Brisket chili is a comforting, hearty meal perfect for using up leftover beef brisket in a cozy chili filled with beans, peppers and corn in a thick and chunky tomato base.
Chili lovers, where you at?
I’m over here with my hand raised high because I freakin’ love me some chili.
It’s probably one of my favorite things to make in the fall and winter and I never tire of it.
Chili can be customized and tweaked in so many ways for what you have on hand, it’s literally impossible for it to become boring!
This brisket chili recipe is perfect if, like me, you have lots of leftover brisket you need to use up!
Now, I know brisket is a controversial cut of meat in how it should be served.
Texans will argue the brisket itself must be smoked and a brisket chili shouldn’t have beans.
Well guess what? I’m not Texan and I’m not following their rules.
My brisket chili recipe doesn’t use smoked brisket, it uses Instant Pot brisket that does have a BBQ sauce involved but definitely didn’t spend hours in a smoker.
And, I add beans and corn to this recipe.
I’m sure any Texans reading this are rolling their eyes at my spin on brisket chili but, once you taste this cozy, meaty, comforting dish, I don’t think you’ll mind those additions one bit.
They add some heartiness (and nutrition!) to the chili and round it out nicely as an all-in-one meal.
HOW TO MAKE BRISKET CHILI
You can see how I cook it in my Instant Pot brisket web story.
And if you prefer to use veal instead of beef, leftover from this braised veal brisket will work just as well in the chili.
Every thing is made in one large pot. I suggest something like a 7 1/4 qt. Dutch oven so cooking and clean up is simple.
To a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.
Next, add the onions and cook until they soften a bit for a few minutes.
The chopped peppers and garlic go in next for a couple minutes. Then the leftover brisket and chili spices are added.
I use the following spices for my brisket chili:
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
Don’t discount the cinnamon, it’s a lovely complement to all the typical spicy tones!
While optional, I love adding a bit of leftover coffee to deglaze the brown bits on the bottom of the pan at this point. You can also use beer, broth or wine in its place.
The tomatoes, beans and green chiles are added next and everything is stirred together and then brought to a simmer.
Once the chili is simmering, cover the pot and let it cook over low heat for at least 45 minutes.
You can choose to cook it longer for deeper flavors and go up to 1.5 hours if desired.
Stir it a few times throughout the cooking process to avoid any burning to the bottom of the pot.
Uncover the pot, add the corn kernels and simmer uncovered for the last 10 minutes to finish cooking.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH LEFTOVER BRISKET CHILI
The garnishes I love on chili made with beef are:
- chopped ripe avocado
- chopped green onions
- fresh cilantro
- a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt
- shredded cheddar cheese
- crushed tortilla chips
Choose whichever ones you like.
I tend to think of chili a lot like smoothie bowls, the toppings can often be the best part!
And make sure to enjoy a piece of this classic vegan cornbread alongside your brisket chili!
SUBSTITUTIONS IN THIS BEEF BRISKET CHILI RECIPE
You can use whatever mix of beans you prefer or have on hand.
I use dark kidney and black beans in my version but other options would be pinto beans, light kidney beans, red beans, even chickpeas.
Or, like I do in my chocolate lamb chili recipe, use a tri-bean mix!
Just make sure to use the same amount (two 15 ounce cans) to keep the volume of ingredients consistent.
The type of canned tomatoes you choose to use impact the consistency and texture of the chili the most.
I like my chili somewhere in the middle of “saucy” and “textured” if that makes any sense so I use a combination of crushed tomatoes (which are more saucy) and diced tomatoes (which are more chunky/textured).
For saucy chili lovers: use crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes.
For chunky/textured chili lovers: use 28 ounces diced tomatoes and 14 ounces either crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
I prefer to use a yellow or orange Bell pepper as they’re a little sweeter in flavor than green and provide a nice contrast to the red tomatoes.
You can use whatever color pepper you prefer.
And, if you like things on the spicy side, add a jalapeño in there too!
Ah, the controversial corn…
If you’re really opposed to corn in your chili, omit it.
I like to use it in this brisket chili recipe because like the peppers, it adds a touch of sweetness to the chili without having to add an actual sweetner.
Plus, the more vegetables and variety I can add to my meals, the better!
Leftover brisket is one of my favorite kinds of leftovers to have in my fridge because there are just so many possibilities with all the spin-off recipes that can come of it.
But if a cool fall day or snowy winter storm hits and you catch the chili bug, this brisket chili is for you!
MORE CHILI RECIPES TO TRY:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large Bell pepper, yellow/orange, chopped
- 3 cups cooked shredded beef brisket
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup leftover black coffee, optional, can replace with broth, beer or wine
- 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- Place oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add peppers and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring so garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the leftover brisket and spices to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minutes until fragrant.
- Add coffee to the pot if using and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spatula or spoon.
- Add the tomatoes, green chiles and beans to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer uncovered.
- Once simmering, cover and cook for a minimum of 45 minutes up to 1 1/2 hours).
- Uncover, add the corn, stir and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with garnishes of your choice. (*see note)
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.