decedent and delicious home cooked chili fully cooked & ready to be eaten in your own crock pot. We will supply tables and power cords so everyone can plug their crock pots in and set them to stay warm. - We will supply tasting cups & spoons so everyone can try different chilies and make their own judgement based on which one you like the most. - When you bring your chili it must have be named but all chili entries will remain anonymous so voting is as fair as possible so make your name interesting and fun. - At the end of the tasting everyone will be given a sheet to rate your top three picks. Scoring will be based on number of votes with the most votes grabbing 1st place. There will be 3 prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place chili dishes as voted by you!
- If you want to come but do not want to enter a chili into the contest you are more than welcome but PLEASE bring an appetizer for everyone to enjoy
I will supply;
basic appetizers, some non-alcoholic drinks, We will also supply the “Chili Fix’ns” such as cheddar cheese, sour cream, chives, chips,
Rules :
1) Your chili must be homemade!!!!
2) If your chili is spicy (which totally fine) you must declare it spicy on your label so those who are not as tolerant can avoid it or be ready for heat. All labels will be hand written when you arrive
This is a full night
you are in charge of your own alcohol. Please no drinking and driving so make arrangements to get home safe. Anyone that would like to stay over please let me know ASAP as space is slightly limited but will accommodate as many people as we can. We hope to see lots of people there and lots of chili entries to make this competition more competitive, DO you have what it takes to get first place?

So this basically Covers everything from how to bring their chilies, how voting will work, and to ensure people don't drink and drive

Now that you have created the event its time to do party set up. This can be done many different ways but we basically moved some furniture around in a room and set up tables. We bought things like plastic cups for tasting and table cloths to help with any drips.

We also made a variety to apps to go with the chili entries to make sure everyone had plenty to eat including cornbread muffins and different dips and appetizers.

I made a large event sign and also bought TAKE OUT CONTAINERS which was absolutely essential because it allowed the guests to bring home a single serving of what ever chili they liked the most and it allowed the people who brought the chili to not head back with a full crackpot of chili.


We made 3 prizes that were all the same but gradually got smaller from 1st place to third place. We wrapped them and placed them on display for all to see during the event.

First place - Baking tray, large ladle and Large tongs

Second Place - Medium baking tray, medium Ladle and small tongs

Third Place - Small baking tray, tiny Ladle

Step 5: Lets Eat Some Chili!!

Now its time to get your power-bars, tasting cups, and voting station ready for the guests to have a night filled with chili and good times.

This event was such a fun time we will be hosting one each year now as an annual event. The first place chili was named "Chill Bill" and was delicious.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable and I would encourage all to attempt to host an event like this as it was a lot of fun. But if you don't want to then try out that Smoked Chili recipe as it was OH SO GOOD

Thank you and feel free to Vote if you liked what you have seen

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