This chili recipe is hands down the BEST chili you'll taste. This recipe, in summary, is nothing more than dry-rubbed pork ribs smoked directly over your chili sauce, allowing the drippings to mix into the pot, adding a deep rich flavor. It could be done in the oven if you have enough space or don’t have a smoker, but the real benefit of this technique is the smoke you get from the smoker.
Recipe or Technique?
Over the Top (OTT) Chili is 100% a technique and is extremely simple. It is the technique of smoking meat over the chili you have created. Once the ribs are fully cooked, remove the bones and shred the meat into the chili pot. Continue smoking at a low temperature to allow the flavors to blend fully. This near-effortless technique will render an amazing smoke-kissed chili that everyone will enjoy.
You can use any meat you desire when making over top of the chili; we have helped many folks win their office or church cook-offs with our dry-rubbed pork ribs OTT chili. We have used this technique with ground sausage, pork shoulder, and the flat of a brisket. It is a rather simple technique, allow your drippings to go into the dutch oven, maintain the water line in the chili sauce, and ensure that you cook the meat thoroughly.
Quality truly matters, especially if we spend several hours making this recipe, and tomatoes are one of the cornerstones of amazing chili. We recommend using the San Marzano variety of tomatoes because of its rich flavor, tender texture, and mild acidity. Other benefits of the San Marzano variety are they are less sweet and contain minimal seeds. This variety of tomatoes should become a kitchen staple due to its flavor and versatility of use in sauces.
Bean or Not To Bean Your Chili?
Okay, Okay... We all understand, Texas, that you don't put beans in your chili. But as of 2022, y'all are only 8.74% of the population of the United States. The purpose behind chili and barbeque is to stretch food further so we can feed everyone's mouth. Beans are the backbone of any Special Forces "A-Camp" to feed ourselves and our host country counterparts.
Here are a few tips if you put beans in your chili. You’ve been down that canned goods aisle at the store plenty of times, and you’ve seen the labels that say chili beans. It only makes sense that chili beans would be the best for chili, right? Just be aware that chili beans are usually kidney beans soaked in a chili-seasoned sauce. The sauce in those cans is probably not the "secret" ingredient you wanted. Make sure you also select can beans that are low in sodium, fully cooked, and packed in water. Also, try using multiple bean varieties, such as black beans, pinto, and kidney beans, to add different flavors and textures.
What You'll Need:
Smoker (preferred wood maple, mesquite, or hickory)
Dutch oven or casserole dish that can be used in a smoker/grill
A baking rack that fits over the Dutch Oven
*Additional Flavor Options: Garlic, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
1. Preheat your smoker to 250°F. Remove the membranes from the racks of ribs and discard. Cut the 2 racks in half, making a total of 4 half racks of ribs. Rub the ribs with Smoked Bros Light Strike Chipotle Seasoning; set the ribs aside, allowing the rub to rest while preparing the pot of chili.
2. Slice the onion into bite-sized chunks. Drain the cans of beans only. Combine one dry pkg. Smoked Bros Chili Mix, both containers of Crushed Tomatoes, two cans of beans, 2 cups of water, and 1/2 cup of chopped onions into your dutch oven. Place the dutch oven in the smoker.
3. Position the ribs on a baking rack to allow the drippings to fall into the chili. Close the smoker and cook until the ribs reach your desired temperature/color/bark.
*Pro Tip: You can test doneness with the ribs by pulling on one of the bones. They are done if the bone starts to slide out of the meat easily.
4. Transfer the ribs to a clean cutting board, and shred the ribs. Add the meat to the chili pot, stirring with a clean spatula. DO NOT SCRAP the bottom of the dutch oven; anything burnt to the bottom or sides will add bitterness to your chili. At this stage, the chili sauce may have reduced a little. If the waterline is low, carefully add water, tomato juice, or crushed tomatoes to bring it back to the original waterline. If you want a thick chili, bypass adding anything.
5. Smoke the combined meat and sauce for another 1 hour at 250°F, occasionally stirring (DON'T SCRAP THE BOTTOM). After the above cook time, skim off any fat that has accumulated on the surface of the chili, or you can stir it in for flavor. We have done both with great results.
*Pro Tip: For a more intense flavor experience … Let the chili rest for at least an hour. Put a lid on the Dutch oven, let it cool down, wrap it in kitchen foil, and store it in the fridge. The smokey aromas from the cooking vessel infuse into the chili even more over the next couple of hours.
6. Serve however you like it. Try using add-ons, cornbread, red pepper flakes, sour cream, cheese, or tortilla chips.
Offering Veteran Spices and BBQ Rubs, Smoked Bros is a SOF veteran-owned spices & seasoning company serving craft flavors to people who love the All-America pastime of BBQ. We develop our kinetic flavor profiles with the same surgical precision as our military missions, defending the greatest country on the planet.
At Smoked Bros, we use the highest quality ingredients ethically sourced from around the globe and deliver them to your front door. The quality of our craft seasonings at our price point is unmatched.
Here at Smoked Bros, we are committed to delivering the highest quality ingredients ethically sourced from around the globe. We give back to America’s warfighters, first responders, and underserved communities with every purchase.