Now that I have the recipe up for you, let’s talk about some of my insider tips and tricks that make this recipe literally ”the best chili recipe ever!” That’s a matter of opinion, of course! Everyone has their own opinion of what makes the perfect chili. But let’s dive in!
So one of the things I do to start is to boil my ground beef. As I am adding the other ingredients to my large pot (this pot is a must in my kitchen!), I add the ground beef to another pot of cold water and break it up with my hand. It's gross, but totally worth it! Bring the water to boil and continue boiling until cooked through. This gives the ground beef a nice, even consistency. I know it sounds odd to do this, but trust me. This is how I always prepare ground beef when I am using it in things like pizza, enchiladas, etc.
As for chopping all of the veggies, I love this veggie chopper! It saves a TON of time, cleans up easily, and makes all of my veggies a nice, consistent size. When all your ingredients are all approximately the same size, you get a little bit of everything in each bite!
So let's talk about these "secret" ingredients. Well, they won't be a secret anymore. I love all kinds of chili, but for "the best chili recipe ever" :), I really wanted to add some high-flavor ingredients to make this chili just burst with flavor.
The first is sugar. I know, not super exciting, but not everyone adds it to their chili. I like a subtle sweetness to my chili. I tried making it without sugar once, and I could really tell it was missing something. You can adjust up or down, but don't omit entirely.
Next up is Slap ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. This should be readily available at most larger grocery chains, but you can buy it here if you can't find it locally. This stuff is so good and SO potent! A little goes a LONG way. If you need to adjust your heat up or down, use this to do that. I also use this in a tortellini soup that is divine. I will share that recipe soon!
We're almost there, but I have just a few more "secret" ingredients to share. The first is cajun andouille sausage. This adds great flavor and makes the chili very meaty. I always find it at Walmart. Just make sure to chop it into small, bite-size pieces so that it is evenly distributed.
When it comes to chili seasoning packets, all are not created equal! Williams Original Chili Seasoning packets truly are the best. Don't skimp here because you get what you pay for.
And last but not least....... jalapeño bacon. Mmmmmm, jalapeño bacon. This special ingredient really ups the flavor factor. But you won't find it by the regular bacon. I just ask my butcher for it at my local grocery store, and he goes to the back to get it. But it is definitely worth the extra effort to track it down. I add the crumbled bacon towards the end of the simmering process and always save some for garnish. You are just going to have to trust me on this...find yourself some jalapeño bacon!
I like my chili to be really thick. So a key step for me is to make a roux. Remove a cup or so of your cooking chili juice to a bowl. Add the flour and thoroughly combine. Add the roux back to the lightly boiling chili and return to a boil, simmering for a while longer while the flour cooks out and the flavors marinate. This will give your chili a nice, thick consistency.
And it's finally ready to eat! Spoon "the best chili recipe ever" into some soup crocks (some great options here and here). Top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeño bacon, and crackers/chips and it's ready! Best part...this recipe makes a lot of leftovers, plus the leftovers actually taste even better because the flavors have even more time to marry! This makes a great meal to deliver to someone, or you can freeze the leftovers in ziploc bags to use on another cold day!
Feel free to tweak this to your liking, and let me know what you do! I love to collaborate! And happy eating!