First Place Chili

Chili and I go waaaaay back. When my husband and I lived in Montana, I entered a chili cookoff. I came in third out of four entries, which did not leave me best pleased. I wrote a food column for the local newspaper, for Pete’s sakes. I could not be coming in second to last in any cookoff. So I perfected my recipe, and the result is this Blue Ribbon Chili.

First Place Chili

I’m happy to report that I have taken home the gold (not once but twice) in the two other cook-offs I’ve entered since. Blue Ribbon Chili, y’all.When it’s chilly outside, who doesn’t love chili? The best part about this chili is how easy it is. All you need is some fresh bell peppers, onions, garlic, a few cans of beans and tomatoes, some ground meat, and a few spices. I specify Tony Chachere’s seasoning in the recipe, but you can substitute any Creole seasoning or just leave it out. There is one crucial step to this recipe, however, and that is the toasting of the spices in the browned meat. I’m convinced it’s what gives this chili its depth of flavor. Oh, and the juice from the pickled jalapeños. Don’t let me catch you leaving that step out.

Blue Ribbon Chili

This Blue Ribbon Chili has won me two first-place trophies in cookoffs; in other words, it's legit.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword blue ribbon chili
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author Amanda


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 roll hot pork sausage
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons Tony Chachere's Seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons juice from pickled jalapeños
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • hot sauce to taste I like Crystal Extra Hot
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown pork and beef over medium high heat.
    Ingredients for Chili
  2. When meat is no longer pink, add chili powder, cumin, and seasoning.
  3. Stir until spices are browned and fragrant and then add onion, garlic, and peppers.

  4. Stir until peppers and onions are soft.
  5. Add undrained beans and tomatoes.
  6. Season with hot sauce and salt and pepper and let simmer for an hour to two hours until flavors are thoroughly combined.
  7. Serve with cornbread, shredded cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, avocado, and/or chopped green onions, if desired.

Bottom line: It’s cold in most of the country right now, so why not warm up with a bowl of this award-winning deliciousness?

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