Game Day Chili - Slow Cooker

Game Day Chili

game day chili slow cooker

Hickory-smoked blade steak adds character and depth to this chili while giving you the opportunity to defy winter by using a grill or smoker.

I smoked about 4 pounds of blade steak for 30 minutes on my daily-use grill, a Kamado Joe® ceramic grill. The meat will have plenty of time to cook and tenderize in the pot-the focus here is on imparting the smoke flavor that will distinguish this chili.

Make sure you don’t use a leaner cut of beef, because it will lead to dry and disappointing meat. Also, go with dried beans rather than canned beans-dried beans and retain their integrity throughout the cooking process.


  • One 16-ounce bag dry (uncooked) mixed beans, or a combination
  • of black, pinto, and kidney beans
  • 4 pounds blade steak
  • 6 dried ancho chiles
  • 3 chile de árbol peppers
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 large yellow onions, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • One 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Garnishes: lime slices, avocado, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese


Add the beans to salted water. Bring to a full boil, remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, start the grill with hardwood charcoal. Add 2–3 pieces of hickory hardwood. When the hickory is fully aflame, place the blade steak on the grate and close the lid. Flip the steak after 15 minutes; remove it after 30 minutes. Slice the steak into small cubes.

Stem and seed the dried ancho chiles and chile de árbol peppers. Shred the ancho chiles and toast them and the chile de árbol peppers in a skillet. Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender, add the remaining solid ingredients (cornmeal, oregano, cumin, and cocoa), and pulse. Add 1 cup chicken broth and blend until paste forms.

Sauté the chopped onions in vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven. Sauté the garlic separately because it browns so quickly.

Add the chile paste, the molasses, the tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken broth, the drained beans, the garlic, and the meat cubes to the pot.6. Mix thoroughly and place the covered pot in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

After 2 hours, verify that the beans are softened. Top with lime slices, avocado, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.


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