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The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

the best easy chili recipe


the best easy chili recipe

Here in Des Moines, Iowa… Chili season has arrived.  It was 65 degrees and sunny just a week a go before Halloween.  Now just a week later the highs are going to be 35 degrees for the next week!  Chili season is in full effect, and that part of winter I welcome.  It is great to make ahead for weekend meals and is always a great Sunday dinner as well.  This recipe is my favorite chili recipe that I have developed and it is soooo easy, you cannot mess it up.  Give this recipe a shot and you might agree that its the best easy chili recipe you have ever tried.

What Makes a Great Chili?

I like a chili that is meaty, tangy, spicy, all balanced with a rich sauce in the background that makes every bite delicious.  Give it a shot….. if you find a better easy chili recipe than this… leave me a note in my comments section below and I will give it a try myself!

If you want the exact chili recipe I use, then scroll down to the bottom.  First, I want to share my thoughts and beliefs about Chili.  A highly debated subject in some circles of the world… like Texas. In Texas, Chili is a stew with no beans.  Maybe not even vegetables?  Either way, I say most beans and vegetables are welcome in my Chili.  Next, its all about the meat.  I like a blend of several ground meats.  In this recipe we are using ground beef, ground pork, and sweet pork sausage.  I think using two to three types of meat really adds a depth of flavor to the Chili and it is just plain fun to experiment.  Feel free to substitute ground veal, chicken, or turkey for any of these meats.  I do prefer ground meat vs chopped meat for Chili. I just like the texture better.

Other things that make this Chili different from some of the other recipes I find out there, is the combination of spices and the use of chicken stock to develop the rich flavors of this Chili.  To me, Chicken stock works great for Chili.  It does not dominate the flavor profile, unlike Beef Stock which does sometimes take over the flavor of the dish.  The other must have spices I like in Chili, besides common Chili Powder,  are Smoked Paprika, Mexican Oregano, Ground Cumin, and Turmeric.   Emphasis on “Smoked” in the Paprika.  Common Paprika sometimes does not have that undertone of flavor, which is the difference maker.  Turmeric and Mexican Oregano are also spices you will not always find in Chili recipes.  Mexican Oregano adds an herby earthiness to the Chili and Turmeric gives it this background tang that is hard to describe.  The Chili is just plain better when all of these things come together.

Lets Make a Big Ass Batch of Chili

Here are the basic steps for my process of making awesome chili.  If you like things less spicy, just cut the amount of ancho chili powder and jalapeños in half and then add more back in after you taste the final product.  I am not shooting to kill anyone with spiciness, but I do like things on the hot side.  Just note that if you are freezing this for later, it will mellow out over time.  Let me know in the comments below how you like this Chili! The recipe below makes a big pot of chili… I recommend a 12 quart pot.

If you are looking for another spank’n good bowl of love, check out my Chicken Noodle Soup … it cures anything that hits you!  Over the top flavor for a chicken soup.

Thanks for reading – Keegan

the best easy chili recipe
5 from 1 vote

The Best Easy Chili Recipe from Scratch

This is Keegan's go to Chili for the entire winter.  Make a big batch of this and freeze leftovers for many awesome weeknight meals.  The comforting feeling this Chili gives you is for real folks. 

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, texmex
Keyword Chili, Easy Chili, Homemade Chili
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12
Author Keegan


Ground Meats

  • 2 lbs Ground Chuck 85/15 or 85/20
  • 1 lb Mild sweet pork sausage
  • 1 lb Ground Pork


  • 3 white onions of medium size Chopped
  • 3 green peppers Chopped
  • 2 Jalapenos Add less depending on desired spiciness
  • 5 Celery Stalks Finely diced
  • 5 Medium Cloves of garlic minced

Dry Spices

  • 10 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder Start with 6 and then add more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 5 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 28 oz cans of Diced Tomatos
  • 1 28 oz can of tomato puree
  • 1 7 oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 32 oz Box Chicken Stock
  • 28 oz of Water
  • 2 14 oz medium chili beans - medium spice or Pinto Beans or Black Beans

Optional Fixins

  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Sour Cream


  1. Put a large pot, I use a 12 quart pot, on medium heat.  Add a few table spoons of olive oil. 

  2. Add the onions, celery, and jalapeno.  Saute for 10 minutes or until translucent. Save the green pepper for later.  

  3. Turn up the heat to medium high and add all of the ground meats.  Add Salt and Pepper.  Stir occasionally until browned throughout. 

  4. Add the garlic and all of the dry spices that are not already in the pot.  Stir in the spices.  Immediately add the tomato paste and stir in rigorously. 

  5. Then add all of the wet ingredients.  Start with the chicken stock and water first, then add all of the others. 

  6. Add the green peppers to the pot 

  7. Bring up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally. 

  8. Ladle any excess fat that has risen to the surface off the top.  Taste the chili to adjust the spice and salt level if needed. 

  9. Serve with any fixin's you typically like.  I love cilantro, so that is my go to herb for chili to give it some brightness. 

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Smoked Chuck Roast as a Brisket Alternative

sliced smoked chuck roast
smoked chuck roast

If you love a good smoked brisket, then you will love his smaller cousin, smoked chuck roast. I have heard of others smoking different cuts of beef as an alternative to brisket, including chuck roast, and I had to give this a try.  I love brisket, but it can be a large investment of time and money as well.  Usually you are going to pay at least $30 and more likely $50 for a good brisket.  I found this beautiful 2.5 lb chuck roast for $14.  Quite the steal, considering the highly marbled beef that will render down into tender delicious brisket like morsels.

Picking out a Chuck Roast to Smoke

When choosing your chuck roast, look for piece that is very thick and highly marbled with fat.  Most of the fat will disappear over the 10 hours it will take to smoke the chuck roast, so you want a good amount of fat in this cut of meat.  The key is finding awesome marbling, vs large veins or chunks of fat within the chuck roast.  Its OK to have some of the larger pieces of fat, as its hard to avoid… but look for the best cut with the best marbling.  The piece I found was 2.5 lbs, but try to get a thicker cut that is in the 3″ thick range….. giving you a starting weight of 3.5 lbs or more.

chuck roast with marbled fat
chuck roast with marbled fat

Preparing the Chuck Roast for Smoking

Because this is a smaller piece of meat, we are not going to cut any fat off of it.  This is subjective depending on your chuck roast, so make the call that you are most comfortable with.

Next, we are going to season the beef with a salty spicy rub that will soak into the chuck roast as we smoke it for 10 hours over indirect heat. This rub is on the spicier side, but it will mellow out over the duration of the cook.  The end result is nice back end heat with each bite.  If you do not care for any heat at all, then you can omit the jalapeno powder and cayenne pepper.  Either way, season the chuck roast heavily on the top and bottom and less heavily on the sides.

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Herb Garlic Flank Steak

garlic herb marinated flank steak

garlic herb marinated flank steak

Tonight we are making a herb garlic flank steak that is quick, easy, and delicious.  If you follow Seared & Smoked, you will know that flank steak is one of my favorite cuts of meat.  This is largely because it takes on flavor marinades quickly and ends up being a very tender steak when grilled properly.

The first step is to mix up the herb garlic marinade.  This marinade is inspired by Chimichurri, which is a South American sauce that you typically eat with your steak when served.  It requires a lot of fresh herbs, which is great during the growing season.  This herb marinated flank steak can be prepared year round, which is very convenient.  If you are not growing your own herbs, this recipe can save you a lot of money using items in your pantry, rather than spending $10 on required herbs at the store.


The key to starting the marinade is to mix up the dry ingredients in a bowl first and then add the 2 Tablespoons of hot water first.  Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then add the vinegar and olive oil.  The hot water will bring out the flavor of the herbs and the spice of the peppers, helping infuse the steak with all of the flavor we are looking for.

When prepared, spoon the marinade mixture on both sides of the steak and rub it into the steak with your hands.  Then let the steak marinade for 1 hour.  If in the fridge, pull out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling.  Just before throwing on the grill, I scrape off excess garlic & herbs from the marinade.



Grill for 3-4 minutes a side over high heat.  My gas grill is at 600 degrees when grilling steak.  Grilling times will vary depending on grill & temperature.  Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Cut against the grain of the flank steak, slicing 1/2″ thick pieces for serving.  You wind find this steak is….. Spicy, Herby, Tangy, Tender, and Delicious.   Give this recipe a try and comment on how it turns out.  I would love to hear your feedback.  Enjoy!

garlic herb marinated flank steak


Herb Garlic Marinated Flank Steak

A delicious garlic herb marinated flank steak that can be prepared for an easy dinner.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Latin
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2
Author Keegan


  • 1 lb Flank Steak

Herb Garlic Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


  1. Mix dry ingredients and garlic in bowl
  2. Add the hot water and mix. Wait 5 minutes
  3. Add vinegar & olive oil. Mix.
  4. Apply mixture to both sides of steak and work into steak with your hands.
  5. Marinade for 1 hour. Pull from fridge 30 minutes before grilling.
  6. Scrape off excess garlic & herbs before grilling

  7. Grill over high heat until desired temperature. Approximately 3-4 minutes for medium rare.
  8. Let rest for 5 minutes
  9. Slice against the grain in 1/2 inch thickness for serving.  Taste and a sprinkle of salt if needed. 

  10. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Flat Iron Chuck Steaks also work well with this recipe.  Leave red pepper out for less heat.


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Grilled Tri-Tip Roast


Tri-Tip sirloin is a tasty affordable cut of meat that can feed a whole family.  If prepared correctly it is tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor.  This marinated version will send you back to your butcher for another Tri-Tip soon after you try it.


IMG_8730 2

Because sirloin is not the most tender beef out of the package, we are going to marinate this tri-tip roast overnight to pack some tenderness and flavor into the roast.  Before marinating, take the tri-tip roast out of the package and cut off any large areas that are primarily fat around the edges of the beef.  Then, mix the marinade ingredients together in a large ziplock bag and  submerge the tri-tip in the marinade.  Place it in the fridge overnight, rotating it a few times if possible.

When ready to grill, fire up the grill to high heat, or over 500 F.  Place the tri-tip directly over the hottest portion of the grill and grill each side for 5 minutes.  This will develop a nice char on the meat.

Then turn down the grill to low (350 F) or place the tri-tip over indirect heat for another 5 minutes on each side.  If your tri-tip is over 1.5 inches, then you may need to grill it longer at this lower temperature.   The best way to check doneness is to take the temperature of the center with a meat probe or cut into the meat to check how red/pink the center is.  I take my tri-tips off the grill at 120 degrees.  When you are grilling over high heat and the cut of meat is not very thick, the temperature can change from 120 to 140 very quickly.  Error on the side of more rare, as you can alway place it back on the grill.

After you pull the tri-tip roast off the grill, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing the steak against the grain 1/2 inches thick.  Crack some fresh pepper and sprinkle a little salt over the freshly cut steak and enjoy!

4 from 1 vote

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast

A quick method to prepare a delicious tender Tri-Tip Sirloin Roast.  Quickly grilled for an easy meal. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, BBQ, Grilled
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 -4
Author Keegan


  • 2 lbs Tri-Tip Sirloin Steak

18-24 Hour Marinade

  • 2 Tablespoons Black Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Tablespoons Black Pepper


  1. Marinade Tri-Tip overnight
  2. Grill over high heat for 5 minutes on each side
  3. Grill over low heat or indirect heat for approximately 5 minutes on each side

  4. Check internal temperature of tri-tip and keep cooking if needed. I like to pull the tri-tip off at 125-130 F for a medium rare finish.  

  5. Let steak rest for 10 minutes and slice 1/2" thick against the grain

  6. Crack fresh pepper over the freshly sliced steak and sprinkle with salt lightly.
  7. Serve and enjoy!



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One Hour Marinade Grilled Flank Steak


Tonight I am making one of my favorite flank steak recipes.  It is quick, easy, and, most importantly, delicious every time. I am certifiably addicted to flank steak and this marinade elevates it to another level.

One great quality of flank steak is the ability to absorb marinade flavors quickly, making it a great weeknight meal or a good option when little planning is needed. You can throw the steak in the marinade when you get off work and have the steak on the grill an hour later.

OK, let’s get down to business.

The first step is to mix up the marinade. This is an Asian inspired recipe that enhances the natural flavor of the flank steak with a sweet and salty tangy goodness.

For 1-2 pounds of flank steak, mix up the following in a bowl:

  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons Chinese Black Vinegar (found in the asian section of the supermarket… well worth the effort to find)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil ( or any vegetable oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Place the steak in a Ziploc bag or any vessel you have that will allow the steak to submerge in the marinade. In this case I am using a little glass dish shaped like a pie. I have never made a pie with it, but it has marinaded about 100 steaks.


Flank steak taking a 1 Hour Bath in the Marinade

Let the steak marinade at room temperature for 30 min and then flip it one time to allow the marinade to work evenly. Pull the steak out of the marinade after about an hour. You can leave it in the marinade for up to 2 hours, but leave it in the fridge for the first hour. After taking it out of the marinade, grind some fresh pepper on each side. You want to see the pepper develop a nice texture on the meat. This will help develop a nice flavorful exterior crust when grilling at high heat.


Flank steak seasoned with additional fresh ground pepper before grilling.


This is the amount of pepper to aim for.

When you are marinating the steak, prepare the grill for high heat grilling.  You want temperatures in excess of 500 degrees F. The hotter the better. My gas grill is usually at 600 degrees when I prepare this.

When your steak is marinated and ready to go at room temperature, throw that sucker on the grill. For an average flank steak that is 3/4 inch thick, you are going to want to grill each side for 3-4 min over high heat. The goal is to cook the steak to medium or medium rare temperature. If you like your steak medium rare, go with 3 minutes a side. If you like your steak more done, go with 4 minutes a side or more.

Whatever you start with, use a good timer (iPhone) and keep a record of your cooking time and temperatures. If you do not get it quite right the first time, keep your grill temperature the same and adjust your cooking times for your next grill out.

on the grill

Always use a very hot grill for steak.

When you pull the steak off the grill you should have some nice grill marks and caramelization happening. If you do not, up the temp on your grill. This is what you are going for….


Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before carving and serving.


Perfect medium to medium rare flank steak.

Always wait 5 minutes before slicing 1/2 inch wide strips of beef.  Always cut against the grain when serving Flank Steak or Skirt Steak. Depending on how much salt you like, you may want a light sprinkle of salt before serving.  Enjoy!

One Hour Marinade Grilled Flank Steak

This tangy marinated flank steak is an easy meal that will impress anyone you cook for!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2 -4


  • 2 lbs Flank Steak about 1/2 lb per person

Steak Marinade for 1-2 of Flank Steak

  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons Chinese Black Vinegar found in the asian section of the supermarket... well worth the effort to find
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or any vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper


  1. Grind fresh pepper on both sides of steak and rub into steak
  2. Place flank steak in marinade for 1 hour.  Flip after 30 minutes to ensure marinated evenly. 

  3. Grill over high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove from the grill when internal temperature is at 130 F for medium rare.  

  4. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes

  5. Slice the steak into 1/2" slices against the grain of the meat and serve!