Texas Slow-Cooker Chili

For years I have made my Chili con Carne using ground beef as a shortcut. While delicious, I have wanted to make a more authentic chili.  My first attempt in February used too much chili powder; 6 tablespoons, and was too runny.

Today marks my second try. Last night I precut the beef chuck into 1-1/2″ cubes, so that I could begin cooking my Texas Chili at 7AM. First, I sauteed three diced onions, eight cloves of garlic, and bloomed the spices in a skillet. Then after 15 minutes I added tomato puree.  Finally I added all the remaining ingredients to the slow-cooker and let it cook on low for 11 hours.

12 hours in the making, and the kids wouldn't eat it. Too much adobo.

The result: only 3-star chili. The beef was tender. I was happy to include kidney beans, and the soy sauce was an interesting addition. But the 1/4 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce was overpowering, and didn’t provide any heat. I would recommend abandoning the chioptle (unless you love its distinctive smokey flavor) and use an equal amount of fresh Jalapenos. Unfortunately, this was one of the few recipes that my kids wouldn’t eat.


  1. While the recipe called for a range of 1/8 and 1/4 cup of chioptle in adobo sauce, it said to use the upper amount for spicy chili. But even this upper amount didn’t have any heat, but did overpowered the other flavors.  Next time I’m skipping the adobo altogether.
  2. On the plus side: Adding garnishes of sour cream and guacamole did help to offset the harsh adobo flavor.
  3. I soak my dried beans overnight, instead of using canned beans. But the temperature in the slow-cooker was too low to cook all the beans. A few came out too crunchy; apparently dried beans must be par-cooked.
  4. This was also a rather expensive dish. Of the 6-1/2 pounds (at $3/lb), I threw more than 2-pounds of excess fat and bones away.

Rating: 3-star.
Cost: $26.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 7 AM. Dinnertime 7 PM.


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