Slow-Cooker Texas Chili

Summer, where did you go?

I enjoyed having you around.  I liked the bright sunshine and the endless outdoor events.  I liked the cute summer dresses I got to wear.  I liked the warm breezes that blew past me in the evening.

I didn't like the stifling, humid days that turned (several of) my cupcake attempts into mush.  I didn't like the way you made me sweat in places I really don't want sweat.  I didn't like the endless block parties across the street from me which threatened to only end after 3am.

But now your cooler counterpart is here: Fall.  Welcome.  You are my favorite.

NFL football has started again.  I can wear sweats with wild abandon. Pumpkin coffee is back at Dunkin Donuts.  Nuff said.

And now that I am thoroughly satisfied with the weather, I can sit down on the couch (in sweats, of course), watch some quality fall television programs, and chow down on a bowl of smoky, spicy chili.  More specifically, some Slow-Cooker Texas Chili. 

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili
slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine
yields 4 servings*

Print Recipe

  • 2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes**
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 4.5 oz cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground (cayenne) red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dark beer
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • sliced scallions, fresh cilantro, and/or sour cream for topping

**I would recommend trimming as much of the fat off the meat as possible (as you will see, I didn't do this...)

1) Place the beef in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon salt.

2) Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan over medium-high heat.  Sear the beef on all sides.  You will probably need to do this in several batches.

3) Remove the beef from the pan and place it in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.

4) Lower the heat underneath the pan to medium.  Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

5) Stir in the garlic, chiles, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes.

6) Pour in 1 1/2 cups dark beer (I used Sam Adams Octoberfest) and the tomatoes.  Allow the mixture to come to a simmer for about 3 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

7) Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker.

8) Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

9) Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the chili.

10) Serve with scallions, cilantro, and/or sour cream for toppings.


Save 3-4 cups of chili for a Chili Corn Casserole that I'm posting soon on the blog!  If you don't plan on saving any chili for this dish, then you'll probably get another 2-3 servings out of this recipe.


This chili was different from most chilis I've had before.  In a good way.  There weren't the usual distractions from the meat, such as beans and other fillers, so I could really focus on how spicy, tender, and hearty the beef was.  I think there was a bit too much liquid in the chili once it was done.  So maybe I'd 1/2 cup to a cup less beer when making this again.  But otherwise, no complaints.  Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle scallions and cilantro over the chili and you get a perfectly comforting fall meal.