Will’s Easy Chili Recipe

Easy chili recipe
Will’s chili

Many moons ago, Will and I competed in a Chili Cookoff at Snowshoe Mountain in WV. People are serious about their chili at a Chili Cookoff when the grand prize is $10,000. We were serious about our theme.

Our chili’s name was “Pirates of the Chilibbean” and my professional event planner chef friend, Jodie, themed out our tent. We even featured a realistic Captain Jack Sparrow (with eyeliner) who got completely into character by enjoying too much rum. A cooler of beer was involved. The day was extraordinary. Our chili was not extraordinary but it didn’t matter – we won the Best in Show award which is way cooler than winning the best recipe.

Beans are prohibited in competition chili. I could never figure out why, as beans seem to be a main ingredient in most chilis you order??

Will’s chili would not be eligible for a sanctioned chili cookoff, but it’s super simple and easy to make. He made a huge batch of it while we were on vacation at Primland, and thought I’d share his secret.

Will’s Easy Chili Recipe

It’s the Publix 3-bean chili recipe.


2 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (16-oz) cans chili beans, undrained
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15-16 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15.5-oz) can cannellini (or great northern) beans, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons chili powder — or he uses two packets of chili seasoning mix (one per pound of ground beef, in case you make more)


  1. Preheat large stockpot on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Add ground beef; cook 4–5 minutes, stirring to crumble meat until no pink remains, drain, and return to pot. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover; simmer 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and shredded pepper Jack cheese.

We like the heat, and add hot sauce in our bowl. If you really want to pack the heat, try Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9. According to The Manual, “The world’s hottest sauce is called Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 and comes in at 9 million Scoville Hotness Units (SHUs).”) link in profile if you want to pin it for fall!


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