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Brisket and Bean Chili

Scott Phillips

Servings: four to six.

Chunks of leftover brisket make this chili much more interesting than one made with ground beef. If you don’t have time to cook beans, skip that step and use 3 cups drained and rinsed canned beans instead.


For the beans:

  • 1 cup dried pinto or kidney beans
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt

For the chili:

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs. ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 12-oz. bottle lager beer (such as Corona)
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 lb. leftover brisket, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups), plus 1-1/2 cups leftover brisket juices
  • Dash balsamic or red wine vinegar (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 140
  • Fat (g): 16
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 40
  • Sodium (mg): 1240
  • Carbohydrates (g): 45
  • Fiber (g): 12
  • Protein (g): 35


Prepare the beans:

  • In a medium bowl, soak the beans in enough water to cover by at least 2 inches, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain the beans and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water by about 1 inch. Add the onion, garlic, and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Add 1 tsp. salt and continue to simmer until tender, about 30 minutes more. Drain and set aside.

Make the chili

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and pale gold, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, beer, and tomato paste.
  • Add the brisket and its juices, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the meat is meltingly tender and the sauce is flavorful, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar, if the chili needs some acidity for balance.
  • Serve the beans on the side, or stir them into the chili and simmer for about 15 minutes before serving.

The garnishes are half the fun. Serve with warm corn tortillas, sour cream, sliced avocado, salsa, and minced onion and cilantro. If you’re not from Texas, you may want to serve rice with the chili.


If you can’t find ground ancho chile powder, use regular chili powder instead and reduce the oregano and cumin to 1-1/2 tsp. each. Add cayenne to taste.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • Cybi | 12/28/2009

    I didn't follow the recipe to a T... I added some extra chile powder, honey, and a tablespoon each of balsamic and red sherry vinegar. When serving, I also grated some manchego cheese on top then added a few jalapeno pepper slices.So four stars... But my version... FIVE!

  • KateMac | 11/06/2009

    This is a good use for leftover brisket, but the recipe was a bit too sweet for my taste.

  • faye49 | 10/02/2009


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