This Cowboy BBQ Beef, Bacon & Bean Chili is a hearty, stick to your ribs, chili packed with all the fixins’ whether you’re rustling up cattle on the range or the kiddos for practice.
Yes, another chili recipe folks – I’m in a ‘mood’ for chili. It’s winter here in Pittsburgh and last night it was butt cold. Like we’re talking single digits here. I just can’t do the cold weather any more; it just goes straight through me. And since I don’t like in Bora Bora or Arizona where’s always warm, I go for foods that warm me from the inside out. A few weeks ago I posted my Pumpkin Beef Chili which, has received RAVE reviews! Now if you still on the fence, just read the comments. Have faith and try it. I actually had someone make it as part of their Christmas dinner and LOVED it!
So this chili is completely different as well. It’s kind of like a cross between a stew and a chili with a hint of bbq. Should I call it a Stewli? What about Chilew? I had bought some boneless beef shoulder ribs a million years ago and stuck them in my freezer.
…to only be forgotten about for several months.
Do you do that too? Put something in the freezer only to forget about it only to find it later? It’s like a foodie Christmas! LOL
I took the ribs out, let them thaw and decided to pressure cook them in a bbq sauce. I rarely make ribs and such the “conventional” way (i.e, in the oven) any longer. I mean why bother when you get the most amazing flavors from the pressure cooker and in barely any time. Now that’s not to say I’d say get rid of the oven; God no. I’d be lost. And yes, there’s a certain depth of flavor you get from slow-braising meat in the oven that you can’t get from other cooking methods but 90% of the time, it’s match for match when it comes to pressure cooking.
Once the beef was done I took it out, let the sauce reduce and started to nibble on it. It was at that point Mr. Fantabulous came into the house from working and said “Damn it’s cold out there! Can you heat me up a bowl of chili?” I had made that pumpkin chili a few days prior. As I was heating up his chili I kept looking at the beef and realized that I never really made chili with shredded beef; only ever chicken, turkey or ground beef. I dipped a piece of the bbq chili beef in pumpkin chili and it didn’t “go” well together flavor-wise. The bbq sauce didn’t taste right with the sauce of the pumpkin chili but the textures together with the beans and meat were incredible!
And that’s when I decided to create.
Since the beef was already pressure cooked, I just took a wooden spoon to help break it up into smaller pieces. Out came the large chili pot, some onions and other stuff. As I was in my spice cabinet I immediately went for the chili powder and cumin then realized that I wasn’t making traditional chili. Now this was more rustic, bbq-y, hearty. I saw my Applewood spice seasoning blend on the shelf and knew that’s what I needed. As I was chopping stuff up I decided if I was going to make this truly hearty chili, that it needed potatoes in it (thus the stew-like quality) and for color more than anything, some corn.
And bacon – if this a hearty, bbq chili it NEEDS bacon. Bacon makes everything better!
Once I had everything in the pot, I put it to low and let it cook for about 90 minutes. Now one thing about this chili is you will need to stir about every 20 minutes. If you like a looser chili you can add more sauce or liquid to it. I, personally, love a heart chili that sticks to the spoon and almost to the point where you could use a fork to eat it. I’ve always been that way.
Plus I like chili that I can use tortilla chips to scoop up like I did below.
Speaking of scooping, I did have this a few days later as a dip for lunch (see below as well). AND OMG this chili on a burger with cheese and more bacon… seriously I ate 2 in one day it was so amazing! HOWEVER…
Mr. Fantabulous <big sigh> hated this chili. Like we’re talking took one bite, put it back and said, “No, no no no. that’s just all wrong! It tastes like bbq beef and beans. That’s NOT chili.” I just stood there with a grin and said “Oh awesome! That’s exactly what I was going for – bbq beef and beans! And it’s technically a chili babe and I personally love it.” He just respond with a “well don’t mix that stuff with MY chili. I like normal stuff.”
And by normal stuff he means – plain cheese pizza, plain burgers vs cheese burgers (yeah, he’s weird) and apparently regular chili though I did remind him by saying “Oh so you mean that ‘normal’ PUMPKIN chili that you love, huh?” lol my man-child I swear!
However *I* absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this chili! It’s definitely different from you traditional chili and has that huge bbq undertone but I think that’s why I love it. It’s unexpected and so thick and hearty.
And I’m sure you’re all wondering the whole “Cowboy” reference – why that? So we all have this tv vision of what cowboys are. They are full of grit, determination and hard word. They want something hearty, stick to the ribs and filling that will last them while they are all out on the range tending to the cattle and so forth. This is a sort of homage to them and the 9 million western movies I would watch with my Dad growing up. Everything had beef, beans and potatoes on it.
Who knows, maybe Ree Drummond will make this one day for her cowboys on the ranch and give me a shout out. But til then, I’ll just be sitting here eating a big ol’ bowl of this chili with my chips. FYI – Fritos are awesome as well with this! But then again, when aren’t they awesome?
1. When I make this I actually use the pressure cooker for the beef and a large heavy bottomed pot to make the chili. I know you can make chili in a pressure cooker but I find you don’t get that same depth of flavor that you do from cooking it on the stove for the 60-90 minutes.
2. If you really want to make this completely in the pressure cooker once your sauce reduces in Step one, add the chili ingredients (MINUS THE TOMATOES) to the pot, along with your beef, and stir. Then add the tomatoes (DO NOT STIR!) and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. You do not want to stir the tomatoes in for fear of scorching. Allow the pressure cooker to release
- 2-3 pounds boneless beef country-style ribs
- 1/2 cup Coke or water
- 1 cup bbq sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbl oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 40.5 ounce can of kidney beans (undrained)
- 1 16 ounce can black beans (undrained)
- 1 16 ounce can northern beans (undrained)
- 1 16 ounce can corn, drained
- 4 medium red potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 8 strips crispy bacon, cooked and rough chopped
- 1/2 cup bbq sauce
- 1 1/2 Tbl dutch cocoa
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (per your liking)
- 1-2 Tbl Applewood seasoning (See note)
- Green onion
- Shredded cheddar
- Sour cream
Pressure Cook the beef
- Set a pressure cooker to sauté, add 1 Tbl oil and sear the beef on all sides til browned. Shut the pressure cooker off. Add in 1/2 cup of Coke, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 cup bbq sauce to the beef. Pressure cook on meat (High) for 40 minutes. Allow a natural release for 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan, shred. Separate the fat from the liquid in the pot. Return the liquid back to the pot. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of bbq sauce and set to sauté. Reduce until thickened (about 15 minutes). While the sauce is reducing, use a wooden spoon to lightly break up the chunks of beef.
Make the Chili
- In a heavy-bottomed pot add 1 Tbl of oil. Place the pot on the stove, put the heat to medium, and add the olive oil to the pan. When the olive oil shimmers add the onion sautéing for 5 minutes or until the onions soften and start to turn translucent.
- To the pot add the tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beans (with liquid), rest of the seasonings and spices plus the beef, bacon and bbq sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a slow boil.
- Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and partially place a lid over top. Cook for 60-90 minutes stirring every 15/20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chili is thick.
- Remove the lid, stir and taste for seasoning. If the chili is too thick, add in a little bit of water or Coke.
- Serve with chopped green onions, shredded cheddar, sour cream and tortilla chips if desired.
- Refrigerate the rest or allow to cool completely prior to packaging up for freezer meals.
Applewood Spice Seasoning Rub
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbl smoked paprika
2 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
3 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process for 30 seconds.
2. Store the unused blend in an airtight container in a cupboard or pantry.