Texas-Style Chili with Pork and Brisket

Texas-style chili with pork and brisket isn’t your ordinary chili, ya’ll. It’s loaded with all the best stuff—bacon, smoked pork butt, smoked brisket, beer, and tequila. Yeah, it’s all in there. Plus chiles, paprika, tomatoes, and more…but no beans, we swear.

A bowl of Texas-style chili with pork and brisket with a fork, spoon, and bowls of lime, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos on the side.

Adapted from Mitch Benjamin | BBQ Revolution | Harvard Common Press, 2021

This recipe is the result of years of chili recipe testing. In it, I have gathered my favorite ingredients and created something all my own: I call it MITCHili at home! Texas-style chilis don’t have any beans—but they do have plenty of meat. With three types of meat, beer, and tequila, it eats like a great party. But the booze isn’t just for the fun factor, it adds complexity. And don’t worry, you won’t need a bouncer for this party because the alcohol will cook off.–Mitch Benjamin


We’re behind the author when he says that both the wheat beer and the tequila will add delightful layers of flavor to your chili, but we also want you to do what you feel best about. Non-alcoholic beer will still give you the malty, yeasty, caramelized flavors if you want to try that. As for the tequila, lime juice mixed with agave syrup works quite well. If neither of these options are suitable or appealing, you can always use more broth.

Texas-Style Chili with Pork and Brisket

A bowl of Texas-style chili with pork and brisket with a fork, spoon, and bowls of lime, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos on the side.
For those who want a quick version of this: just eat the cooked bacon and shoot the tequila . . . I won’t tell a soul and just might join you.

Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Total 2 hrs 30 mins
8 to 10 servings
495 kcal
5 / 4 votes
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  • 1 pound bacon cut into 1/2-inch (13 mm) matchsticks
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium (1 pound) white onions diced
  • 3 tablespoons canned diced green chiles
  • 3 3/4 cups store-bought or homemade low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • One (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • One (12-ounce) bottle wheat beer
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 pound smoked pork butt cooled and diced
  • 1 pound smoked brisket scraps cooled and diced
  • Assorted garnishes such as chopped raw white onion, shredded cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, and oyster crackers


  • In a large stockpot over medium heat, render the bacon until crisp, 10 to 20 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon to remove the bacon, transfer to paper towel to drain. Drain off most of the bacon fat, reserving about 1 tablespoon in the pot.

    TESTER TIP: This is a lot of bacon. You can render it in batches, draining off the fat between batches, if necessary.

  • Add the garlic and onion to the reserved bacon drippings and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes
  • Add the green chiles, 2 1/4 cups broth, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the onions are very soft and the mixture has thickened, about 45 minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of beef broth, the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, beer, and tequila. Increase the heat to bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Add the smoked pork, brisket, and bacon, simmer for 10 minutes more.
  • Once thickened to your desired consistency, ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite garnishes.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 495kcal (25%)Carbohydrates: 17g (6%)Protein: 31g (62%)Fat: 32g (49%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 96mg (32%)Sodium: 1240mg (54%)Potassium: 1160mg (33%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 2601IU (52%)Vitamin C: 15mg (18%)Calcium: 139mg (14%)Iron: 8mg (44%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

OMG! I use the word “complex” because it is in the cooks’ lexicon. But I’ve got to tell you that with this recipe for Texas-style chili with pork and brisket you can really taste all of the flavors…amazing! I didn’t have green chiles so I substituted 3 tablespoons Osem cucumbers in brine. I didn’t have brisket tips so substituted 80/20 ground beef.

I pan smoked 1lb pork shoulder with hickory pellets. The ground beef may have added some fat/liquid. I got 6 heavy servings but I thought it was DELICIOUS! I ate mine plain but could have used plain boiled rice on the plate topped with scallions. Will be trying again this week.

This Texas-style chili with pork and brisket is smoky and complex-tasting, and the perfect bowl to settle into on a rainy day. Because it uses smoked meats from the barbecue, it’s relatively simple to put together, though I wouldn’t say it’s quick. It answers the question few of us have had the pleasure of asking, which is: what do I do with this leftover smoked brisket AND leftover smoked pork?

I had a pork shoulder hanging around in my freezer, so I “smoked” it sous vide, and I picked up a pound of brisket from a local barbecue, making this quite an expensive undertaking. I don’t know how things are in Texas (it sounds pretty magical), but on the rare occasion someone breaks out the smoker in my family, it’s pork OR beef, not both. Although the two different smoked meats added to the interest and depth of flavor, I wouldn’t hesitate to make this chili with whatever leftover barbecue I had around, and maybe compensate with a few extra garnishes.

The chili is also better the next day when the spices have had a chance to marry and the meat absorbs all the flavors. This is good because if you’re like me, you’ll snack on so much bacon and brisket while cooking, that you’ll spoil your dinner. I had my bowl for lunch the next day, topped with white onions, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and crushed saltines.


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