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Jon's Awesome Chili

Jon is a chili fanatic. Over the years he gradually developed his own recipe that has won a number of cook-offs.

This chili is awesome!

This chili is awesome!

Jon's Awesome Chili

Really Awesome Chili Recipe!

This chili has evolved over several decades, combining ideas from different recipes. It started with my mother's recipe, which won many chili cook-offs. I managed a restaurant that made award-winning chili, so I learned a few tricks while there. Over the years I added a few more ingredients by trial and error, and it's time to share!

I've won a lot of chili cook-offs, and I believe it's because of one main reason: This chili appeals to almost everyone. It's not a specialty chili, such as Beer Chili, or White Chili. It's not super-spicy. Those kinds of chilis appeal to a smaller percentage of people. Mine is just good, old-fashioned, chili con carne with some special twists.

This chili, though awesome by itself, is also a great base chili to which you can add your favorite ingredients.

By the way, if you're avoiding gluten, I've provided substitute ingredients.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

40 min

About 8 big bowlfuls of awesomeness.

Ingredients For Jon's Awesome Chili

  • 2 lbs. of ground beef, (I use grass fed beef [85/15])
  • 3/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • one 30.5 oz. can (or two 15 oz.) of Brooks Chili Beans, (see below for gluten-free option)
  • two 15 oz. cans of Contadina Tomato Sauce, (substitute at your own peril!)
  • two 14.5 oz. cans of Red Gold, Diced Tomatoes, (Chili Ready)
  • one 15 oz. can of Luck's Great Northern Beans
  • two packages of French's Chili-O Seasoning, (see below for gluten-free option)
  • 1/3 cup of light brown sugar
  • one tablespoon of ground cumin seed
  • one 15 oz. can of water

Big Pot, Big Pan!

  1. Before you get started, make sure you have a large pot with a lid that seals well, a big pan, and a kitchen timer.
A big pot and a big pan!

A big pot and a big pan!

A nice glass of Chardonnay to make things a little more enjoyable.

A nice glass of Chardonnay to make things a little more enjoyable.

Chill Out...

2. Prepare your favorite beverage to make the whole process more enjoyable. I'm a fan of Chardonnay.

•Chardonnay is not an ingredient in Jon's Awesome Chili.

The part shown on the left tastes bitter. Don't use it!

The part shown on the left tastes bitter. Don't use it!

Prepare Onion

3. Chop your onion (make sure not to use the bitter end pieces that are hard and sometimes have a yellowish tinge), then put it in your pan and turn the burner on at about the 5 or 6 heat level.

Let the onions cook under the beef for a few minutes.

Let the onions cook under the beef for a few minutes.

Beef On Top

4. Put your 2 lbs. ground beef on top of the onions and let things heat up for a few minutes. It's important to have well-cooked onions, so let them get most of the heat at the start.

Chop it up!

Chop it up!

Chop It Up

5. Using a spatula or spoon, start chopping the ground beef, but leave the onions underneath.

If you can't find this size can, use two regular size cans.

If you can't find this size can, use two regular size cans.

Start Filling Your Pot

6. While the meat and onions are cooking, empty the 30.5 oz. can of Brooks chili beans into your large pot.

•There is wheat in this product, so if you are avoiding gluten, I recommend substituting Bush's Chili Beans - Pinto Beans in Chili Sauce (Mild Sauce).

Brooks Mild Chili Beans

One of the twists to this recipe.

One of the twists to this recipe.

Add Great Northerns

7. Add the can of Luck's Great Northern beans to the pot.

The best.

The best.

Add Contadina Sauce

8. Put the two cans of Contadina Tomato Sauce in the pot. This sauce is the best, in my opinion. Substitute at your own risk. By the way, Hunt's brand sauce will change the flavor of this chili in a dramatic way. Trust me on this! I tried it, and the results were not good.

Contadina Tomato Sauce

They're ready for your chili. It says so on the label. :)

They're ready for your chili. It says so on the label. :)

Chop Up Beef, Add Tomatoes

9. Chop up your ground beef some more and start mixing it in with the onions, then go back to your large pot and add the two cans of Red Gold "Chili Ready" Diced Tomatoes.

This stuff was one of my mother's secret weapons.

This stuff was one of my mother's secret weapons.

Add Cumin

10. Add a tablespoon of ground cumin seed to your pot.

Cumin! Get Your Ground Cumin Here!

Your beverage is running low, it's time to refill!

Your beverage is running low, it's time to refill!

Add Water

11. Fill one of your empty 15 oz. cans with water and pour it in the pot.

Your beef and onions should look like this now!

Your beef and onions should look like this now!

Chop Beef Some More

12. Go back to your pan and chop up your ground beef some more. Make sure it cooks evenly and that the onions are mixed in well.

This ingredient, which is one of my favorites, was suggested by my wife, Denise. What a difference it makes!

This ingredient, which is one of my favorites, was suggested by my wife, Denise. What a difference it makes!

Add Sugar

13. Go back to your pot and add one third cup of light brown sugar.

There are lots of good things in this little package.

There are lots of good things in this little package.

Add Chili Seasoning Packets

14. Add the two packages of French's Chili-O Seasoning to the pot. Ignore the instructions on the back of the package.

•Bonus: There is no MSG in this product!

•There is wheat in this product, so if you want to avoid the gluten, here's what you'll need in lieu of the two Chili-O packages:

2 tbsp. seasoned salt
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 dried chili peppers, crushed, with seeds removed

French's Chili-O Seasoning

At this point, your pot should look like this!

At this point, your pot should look like this!

Let the grease pool to one side, then spoon it out.

Let the grease pool to one side, then spoon it out.

Pool Grease

15. Stir your pot, then go back to your pan and mix the beef and onions again, then pile everything to one side of the pan and tilt it to allow the grease to pool.

My lovely grease can.

My lovely grease can.

Remove Grease

16. Spoon most of the grease into a metal can. I use an old coffee can, but you can use one of the empty cans from earlier, if you like.

Need A Good Grease Can? (And some pretty good coffee, too!)

Almost there!

Almost there!

Add Beef, Onions to Pot

17. Carefully add the cooked beef and onions to your pot, then stir.

Make sure the lid seals well on your pot. Turning the temperature down will pull the lid on tighter and keep things cooking nicely. If your lid has a vent, close it.

Make sure the lid seals well on your pot. Turning the temperature down will pull the lid on tighter and keep things cooking nicely. If your lid has a vent, close it.

Stir Until Boil, Put Lid On, Lower Heat

18. Turn the burner on "High" and stir about every 30 seconds until bubbles start popping up. When they do, keep stirring to make them stop. You'll know it's time to stop stirring when you see bubbles popping up even when you've got the spoon moving. Then, put the lid on the pot and immediately turn the burner all the way down to "1".

Don't lift the lid for 20 minutes!

Don't lift the lid for 20 minutes!

Don't Open Lid!

19. Set a timer for 20 minutes, and don't open the lid!

Serve!

20. When your timer goes off, open the pot and stir. Congratulations! You now have a pot of Jon's Awesome Chili! You're gonna love this stuff!

Classic Mechanical Kitchen Timer

Comments

Jon Nicholas (author) from Lexington, Ky. USA on February 10, 2016:

Thank you, Jeremy! I have corrected the step numbers. :)

Jeremy Brann on February 10, 2016:

There are two step 13s, and when I printed this, they were split across two pages. I am easily confused, and this confused me. Much like when I assemble furniture at home and end up with an extra nut that seems important, in this case I ended up with a quarter cup of brown sugar that had not been added. I added it at the end, and I believe the flavor was unaffected. My first batch of Jon's awesome chili has turned out awesome!

Jon Nicholas (author) from Lexington, Ky. USA on December 08, 2015:

Joyce, I understand your need to tweak. My wife suffers from the same condition, bless her heart.

Joyce Feltz on December 07, 2015:

I love that you shared your award winning chili recipe, and I tried desperately to replicate it. Alas, I always have to 'tweak' things a bit. So, I cooked up about 1 1/2 lbs of freshly ground beef atop the red onions, added about 1/2 lb of chunked venison, and instead of the brown sugar, I mixed in about 1/2 cup of Baby Ray's barbecue sauce. Otherwise, I followed your recipe to a T. But, oh yeah, I sauteed some green peppers and added them in. So, my review is tainted by my modifications....but this chili sure is good!

Jon Nicholas (author) from Lexington, Ky. USA on September 29, 2013:

Thank you! And, thanks for the MSG update! I'll add that to the article soon. :)

Lizolivia from Central USA on September 28, 2013:

I've been looking to vary the way I've always made chili and your recipe seems perfect. The only seasoning mix I've ever liked and usually use is the Frenches original, and now they state no msg on the front as well. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to put this hub together!

wiserworld on September 25, 2013:

Thanks for posting this. Would like to try something similar as a new recipe!

Jon Nicholas (author) from Lexington, Ky. USA on September 25, 2013:

I've had a great run with this recipe! I'm not getting any younger, and I wanted to let others enjoy it!

Daddy Paul from Michigan on September 25, 2013:

You have not lost a single cook off and you are telling the world?

It looks great.

Leena from new delhi on September 23, 2013:

Great tips and illustration work...looks yummy!

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