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Ultimate Chilli Con Carne

If there’s one recipe that our Chipotle Paste lends itself perfectly too, it has to be this ultimate chilli con carne recipe. With melt-in-your-mouth chunks of slow-smoked chuck steak and freshly baked cornbread hiding tasty nuggets of charred sweetcorn inside, this wonderful recipe is very much of the second variety and you need to give it a go! If you have got three hours to spare you should check out our easy to make chilli con carne.

We teamed up with Big Green Egg to make a selection of tasty dishes which lend themselves perfectly to being cooked on their amazing ceramic barbecues. Be sure to check out our other Big Green Egg recipes.

  • Prep time

    1 hour

  • Cook time

    3 hours

  • Total time

    4 hours

  • Ideal for


  • Make it


  • Serves


How to make it

  1. Get Big Green Egg to 200C and set up for indirect cooking with plate setter and cast iron/stainless steel grill in place (you may want to cover your plate setter with tin foil to protect it). Achieve this heat by having the top vent closed, with the daisy wheel fully open. The bottom vent should be open about 3 fingers’ width. You could also do this in a normal oven.
  2. Soak cornmeal/polenta in buttermilk, stir and leave while you prepare the chilli con carne.
  3. Lightly cover red peppers and 6 (of the 12) tomatoes with a little olive oil and place on grill, closing the lid (take care to burp your egg at these temperatures!).
  4. Lightly cover beef in olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Place beef chunks on the grill (or a griddle/frying pan) with peppers/tomatoes and get some good colour all over. This should take around 10 minutes, turning every now and again.
  6. Remove when browned all over and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Reduce heat of Big Green Egg to 180C by closing the bottom vent about a fingers’ width.
  7. Once heavily charred all over, remove peppers and tomatoes and place in a bowl with a plate over. Leave to cool.
  8. Brew some strong coffee.
  9. Toast spices in a dry pan (you can do this on the Big Green Egg or on the hob). When toasted and releasing a nice aroma (about 2 or 3 minutes), grind to a fine powder in a food processor/spice grinder.
  10. Meanwhile, finely chop red onions and thinly slice garlic cloves.
  11. Add a little olive oil to a large cast iron pan and add the onions. Place on the Big Green Egg and leave to cook for 20 minutes, or until nicely softened, stirring every 5 minutes.
  12. Add the garlic and the roughly chopped oregano leaves. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  13. Cut beef into large chunks (retain any juices that escape while resting/cutting).
  14. Remove skins, seeds and stalks from peppers. Remove skins from tomatoes.
  15. Place in a blender with toasted ground spices, Chipotle Paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and tomato puree. Blend to a smooth sauce.
  16. Before adding this to the onion/garlic, you could place some wood chips/chunks (wrapped in tin foil with holes pricked all over) onto the hot coals to produce some smoke to flavour the cooking chilli con carne.
  17. Add sauce to the pan along with the beef, any meat juices, the roughly chopped remaining 6 tomatoes, coffee, chicken stock, pinto beans (along with their water), dark sugar and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  18. Cook uncovered for 3 hours before checking beef. Remove a piece, let it cool slightly and try pulling it apart with your fingers. If it comes apart easily it is done. If not, give it some more time.
  19. While it cooks, you can char the corn on the cob for the cornbread. Cover each ear in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and place on the grill beside cooking chilli con carne. This should take around 15 minutes to get golden and slightly charred all over (turn it now and again).
  20. Crack on with preparing the cornbread while the chilli cooks. Remove corn from the cob. Place in a large mixing bowl with cornmeal/buttermilk, 2 beaten eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  21. You could also make guacamole while you wait!
  22. If you have enough room in your Big Green Egg, you can cook the cornbread (this will depend on the size and shape of the pans you’re using; see below for instructions). If not, wait until the chilli is cooked.
  23. Remove pan from Big Green Egg and keep aside, covered while you make the cornbread.
  24. Add the butter/ghee (we used ghee as it doesn’t burn as easily) to the pan and place it in the Big Green Egg. You’re aiming to get the pan nice and hot. Leave it for 10 minutes to get up to temperature.
  25. Pour batter into hot pan and lower lid. Cook for around 20 minutes before checking. Remove when golden on top and firm in the middle (a knife will come out clean when done).
  26. If looking to up the flavour even more, once your cornbread has cooled, you can slice it and place on the cast iron grill to lightly toast it.
  27. Serve on the side with chilli con carne, sour cream, a sprinkle of roughly chopped oregano, some finely sliced fresh chillies and some freshly made guacamole.

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