Dark La Mesa Brisket Chili

Posted on January 31, 2013 by Anne Milneck | 0 comments

I recently spent a Sunday afternoon judging the You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl Chili Cookoff. I was on a panel of four judges, and after tasting 19 chilis (pass the antacid), there was one we kept dipping our spoons into.  It was a deep, dark red chili that had big chunks of tender, flavorful brisket.  There was an earthiness mixed with smooth sweetness that I couldn’t put my finger on. And it packed the perfect amount of heat.  I don’t have the winner’s recipe (I wouldn’t dare ask), but here’s my shot at it.  This recipe has many of the components that intrigued me…and made it a first-place prize winner.


Dark La Mesa Brisket Chili


6 slices bacon

4 cups chopped onion

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbl Ancho Chile flakes

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

5 lbs flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 3-inch cubes

2 Tbl Dark La Mesa chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried Mexican Oregano

1 tsp ground coriander

2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies (hot or mild…your choice)

1 (7 oz) can diced roasted green chilies

1 (12 oz) bottle beer (lager)

1 sweet potato, cut into 1 inch chunks


In a large dutch oven, fry bacon to render the fat—reserve the bacon for another use (or eat it!) Saute the onion in the bacon fat until clear; add the garlic and Ancho flakes in the last few minutes and saute until fragrant.  Remove the onions, garlic and anchos and set aside—they will be added back in a bit.  Season the brisket with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the brisket on all sides in the bacon fat. Move the browned brisket to a plate between batches to catch any juices (you want these!) After browning, return all the meat to the pot along with the onion-garlic-Ancho chile mixture. Pour any reserved juices from the onions and meat into the pot.

Begin adding all remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Adjust the consistency with a little water if necessary. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours. Check the tenderness of the brisket and continue to cook until tender. Brisket is a highly flavorful but tough cut of meat…give it some time.

Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions. Corn bread would be great on the side.  Enjoy!


Posted in Ancho Chile, Brisket, Chili, Dark La Mesa Chili Powder



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