Smoky Slow-Cooked Chili

One of my favorite fall foods is chili. Maybe it's the crisp cool weather. Or perhaps it's the comfort of having a large pot available as we watch our football games. Regardless, I love that there are so many recipes out there to try! This time, I gave this Smoky Slow-Cooked Chili recipe a whirl. Ground pork and pork shoulder slow cook in a simmering mix of bell pepper, garlic, onions, tomatoes, beans, beer, ham hock, tomato sauce and spices for a delicious smoky flavor...

Most chili recipes I've made involved beef but this one is specifically pork. Ground pork and pork shoulder are used. It's extremely flavorful - thanks to the blend of spices and ham hock - and despite the list of ingredients, it really is easy and quick to put together. Besides, it's a slow cooker recipe and it's hard not to love the little effort needed as it cooks on its own for hours!

Smoky Slow-Cooked Chili
recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • 3 cups chopped onion 
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped green bell pepper 
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12oz bottle lager-style beer (such as Budweiser) 
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • bay leaves
  • (15-ounce) can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • (7 3/4-ounce) can Mexican hot-style tomato sauce (such as El Paso)
  • smoked ham hock (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • pico de gallo salsa
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • diced red tomatoes

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to slightly crumble. Drain well and transfer pork to an electric slow cooker.
  2. Coat pan with cooking spray again. Add pork shoulder; cook 5 minutes to sear until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to slow cooker.
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray one more time. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. 
  4. Add chili powder, and next 9 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or until meat is tender. 
  5. Remove and discard bay leaves and ham hock. Stir in sugar. 
  6. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with assorted toppings as desired.

  7. Note: You can also cook the chili in a slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. For cooking chili on the stovetop, use a total of 12 ounces beer and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pork shoulder is tender.

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