Brisket Chili is simmered low and slow to infuse the soup with layers of flavor that everyone loves! It’s a smoky, slightly spicy chili that will warm you from the inside out on cold days. If you have leftover brisket to use up, make this chili recipe!
Creating This Brisket Chili Recipe
This beef brisket chili recipe came together by pure chance. A few years ago, we threw a party and wound up with leftover brisket that needed to be repurposed somehow.
In the end, I wound up making a big batch of chili with brisket and the resulting dish was truly fantastic, in my humble opinion. We’ve been making it ever since whenever we have leftover brisket.
Brisket is an unexpected addition to chili that my family went nuts for! Because the meat was smoked first, it was already ultra tender. Letting the brisket further simmer in the chili tenderized it even more, and that gorgeous smoked flavor infused into the pot of chili.
If you don’t have any leftover brisket to use in your chili, don’t fret! You can also order from your favorite local restaurant (bbq restaurants are great for this!) to get smoked brisket – just make sure there’s no bbq sauce on it!
Serve the hearty chili with cornbread or rolls and dig in!
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Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
Leftover brisket chili is very easy to prepare, and I recommend having the following kitchen tools on hand for this recipe:
- Large cast iron pot — This chili recipe feeds a crowd, so you need a large pot to hold everything. Cast iron is my preference because it distributes heat evenly; you don’t want the chili to scorch on the bottom while it’s simmering on the stove for 3+ hours!
- Can opener — For opening up the canned tomatoes and beans.
- Wooden spoon — For stirring the chili periodically. You’ll want a spoon with a long handle so you can really scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Sharp knife and cutting board — For chopping the bell peppers, garlic, and onions.
- Measuring spoons — For measuring out the spices.
- Kitchen scale — To weigh the brisket.
- Bottle opener — Only needed if your beer is in a bottle and not a can.
Brisket Chili Ingredients
The leftover brisket is the star ingredient in this chili recipe, so I kept the rest of the ingredients super simple. Here’s what you’re going to need:
- Yellow Onions
- Green Bell Peppers
- Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Chicken Stock
- Amber Beer
- Smoked Brisket
- Canned Chili Beans
- Spices (see below)
What Spices Are Used in Chili?
For this beef brisket chili recipe, I flavored the soup with the following spices:
- Black Pepper
- Sea Salt
- Ground Cumin
- Ancho Chili Powder
- Dried Thyme
- Dried Oregano
I typically prefer using a blend of spices from my pantry rather than just using pre-made chili powder when making homemade chili. This lets me control the amount of salt in the recipe as well as the spice and smokiness levels.
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make brisket chili recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Make Chili with Brisket
This is the easiest recipe for leftover brisket! Below is an overview of how the chili comes together:
- Add the chopped onion to an oiled cast iron pot over medium heat. Saute just until translucent.
- Add the garlic and bell peppers, then saute until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the herbs and spices and stir until the vegetables are coated. Saute until fragrant.
- Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, and beer. Take the time to scrape the bottom of the pot to release any golden bits stuck to the bottom.
- Add the cubed smoked brisket, cooked bacon, and the chili beans.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer for at LEAST 3 hours before serving.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe for brisket chili. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Brisket Chilli Topping Ideas
Load up your bowl of chili with as many toppings as you like! Some chili toppings that we adore are:
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped green onions or chives
- Homemade bacon bits
- Chopped green chiles
Tips for Making Brisket Chili
- This recipe calls for chopped, cooked bacon. To make this, I recommend following my bacon bits recipe.
- Stir the chili as it simmers to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and burning. Every 25 to 30 minutes would be fine.
- Don’t drain the chili beans! The sauce is spicy and packed with flavor.
- Toasting the spices briefly adds wakes them up and makes for a more flavorful chili.
- You MUST use smoked brisket (leftover or from a restaurant). Brisket is a tough cut of meat that needs to be pre-cooked and tenderized before being added to the chili.
- Don’t shortchange the simmering time. This creates the richest, thickest, most flavorful brisket chili – it won’t taste as good if you just let it simmer for 30 minutes instead of 3+ hours! I imagine you could pop this into a slow cooker in the morning and slow cook on low all day if you don’t have time to let it simmer for 3 hours on the stove.
Brisket Chili Recipe FAQs
Got questions about how to make this leftover brisket chili? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
Do I have to use smoked brisket?
Yes, that’s what I recommend. Brisket can be a tough cut of meat and smoking it tenderizes it in addition to giving it lots of flavor.
What can I substitute for the brisket in this chili?
If you don’t have access to smoked brisket, I would substitute ground beef.
And if you don’t have a smoker, you can always look for a restaurant that carries smoked brisket and use that. Just make sure to order your brisket without any bbq sauce on it.
Do I have to add the beer?
Nope! You don’t have to add the beer. You can swap it out for non-alcoholic beer or even chicken broth if you prefer.
What can I substitute for beer in chili?
Non-alcoholic beer or chicken broth will both work in place of the beer.
Can I use a different type of bean?
Of course! I used canned chili beans, but you can also use black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or a combination.
How long should you cook chili for?
The chili with brisket needs to be cooked for at least 3 hours at a simmer. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat (do not boil for 3 hours!).
I’ve simmered this chili for up to 6 hours without issue. You just have to periodically stir the chili and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks and burns
Do you simmer chili with the lid on or off?
I simmer with the lid off. Your house will smell amazing!
Can brisket chili be frozen?
Yes! I like to ladle the chili into smaller containers or jars so I can reheat individual portions for lunch.
You can reheat the chili from frozen in the microwave or on the stovetop. If stored correctly, frozen chili will last for up to 3 months.
What to Serve with Brisket Chili
Unsure what goes well with chili? Pair this smoked brisket chili with one or more of the following sides:
- Pumpkin cornbread muffins or Honey cornbread muffins.
- Chile cheese cornbread scones
- Baked potatoes (to make an epic loaded baked potato!)
- Roasted broccoli
- Basic green salad with homemade salad dressing
- Beer bread muffins
- Apple bacon grilled cheese sandwiches
Try This Chili with Brisket at Home!
Next time you’re looking for ways to use up that leftover brisket, give this hearty brisket chili recipe a try!
Did you think this was the best chili recipe? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this warming soup.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see a photo of your brisket chili!
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Have you ever used brisket to make chili?
- 2 medium sized Yellow Onions
- 2 Green Bell Peppers, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced Fresh Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 2 - 3 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 - 14 ounce can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 3 cups Chicken Stock
- 1 bottle Amber Beer
- 2 ½ pounds Smoked Brisket, cubed
- 6 strips of Bacon, cooked
- 3 cans Chili Beans in Mild Sauce
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Heat a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil (or reserved bacon fat). Add the onion and saute until it is translucent.
- Then, add the garlic and green bell peppers, stirring to combine. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Next, add the paprika, ground cumin, ancho chili powder, thyme, and oregano. Stir until the seasonings coat the vegetable mixture and saute until fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes.
- After that, add the fire roasted tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the chicken stock and beer, continuing to scrape any remaining browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the cubed smoked brisket, cooked bacon, and the chili beans. Stir until combined.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 3 - 4 hours, stirring periodically so the chili doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle chili into individual serving bowls and serve topped with your choice of toppings.
Note: I have simmered up to 6 hours before with no issues. Just make sure you stir periodically so the chili doesn't burn.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 598Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 980mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 51g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.