Award Winning Smoked Brisket Chili (recipe and video)

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Got leftover brisket? Make this Smoked Brisket Chili! Recipe and video tutorial for our favorite chili recipe of all time. This chili recipe has won dozens and dozens of chili cook-off awards for both us and our Vindulge community.

We’re also answering all of your controversial questions and concerns regarding this Smoked Brisket Chili! Check it out. 

Smoked Brisket Chili in a dutch oven

There is a reason this is one of the most popular brisket chili recipes on the web. Not only does it use tender and amazing leftover brisket, it also adds layers of flavor with a delicious braising liquid. It’s been submitted to hundreds of chili competitions and one best chili recipe in many of these competitions throughout the country. And yes – there are beans in this chili. If you are a no-beans kind of person – leave them out or check out our Texas chili.

“I’ve made this chili a handful of times now at home and it’s so good, that sometimes I smoke brisket with the express idea that I’ll have enough left over to make this chili because it is sooooo good.
Today was the first time I’ve had a chance to have it in a cook off (at my church) and while it was a small competition, it won handily…
Thank you for the recipe… he’s legitimately the best chili I’ve ever had… let alone made. Love it so much!”

-Steve

Background

Go ahead and insert your jokes about “who the heck has leftover brisket” 😉

I’ve heard them all. The thing is, after tasting this brisket you may start smoking a brisket JUST to make this chili. It’s happens. True story.

In fact we hear from readers all the time who smoke briskets just so they can enter this exact recipe in chili competitions, and guess what? They’ve all won!

Smoked Brisket Chili in a crockpot

We’ve been making this recipe for years. In fact, it was one of the top recipes on my site until those Pork Belly Burnt Ends took the lead on top hits. Pretty rough competition if you ask me! They’re both friggin’ amazing.

We’ve taken that recipe and given it a makeover. This was also the base to our award winning brisket nachos that won Traeger’s first Meat Madness competition back in 2015.

Leftover Brisket – The Main Ingredient

Now, every time I post the video the comments are already rolling in….

“Leftover brisket? What is that?”

“There’s no such thing as leftover brisket.”

“Who has leftover brisket?” they ask.

Brisket cooking on a pellet smoker

Well I’ll tell you who! 

WE DO!

And also …

  • People who want to try their hands at their very first brisket and maybe it didn’t come out perfect. (been there!)
  • People who have a an undying mission to constantly perfect their brisket game. (we totally understand!)
  • People who wanted to smoke a brisket for the 4th of July… and also a pork butt, and 4 racks of ribs, and 5 lbs of chicken, and a whole salmon… for 10 people. (been there too)
  • A family of 4 who are having mad cravings for brisket but don’t feel like inviting company over. (I’m just over here raising my hand, again!)
  • A wife who challenged her husband to a brisket cook-off just to see who could do it better. (it happens, and I won)

All I’m saying is, leftover brisket happens. It’s a real thing! And it’s okay if you have leftover brisket. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t let the BBQ police bring you down. And if this should happen to you, make yourself some chili!!!

Brisket Chili in a dutch oven

Additional Ingredients for Brisket Chili

Now let me tell you a few more things about this chili that may piss you off.

  • There are beans in it! (Sorry, Texas. Recognize we don’t call it a Texas chili. We live in Oregon, and here we like to live dangerously.  😉
  • There is also corn in it!!!!!! (The horror!!)
  • And guess what. You can choose what you want and don’t want in it! That’s the great thing about it. YOU get to pick and choose.

Let me explain.

What to add to Smoked Brisket Chili with Leftover Brisket

  • Leftover brisket: Jokes aside, it’s a major flavor component of this chili, and we use at least 3 cups. We’ve also made it with other smoked beef leftovers (like Tri Tip), or even leftover pulled pork, and it turns out fantastic.
  • Beans: I like a mix of beans and I happen to have a bunch of beans in my house at all times. I like a mix, usually black and kidney. You can go all black, all kidney, or none at all. If you’re not into beans, by all means leave them out! But I’m feeding a family here and like to sneak in all proteins where I can.
  • Corn: Unlike many other chili recipes there is no added sugar in this recipe. The corn adds some natural sweetness without adding sugar. Also my kids, who used to love all things corn, will now only eat it two ways (grilled on the cob, or in this chili). So I’m doing the good mom thing by getting them their veggies while enjoying a darn good bowl of chili.

Equipment

The primary piece of equipment you need is a large enough Dutch oven. We use a 7.5 quart Lodge Dutch oven because it can handle the volume.

Brisket Chili Recipe Steps

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for later. If there is excess bacon grease remove it, otherwise cook the onions in it.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add bell pepper and garlic; cook 1 additional minute to soften.
  3. Add the leftover cubed brisket and all dry seasonings. Let cook 1 minute stirring often. Get those seasonings integrated!
  4. Add beer and allow it to deglaze the pan and cook off the alcohol (about 1-2 minutes). Then add chipotle, coffee, tomatoes, beans, corn, green chili, and the reserved bacon.
  5. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and cook for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer it cooks the more integrated and concentrated the flavors get. My recommendation is at least an hour (or better yet two) for a nice rich chili. If the stew starts to get too thick, you can add water ½ cup at a time to thin it out.

How long to cook Brisket Chili

The Timing: We recommend you simmer as long as you have the patience for. Minimum is 30 minutes. It’s totally okay if you only have 30 minutes for this chili. The brisket is already cooked, so it’s really allowing everything to come together.

BUT, if you have time, let the chili simmer 2 hours. Or transfer it to your crock pot and let it cook on low for a few hours. The meat will break down and get more and more tender and the flavors will get better and better and slowly, very slowly, reduce and concentrate the flavors.

Chili in a bowl with a spoonful of brisket

That’s it.

Brisket Chili Toppings

You can add anything you want. We like the keep it simple with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chives.

Scaling Up The Recipe

This brisket chili recipe serves a hearty 6 portions for a full meal.

If you want to scale this up then use the calculator next to the portions to adjust up and follow the recipe changes as noted. The only exception is to start with smaller amounts of chili powder. Use the original portion of 3 tablespoons then adjust up in one tablespoon increments if making anything more than a double batch. The chili powder can get intense if adding too much.

Meat Substitutions

If you don’t have brisket then another great option is smoked chuck roast. Or you can use short ribs. Both will shred versus be chunky. If you want cubes then consider sirloin cut into 1-inch cubes.

Making Ahead and Storage

You can make this chili up to two days prior to serving and simply bring back to a low simmer and serve.

If you have leftovers it will last in the refrigerator an additional 3 days.

About Chili Spices and Chili Seasoning

Our recipe is specific to our palate. Spices like chili powder will vary in flavor and potency depending on the brand. Some will be dark, some light, some spicy, some smoky. It comes down to feeling comfortable in adjusting the recipe for your flavor. We use bulk chili powder, which is a combination of dried chili’s like ancho, jalapeño, serrano, and others, and we buy it at our local restaurant supply store.

Cumin is another ingredient that people may love or hate, or love to hate. Cumin adds an earthy character, if you are not a fan feel free to not add or to cut the portion in half.

I hope you enjoy our favorite chili as much as we do (oh, and all of the people who voted for it and made it an award-winning chili!).

Other Chili Recipes

We have several amazing chili recipes from chicken chili to ground beef chili. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • The Ultimate Vegetarian Chili – We based our vegie chili off of this very recipe and it’s getting rave reviews.
  • Smoked Turkey Chili – Add the flavors of serrano peppers and you have a vibrant and amazing chili recipe using ground turkey.
  • Green Chili Turkey – The perfect leftover turkey recipe with a delicious and creamy broth based chili.
  • Authentic Texas Chili – Spicy peppers and meat. No beans. This is the indulgent Texas Chili you want.

Want More Leftover Brisket Recipes?

We have an entire roundup of our favorite brisket leftover ideas. But here are a few of our favorites.

Four photos of different stages of Brisket

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

cookbook cover

Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook


“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review

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4.53 from 217 votes

Smoked Brisket Chili Recipe (recipe and video)

Award-Winning Smoked Beef Brisket Chili. The perfect use for leftover brisket. You’re going to love this! 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 cups leftover smoked beef brisket, cut up into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon canned chipotle in adobo sauce**, (or the equivalent in dry chipotle seasoning, adjust amount to your heat preference. A little goes a long way)
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 12 oz bottle beer
  • ¼ cup coffee,, (cold leftover coffee from your morning pot)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed (used a standard 15 oz can)
  • ½ can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (used a standard 15 oz can)
  • ½ can corn, drained and rinsed (used a standard 15 oz can), (may also use 1 cup of grilled corn)
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chili

Instructions 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, sauté bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for later. If there is excess bacon grease remove it, otherwise cook the onions in it.
  • Add onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add bell pepper and garlic; cook 1 additional minute to soften.
  • Add the leftover cubed brisket and all dry seasonings. Let cook 1 minute stirring often. Get those seasonings integrated!
  • Add beer and allow it to deglaze the pan and cook off the alcohol (about 1-2 minutes). Then add chipotle, coffee, tomatoes, beans, corn, green chili, and the reserved bacon.
  • Bring to a low simmer, cover, and cook for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer it cooks the more integrated and concentrated the flavors get. My recommendation is at least an hour (or better yet two) for a nice rich chili. If the stew starts to get too thick, you can add water ½ cup at a time to thin it out.

Video

Notes

Note on the spicy seasonings: I’ve received some feedback that this can turn out a bit spicy! Not all dry spices are created equal. The fresher the dry spices the more potent they tend to be. So if your dry chili or chipotle seasonings are rather fresh or new, then they will be more potent. My tablespoon of dry seasoning may be different than your tablespoon of the same spice.
So if you’re sensitive to spice go easy on the spicy spices at first. You can always add more later! I find that chipotle and cayenne tend to add the most heat. So go easy on them and add slowly.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 351mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2255IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: barbecue, bbq, fall food, tailgating
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 275
Keyword: beef brisket chili, best chili recipes, leftover brisket recipes, Smoked brisket chili
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!


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Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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123 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this! We had leftover smoked brisket and some par cooked local Skagit corn in the freezer. Made a loaf of jalapeño cheddar bread to go with. I’ll be saving extra brisket just for this chili. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    This is awesome! Of course I customized as I went along, but only by adding whole cans and extra Chipotle. I am curious if this recipe would benefit from the natural cocoa I add to my usual chili recipe. Thoughts on cocoa and cinnamon?

    1. Daniel – Awesome feedback. You can definitely add cinnamon and cocoa to give it more of that Cincinnati chili feel. I think it comes down to your flavor preference. That style of chili also has ground beef. But I think that flavor would make a nice rich base like a mole sauce.

  3. 5 stars
    Mary, You are a mind reader We are exactly:
    “A family of 4 who are having mad cravings for brisket but don’t feel like inviting company over.”

    Used most of the flat off a 16lb packer, adjusted recipe accordingly. Thanks for this well constructed delicious recipe. Put this all in the slow cooker on low for hours, amazing.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you SO much for posting this recipe! During summer, made a full brisket but the flat ended up a bit too dry for our liking. I just chopped it up very small, 1/4″ pieces, and threw it in the freezer saying “I’ll make chili or something with it this Fall.” Used this recipe as written and it was amazing!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the wonderful recipe! The seasoning was the perfect amount of spice…so flavorful!

  6. Any advice on making a very large batch? I’ve got a large gathering to make a batch for, so I multiplied the 6 servings five times to 30 servings. I’ll definitely be careful with the spices and adjust slowly. How many lbs of beef would this come to? Looking forward to this!!

    1. Daniel, great question. Is this the only item being served? I ask because when we cater if this was the only item and maybe some cornbread we would definitely multiply generally by six portions or run two pots of three portions each. Two pots give you more control to fine tune the spices per batch. And for brisket total, the three cups of cooked brisket it typically just over a pound. So six pounds of cooked brisket would be a lot. So you could get away with 4 pounds and then add if you want more of the meat.

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this chili a handful of times now at home and it’s so good, that sometimes I smoke brisket with the express idea that I’ll have enough left over to make this chili because it is sooooo good.
    Today was the first time I’ve had a chance to have it in a cook off (at my church) and while it was a small competition, it won handily. (And this time, thanks to brisket being crazy expensive right now here, I bought chuck roast and smoked it like a brisket with the intent of using it just for the chili… and still was amazing)

    Thank you for the recipe… he’s legitimately the best chili I’ve ever had… let alone made. Love it so much!

  8. This recipe looks amazing and I will be trying it next weekend. I was looking to legitimize a recipe I have from a local restaurant in WI that has the SAME RECIPE AS THIS (like, no coincidence, the ingredients are in the same order), except it calls for the tomato sauce, tomato juice, and also bloody mary mix. Crazy…
    Anyway, excellent recipe, no matter who saw who’s, and here’s a link to their spinoff/original:
    foxcitiesmagazine.com – smoked-brisket-chili

    1. Jeff,

      Thanks so much for sharing! I can see in that link that the recipe actually uses one of our photos and is an almost complete copycat of our recipe….so I’ll be sure to ask them for photo credit. And I am sure the added tomato juice and bloody mary adaptation is an interesting one! We know some restaurants have reached out to us about using some of our recipes for their own dishes or inspired by. So I am not surprised to see this especially since the original publishing date for the recipe is 2013. We restyled it in 2017.

  9. 5 stars
    Holy [REDACTED], is this chili good! We smoked a brisket a couple of days ago—a big one—and had quite a lot left over (and I nearly forgot!) I happened to have everything on hand to make this, so have it a shot and HOT DANG, it is amazing.

    I made a double batch and used two bottles of Yuengling lager, had only half the smoked paprika needed (I subbed in Hungarian hot for the rest), and added probably double the chipotles in adobo (we don’t fear heat around here). It’s only been simmering for about half an hour so far and it’s already incredible; I can only imagine how good it’ll be by dinner time!! Thank you!

  10. 4 stars
    I call this, “I wouldn’t go any more spicy” Chili

    The chipotle in adobo wasn’t specificied for an entry point, so I assumed it went with dry seasonings? Initially I held it back as taste testing showed it was acridly hot. I subbed in 40z “canned chipotle sauce” which had a delicious flavor and a good medium-low heat. After starting the simmer I taste tested, it wasn’t nearly as spicy as I imagined.. so I dipped in one pepper from the Chipotle in adobo sauce and let it ride out the simmer (also unclear was how to use this in the recipe, called for 1/2 tbsp, but they’re whole peppers)

    The end results was a good solid medium spicy chili that would be tamed by toppings and crackers. I see no need for pain to improve taste, so really hit a happy spot for myself.. I’ll probably omit the whole pepper making it for others again.

    Great recipe, I’ve eaten a lot of chili, but this is the first one I’ve done from scratch!