How to Make Bourbon-Spiked Chili
The hint of bourbon is subtle, but it packs just enough punch to set this delicious chili apart in a friendly neighborhood cook-off. Feel free to play around and tweak the ingredients below—after all, concocting the perfect chili is all about experimentation.
- approximately 3/4 cup Wild Turkey 101 proof bourbon
- 1 pound ground beef
- approximately 1 bowl of chopped spicy sausage
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 cup of beef broth
- 2 cans kidney beans
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- red pepper flakes to taste
Step 1 Gather Your Ingredients
I like to get everything organized before I begin.
Step 2 Chop the Onions and Garlic
Chop your onions and garlic semi-finely, and set aside in a bowl.
Step 3 Sauté
Add approximately 1/4 cup vegetable oil to a large cast iron pot, and set on medium to medium high heat. Once the oil starts heating up, toss in your onions and garlic.
Step 4 Add the Ground Beef
When the onions turn a warm yellow color, add your ground beef. Break up continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula. Make sure to cook evenly, stirring often.
Step 5 Add the Cooked Sausage
I used a delicious hickory-smoked Portuguese style sausage called "Silva Hot Linguica". I opted for fully-cooked sausage, but you can go for raw. If that's the case, you may want to add it at the same time as the ground beef—or you can skip the sausage all together.
Step 6 Add the Seasoning
If you're like me, you've doled out all your spices in the appropriate amounts ahead of time, and have them ready to toss in. Stir evenly.
Step 7 Add Tomatoes
Throw in your canned tomatoes and stir.
Step 8 Add the Bourbon and Beef Broth
Now it's time to add the bourbon and beef broth. I opted for Wild Turkey 101, tossing in 3/4 cup to start. I then added 1/2 cup of beef broth, and tasted. It wasn't there yet, so I added another 1/2 cup of beef broth, and a swig of Wild Turkey. I recommend starting with less, and adding more as you go.
Step 9 Simmer for 40 Minutes
Time for the ingredients to begin fusing together.
Step 10 Taste Test
Toss in some salt and pepper to taste. Does it need red pepper flakes? Is the bourbon too strong? (And you're complaining... why?) But seriously, if it is, try adding more beef broth to dilute.
Step 11 Add the Kidney Beans
I saved this step for last to avoid the risk of soggy, mushy beans. Toss them in, and stir. Let sit for another 10 minutes or so, simmering.
- The art of chili is all about ad lib. In the end, I thought it could use more tomato flavor, so I added a few spoonfuls of tomato paste.