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Beef + Bacon Chili

  • Author: zenbelly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: beef


  • 6 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into lardons (sliced cross-wise for 1-inch by 1/8-inch slices)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • sea salt (1 teaspoon plus a big pinch) 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle¹
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne¹
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 12-ounce can beer (gluten-free or regular) or 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced, optional¹
  • 2 14-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans if you used dry beans)

for serving: 

  • corn chips
  • grated cheese
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • diced green or red onions


  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard (or save for another use) all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat – enough to coat the pan.
  2. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook until softened and browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until golden and fragrant, 30 seconds or so.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beef, breaking it up with a spatula white it cooks until most of the pink is gone.
  4. Turn the heat back down to medium and mix the coconut sugar, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, ground chipotle, cayenne if using, and cinnamon. Being careful to not let the spices or tomato paste burn, cook while stirring constantly for about a minute. This cooks out some of the bitterness in the spices and intensifies the flavor of the tomato paste.
  5. Add the roasted peppers, beer, and diced tomatoes, along with 1 teaspoon of salt, the cooked bacon, and the beans. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn the heat to low. Cook the chili at a low simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. If cooking on a very low heat, you can let it cook for quite a while longer if you’d like.
  6. Serve with desired toppings. 


¹ How spicy the chili should be is a very personal thing. I like it to be spicy enough where I want to have to add sour cream to cool it down. The ingredients with the ¹ in the quantities listed will yield a chili as spicy as I like it, but start on the low end and adjust to taste for your preferences!

Keywords: chili, beef and bacon chili