Coyote Pass Pepper Popper Chili

This is my Dad’s recipe. He’d probably kill me if he knew that I was sharing it. But it’s too good to keep secret. If you see my Pop please don’t spill the beans.



  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds of meat: Have the butcher use chuck ground to a “chili grind” (larger pieces than ground round) or use ½ ground beef and the other half stew meat cut into small pieces (for browning)


  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 3-4 celery stalks (diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 serano chilies with seeds (diced)


  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp cumin
  • ½ Tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a little ground pepper.


  • 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can of chopped (diced) tomatoes.
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes.
  • 2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of beef broth (or a bottle of cheap beer)
  • A tiny piece (1 ounce?) of dark chocolate (my little improvisation and very important)



  1. Brown the chili grind meat in a little canola oil in small batches so you get that good browning at the bottom of a Dutch oven. If you’re doing the 50/50 method, cook the ground beef first, then brown the cubed meat in small batches.
  2. Remove the meat. Add a little more oil and sauté the veggies over med-hi heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the seasonings. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add liquid. Start with the paste first to incorporate. Then add the rest. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with lid on for 1 hour. Then remove lid and simmer uncovered for another two hours.

What you should know

If it’s too thick just add water. If it’s too thin, some cooks add a little masa flour, but that’s illegal in a true Texas cookoff. Before serving, my Dad likes to finish it with a couple of squeezed of lime juice and a splash of some really good tequila.

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