Chili con Carne for a Crowd (updated)

I published this awhile ago. My chili recipe has always been flexible, in that it changed every time I make it. My last batch was so good that I felt the need to update this post. There are minor changes to the amounts and process (small beef cubes instead of ground, less liquid, etc.).

I hope you enjoy it. I also scale it down for smaller crowds. Please let me know if you try it and how it turns out. Thanks. BZ

Every Christmas Eve for over 20 years, Gretchen and I host a dinner party for friends and family. The group can be quite large (up to 30 guests) and is a blast. I (almost) always have made a huge pot of Chili to warm everyone up. Gretchen makes a separate pot of soup, guests bring wine and beer, and we have a grand time. Every year the chili was different because I made it up as I went along.

A few years ago I felt that it was time to start documenting what I did so I could improve the recipe from year to year. This recipe has been developed over several years and will feed 25 hungry folks as long as you also provide sourdough rolls, salad, and beer. If you are feeding a smaller group get out the calculator and scale it down.

You will need two large pots!!


½        cup                  Olive Oil

8 or 9   lbs                   Beef cut into approx. 1/2 inch chunks

5          each                Onion large diced

16       cloves              Garlic small diced

4          each                Green Pepper

1          each                Jalapeno small diced

¼         cup                  Pasilla Pepper small diced

4          each                Beer (12 oz bottle) (I usually use Fat Tire Ale, but have also used Guinness)

6          packets          Concentrated Beef Stock (I used Trader Joes)

45       oz                    Crushed Tomato

2          can                  Black Beans (15 oz)

2          can                  Pinto Beans (15 oz)


2          can                  Cut Green Beans (15 oz)

2          can                  Corn (8 oz)

1          pkg                  Mushrooms

1          can                  Black Olives Sliced (small)

2          can                  Diced Mild Chiles (small)

Spice Mix

1 ¼     cup                  Chili Powder

½        cup                  Hot Chili Powder (Chipolte)

4 ½     tbl                   Ground Cumin

4 ½     tbl                   Sugar

3          tbl                   Ground Oregano

3          tbl                   Ground Coriander

2          tsp                   Cayenne Pepper

2          tsp                   Red Pepper Flakes

2          tsp                   Black Pepper

To Taste                     Salt (2 to 3 tbl)


Crema, 2 bunches green onions, sharp cheddar cheese, sliced pickled jalapenos


  1. Cut up the garlic, onion, and peppers, divide into two piles, add some spice mix, and sauté until it is fragrant and slightly soft.
  2. Remove most of the cooked veggies from the pot and set aside (leaving a few to add flavor to the ground beef while it browns).
  3. Brown the ground beef, adding a little of the spice mix.
  4. When the beef is cooked, add the veggies back in, the remainder of the spice mix, and some salt (don’t overdo it) and stir until it all thickens.
  5. Add the beer and continue cooking until the volume of beer is reduced by half.
  6. Add the beef broth and the tomatoes and stir thoroughly.
  7. Add the beans and extras and simmer for 2 hours.
  8. Taste periodically. Add salt to taste.

You can leave out the extras (green beans, corn, mushrooms, etc.). However give it a try at least once with them. I guarantee that you will like it.

So, have fun making this. I always do. I start cooking around noon. Get it going and fill up the kitchen with the smell of onions, garlic, peppers, beer, and beef. Getting it done early allows the flavors to co-mingle and always makes it better. And no matter what you do, it will be better as leftovers the next day (assuming there are any).

So enjoy and it with friends, beer, and wine. Cheers.

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