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Bourbon Chili

Bourbon Chili

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Add bourbon and brown sugar to hearty beef chili for an extra touch of full-bodied flavor. MORE+LESS-

Updated March 8, 2017


cloves garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef


tablespoon chili powder


teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves


teaspoon crushed red pepper


tablespoons brown sugar


can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained


can (15 to 16 oz) red kidney beans, undrained

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  • 1

    Peel and chop the onion to measure 1 cup. Peel and finely chop the garlic.

  • 2

    In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked.

  • 3

    Into the beef, stir the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or two.

  • 4

    Pour in bourbon to deglaze pan. Use bourbon to scrape up any bits stuck to pan.

  • 5

    Add tomatos and tomato sauce and brown sugar to pot. Heat the mixture to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover with lid; cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  • 6

    Stir in the beans with their liquid. Heat to boiling over high heat. Cook uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

  • 7

    Serve with chips, chives, sour cream, or grated cheese.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • I’ve always loved the chili recipe from The Betty Crocker™ Cookbook. It’s a no frills chili that is pretty simple to make but really delivers in the flavor department.The cool thing about any classic recipe is that it can work as a great base for variations! In the case of my bourbon chili variation, I thought it would be nice to kick up the complexity of the recipe with Kentucky bourbon and brown sugar.Almost any chili recipe worth its salt will have a few classic ingredients including onions, beef, tomatoes, and beans. Of course, this is just my opinion. There’s some debate over these ingredients, but I consider them to be the standard, classic recipe.When you add bourbon and brown sugar to the mix, the chili gets slightly sweet. It’s the kind of thing that people won’t be able to put their finger on when they try it, but they’ll love it.You just need a little bit of both. No need to over-do it.I like to serve my chili with sour cream and chives. You could also serve it with chips, crackers, or grated cheese.There’s really nothing like a warm bowl of chili on a crisp fall day. It’s great for a football game or just to warm the soul.Give this bourbon chili a shot and be sure to check out The Big Red Cookbook!

Chili Recipes


1 pound chili grind meat
3 slices bacon
1 Tablespoon cumin seed, roasted and ground
1 Tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
1 Tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 Tablespoon California chili powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 can El Paso mild green chiles
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove
2 15 ounce cans stewed tomatoes, pureed in a blender
1 12 ounce can beer
1 teaspoon beef base
3 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 shot Jim Beam bourbon whiskey
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons masa harina

1. Cook bacon and reserve grease for sauteing onions and garlic.

2. In a large chili pot, sauté onion and garlic. Remove onions and garlic and set aside.

3. Add olive oil and cook meat until gray in color, but not browned.

4. Add onion and garlic back to chili pot, and add dry spices. Cook while stirring for 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Add stewed tomatoes, bacon bits, chiles, beer, celery, whiskey, beef base.

6. Bring to a boil, and then simmer about 3 to 4 hours until done, adding masa harina 5-7 minutes before complete.

Smoky Beef, Bacon and Bourbon Chili

I volunteered to bring a pot of chili to a neighborhood get together and had planned to bring my daughter’s Three Bean Chili that highlighted a chili Emily had made that won the ‘Best’ award at her company’s annual event a couple of years. When I realized I had already included it in these pages, I decided instead to make this Smoky Beef, Bacon and Bourbon Chili.

When I realized I had made her recipe before, I scrambled and dove into my pantry. I spied just enough ingredients to put something else together. Not a chili bean in site but some garbanzo beans and black beans did the trick and really, once you add them to beef, bacon and bourbon…do the beans really matter?

This was such a hodgepodge (wow, that’s an old fashioned word isn’t it?) but one that really succeeded. The smokiness of the Chipotle peppers combined with some molasses for sweetness was a perfect compliment to this bacon heavy version of chili.

To tell you the truth if my pantry had been filled with more ingredients I would have doubled this in a heartbeat. It does have a nice smoky heat to it but if heat is not your friend, halve the amount of Chipotle chiles but don’t leave them out entirely. Please?

They provide such a great flavor but beyond that, they are tempered quite nicely with the dollop of cool sour cream on top. This Smoky Beef, Bacon and Bourbon Chili was an altogether delicious dish.

Planning to host or attend a Super Bowl Party? I’ve published a week of good eats that would be great for the game this weekend, a ski trip if you’re so inclined or to be honest, just for you…sometimes you just have to treat yourself! They include:

I’ll wrap up my week of party fare tomorrow with a cocktail too…trying now to decide…cranberry or lemon…hmm?

PIN IT! ‘Smoky Beef, Bacon, and Chipotle Chili’

Bourbon Trail Chili

“This chili was created by Sara Gibbs for Glenn’s Creek Café at Woodford Reserve Distillery (she often checked up on the cooks to make sure they weren’t altering her recipe). Using local ground beef, bourbon-smoked paprika, and Kentucky bourbon, this is a Kentucky Proud dish. It contains several flavor notes from the bourbon flavor wheel (herbal, citrus, wood, and spice). The chili can be served in a bowl, over tortilla chips with garnishes, or as the main component of Sara’s Hoot ’n Holler Taco Salad, composed of chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, and salty corn chips.” —Ouita Michel in her new cookbook, Just a Few Miles South. Read our interview with Michel here.

photo: Jacqueline Stofsick | FOOD STYLING: DACEY SIVEWRIGHT

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Chili

Every chili recipe should have a secret ingredient, and what’s better than Bourbon? Originally published at, this recipe uses ingredients inspired by the Woodford Reserve Flavor wheel to blend flawlessly with the generous helping of whiskey. The recipe calls for Woodford Reserve to be one of last ingredients added to ensure the Bourbon still has a little bite left when it makes it to the bowl.


2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or minced chipotle in adobo
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can or 11/2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can or 11/2 cups cooked Great Northern beans, drained
1/2 cup Woodford Reserve
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese, grated
Tortilla chips


Brown the ground chuck in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat and set the meat aside. Add the olive oil to the pan over medium heat, and then add the onion, pepper, garlic, oregano, and dried sage. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften.

Deglaze the pan with the orange juice. Stir in the ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, cumin, ground or minced chipotle, cayenne pepper, salt, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the water, beans, and reserved cooked meat. Bring to a simmer again and check the seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes, add the bourbon, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Bourbon Barrel Chili

Place a large dutch oven or soup pot on high heat and add oil. Add onions and saute for 5-7 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Crumble in ground beef and pork. Cook until meat in no longer pink and starting to brown. Drain excess fat. Add the paprika, cumin, tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the beer to deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes, beans, Worcestershire, and water.

Bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If chili seems thick during cooking, add 1/2 cup water to loosen. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with your family’s favorite toppings and accompaniments.

Bourbon Barrel Chili Kit ON SALE NOW!

Ultimate Worcestershire Burgers


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