Competition Smoked Chili Recipe

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Competition Smoked Chili Recipe Overview

If you are looking for an award winning smoked Chili Recipe that will win you a blue ribbon at an ICS or WCCC event, where pretentious judges only accept chili made with meat, tomato sauce and grease, well quite frankly, this is not the competition smoked chili recipe you are looking for. But, if you are looking for a smoked Chili Recipe that is quite possibly the best chili you will ever put in your mouth, a chili recipe that will smash the competition at your next neighborhood or office cookoff, then buckle up and take notes because that’s what we are making today.

The Meats

This smoked chili recipe is made with 4 different types of meats. Using multiple meats in this smoked chili recipe adds different flavors as well as introducing various textures to your chili.

Chuck Roast

The first meat that you need to prepare is the 3lb chuck roast. The chuck roast, once prepared, will have a steak like consistency and a add rich beefy flavor to your chili. I like to prepare the chuck roast by first removing any hard or thick chunks of fat. Then I slice the whole roast into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes. Next, heat your Dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or other pan to high heat. Quickly sear the cubed chuck roast on all sides. Do this in small batches to make sure that the pan stays hot. The goal here is to introduce a quick sear on the outside without any internal cooking. Set aside and move on to the next meat.

Ground Beef/Pork and Breakfast Sausage

I prefer using ground pork as it is a bit more tender than ground beef. If needed you can substitute with ground beef or any ratio of ground beef/pork for the 3lb that the recipe calls for. For the breakfast sausage, there really is no substitute but hot or mild. It depends on how hot you want the final product to be. I prefer mild breakfast sausage, as my wife and 4 kids do not appreciate having their faces set on fire.

Next, we need to brown our ground meats. I like to brown the 3lb of ground meat and the 1lb of breakfast sausage separately. This lets me break the ground meat down into very small pieces and leave the breakfast sausage in larger 1″ chunks. This gives a nice little burst of flavor as you are eating the chili.

browning meat in a pan

Pulled Pork

Adding pulled pork to your chili recipe really adds another dimension of flavor and texture. I highly recommend that you do NOT skip this. With that being said, if you do not have any on hand, you can substitute a pound of shredded chicken or even an additional 1 pound of ground beef or ground pork. If using pulled pork, it requires no additional cooking or processing.


Next, it’s time to start preparing your veggies. Start by taking all of your vegetables and laying them out on a pan. We are going to slightly char all of them to introduce additional complex flavors to the final product. Charing can be done using several methods. You can lay them directly on a gas burner (if you are lucky enough to have a gas range). You can use a map gas torch, or place them close under the broiler in your oven. The broiler method is what we will be using here. Char your onions and peppers until there are black blisters all over.

charred vegetables

Next, slice open your jalapeno and chipotle pepper to remove the seeds.

*NOTE: This step can be skipped if you are attempting to make a chili that will ward off a dragon.

Chop your bell peppers, onions, chipotle and jalapenos into small pieces and your veggies are ready to go.

Putting the Competition Smoked Chili Recipe together

chopped vegetables

Now that all of your ingredients are prepared, it’s time to start putting it all together.

I highly recommend that you get a large oven safe pot or Dutch oven so that this chili can by cooked in the smoker. I use an Amazon Basics enamel coated cast iron Dutch 7.5QT and absolutely love it. It works perfect for putting soups and sauces on the smoker, as well as on the oven. One great advantage for using an enamel coated Dutch oven for cooking sauces, like spaghetti sauce, is that you can place it in the oven. You can simmer it for hours with virtually no chance of scorching to the bottom if you forget to stir.

Below is the Dutch oven I recommend. I have used standard cast iron Dutch ovens for years before discovering enamel coated. With enamel coated you get all of the benefits of cooking with cast iron without having to worry about seasoning. You also don’t have to worry about iron flavors leaching out into tomato based foods. The Amazon basics 7.5qt enameled Dutch oven has held up great to many, many cooks. Even the smoke staining washes right off of the outside after spending hours in the smoke.

Go ahead and start adding your chopped veggies and your meats to you Dutch oven. You also add the can of diced tomatoes and minced garlic to the mix.

chili ingredients

Now it’s time to really crank up that flavor. We start by measuring out all of your dry spices. Get your sugar, bbq rub, chilli powder, cumin, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, oregeno, salt and cayene pepper powder.

A special word of caution about the cayenne. Keep in mind that there are several decisions you have while you are making this smoked chili recipe that will contribute to the final heat. Deciding to keep the pepper seeds in the chipotle peppers and the jalapenos, deciding to use a hotter breakfast sausage, as well as how much cayenne pepper to use in your spice mix all adds up. Now if you are someone that loves super hot chili, feel free to combine all of these as well as more to get that super hot you are looking for. But, if you are mere mortal, adding all of these and then using the full teaspoon of cayenne . . . well lets just say it can make for in interesting night.

Add your spices to your Dutch oven, as well as the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, hot sauce and last your beef broth and your 1 beef bullion cube.

A note in substituting beef broth: you can subsitite beef broth by mixing water and beef bullion cubes at a ration of 1 cup of water to 1 beef bullion cube. Honestly, more often then not I do this instead of spending the money on beef broth.

chili seasonings

Cooking the Competition Smoked Chili Recipe

Now that everything is ready to go, we can go ahead and get that smoker heated up to 300 degrees. I have found that pecan or hickory adds a nice flavor in a drum smoker, but this chili is going to come out great no matter what you smoke it on. I cooked this batch on a pellet smoker using hickory pellets.

Throw your chili on the smoker for 2 1/2 hours, stirring about every 30 minutes. As our chili cooks over the next couple of hours, all of those different meats will start to soften up, that chuck roast will start to get so soft it will melt in your mouth like a soft piece of ribeye steak and those veggies that we charred will start to release all that goodness into your chili.

chili in a pot

After your initial 2 1/2 hour cook, it’s time to add your beans IF you decided to use beans your chili. At this point we have one more hour of cook time left, so if you do decide to use beans I would recommend a good firm skinned bean like a kidney, great northern, negro, chili bean etc. Pinto beans have a tendency to get a little mushy. If you are determined to use a softer bean, then you can always wait a little further into this last 1 hour of cook time.

Chili cooking in a pot

Cook for 1 additional hour stirring once and you are ready to go. This chili goes great served with crackers, cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top.

This is what the final product should look like. I hope you enjoyed this recipe and if you give it a try be sure to let me know in the comments.

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Competition Smoked Chili Recipe

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 3.5 hour Total Time 4 hrs Servings: 8


Dial's Competition Smoked Chili is a definite crowd pleaser and sure to blow the socks off of your coworkers at your next company chili cookoff. Various meats and spices combine to create a unique chili that is an explosion of different textures and flavors. 




Canned Ingredients

Chili Seasoning


  1. Preheat smoker to 300

  2. Trim fat and cut chuck roast into 1" cubes

  3. Preheat cast iron skillet and sear chuck roast cubes on all sides

  4. Brown and drain ground meats

  5. Slice peppers and onions and place on a gas burner or under broiler to char until black blisters are all over. 

  6. Chop all vegetables

  7. De-seed jalapeno and chipotle peppers if desired then chop. 

  8. Mix all seasoning spices together

  9. Add all ingredients and spices (Except your beans) to you dutch oven or oven safe pot. 

  10. Place on 300 degree smoker and smoke for 2 1/2 hours stirring every 30 minutes. 

  11. If you are using beans add them at this point

  12. Cook on smoker for an additional 1 hour. 

  13. Enjoy with cheddar cheese and sour cream. 

Did you make this recipe?

Jeremy Dial

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