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Smokey Beef and Bacon Chili

From the kitchen of the Washoe Winnies of Nevada

Serves 6, about an 1 ¼ hours to prepare

  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 T plus 1 ½ t chili powder (Use less if you don't like spicy chili)
  • 1 ½ t ground cumin
  • 1 ½ t sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • ½ t to 1 ½ t cayenne pepper (Use the smaller amount if you don't like spicy chili)
  • About 1 t salt
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes or regular crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle flavorful, medium-bodied beer, such as Anchor Steam (any dark beer works)
  • 1 t Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained
  • Sour cream, sliced green onions, and/or coarsely shredded cheddar cheese for topping


1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring until it just begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion, lower heat to medium, cover, and cook, stir- ring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 7 minutes. Uncover pan, stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute.

2. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef; break it up with a wooden spoon and stir gently until it loses its raw color, 7 minutes. Stir in spices and 1 tsp. salt and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook 30 minutes.

3. Add beans and cook 10 minutes, uncovered. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm, with toppings on the side.