Campsite Dutch-Oven Chili with Jimmy Kennedy

By Jimmy Kennedy, & Justin Brouillard
Cook Ambassadors

Jimmy Kennedy shares his recipe and tricks to making a great pot of chili. He even throws in some leftovers to add some extra flavor.


Most chefs and cooks have a favorite chili recipe, and the versions can be as different as can be. From spicy beef chili from Texas to Cincinnati chili to white chicken chili, the list goes on and on and, to me, they are all delicious. This recipe is a basic meat and bean chili, but it allows lots of room to adjust and add your favorite ingredients.


  • 1 pound dried beans: great northern, pinto, white, garbanzo or any combination (to make about 6 cups)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 pounds cubed meat: beef, pork, venison or chicken
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large green bell peppers, seeded and chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 12-ounce bottles of beer
  • 1 to 2 cups beef stock or canned broth, if needed
  • 4 pounds fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped (if canned, drain juice)
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • Grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and/or sour cream, for garnish


  1. The night before you are going to cook the chili, rinse the beans and pick them over, discarding any small stones or funny-looking beans. Soak the beans overnight in enough cold water to cover the beans by several inches.
  2. The next morning, drain the beans. Return them to the pot, cover them with several inches of water again and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender. (This usually takes about an hour, but the time depends on the age of the beans.) Drain the beans and set aside.
  3. If you forgot to soak the beans overnight or don’t have the time, use the quick-soak method: Prepare the beans as above, but instead of soaking them overnight, bring them to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, shut off the heat and let the beans sit for about an hour. Drain them and proceed to cook as above.
  4. Heat a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown until it is cooked through. Remove the ground beef with a slotted spoon and then brown the cubed meat in the drippings.
  5. Remove the meat cubes with a slotted spoon and drain most of the drippings, leaving 2 or 3 tablespoons.
  6. Add the onions, green peppers and garlic and sauté until they are soft, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  7. Return both meats to the pot and add the chile powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the beer. (You can use stock instead of beer, if you would like.) If the mixture is not covered with liquid, add enough beef stock or broth to cover it. Adjust the heat to bring the mixture to a slow boil and, when it is just boiling, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Return to a low boil and then lower the heat and simmer, mostly covered, for at least 2 to 3 hours (the longer, the better). Add the cooked beans in the last half hour or so.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  9. Serve with grated cheese and/or sour cream or any of your favorite garnishes.

Yield: 16 to 20 servings

Prep time: 30 to 45 minutes

Cook time: 2 to 4 hours

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