Smoky Slow-Cooked Chili

  • detailaddict Posted: 02/22/09
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    This was just ok for me. I think the ham hock added too much salt, and I ended up adding more tomato sauce to dilute the saltiness - and now I'll need to add more meat as it is too "saucy" now. The meat counter clerk recommended against pork shoulder as mostly fat and gristle, so I used cubed pork loin and lean ground pork. I made it on the stovetop, cooking dried beans separately and adding them to the pot to finish them. I also added some diced poblano pepper and salsa verde. This dish has potential and is interesting as an all-pork chili but I would probably leave out the ham hock next time, or at least use a smaller one.

  • PinkFlamingo Posted: 10/18/10
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    This recipe was suprisingly delicious. I will definitely put this in my file to make many times in the future.

  • DixieDishrag Posted: 01/27/09
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    Wonderful chili! I made the following changes: blade steaks instead of shoulder roast, 2 cans pinto beans instead of one, and shredded the meat from the ham hock and put it back into the chili before serving (just couldn't bear to throw away that wonderful ham hock!) Used canned tomatillos since I couldn't find fresh ones. I was worried it wouldn't be hot enough with just the small can of hot tomato sauce for spiciness, but it was perfect for the Texas transplants in our family! Prep took about an hour ... a long time just to get a meal into a crockpot. But it was worth it! Served with corn muffins and a green salad. Definitely a keeper!

  • spounds Posted: 01/10/09
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    Fabulous!! Made it exactly as according to the recipe and it was delicious! Especially liked the lime at the end. Will make again!

  • chrissyboo Posted: 01/16/09
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    I bought the new issue of cooking light earlier this week (this recipe was on the cover), and since it was a high of -2 in Chicago today, I figured it was a good day to try it! I followed the recipe exactly, but my whole foods was out of queso fresco, so I used a queso blanco as a replacement. the chili was delicious. I always make the black bean chorizo chili from CL, but thought i'd mix it up. Ham hocks, in general, gross me out, but I used it anyway since you discard it. If my husband was rating this, i think he'd give it 10 stars. he was raving about it. saying it was the best chili he's ever eaten, and he kept asking me how much was left (always a good sign!). It's definitely a chili-eaters-chili, if you know what I mean. More about the meat, and less about the beans. I'll definitely make it again!

  • hoboshm Posted: 02/08/09
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    I substituted canned chili beans, undrained, for the no-salt-added pintos, and used one medium green bell pepper and one medium pasilla (poblano) pepper, seeded and chopped, and we loved this chili. I seal-a-meal'd half the recipe (made to point in step 3 where liquids are added) and will make it, adding 1 can each tomatoes and chili beans, slow cook all day....Will definitely make again.

  • DonnaD Posted: 01/31/09
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    This is probably the best chili I have ever made. I didn't have tomatillos so I just put in two yellow tomatoes for color. If I can't find tomatillos again, I will just add jalapenos as a mix in. I didn't want to cash in my paycheck for the Guerye cheese so I used crumbled feta. It was fantastic! I am going to make this again two days from now for my parents. I served along with some cornbread muffins.

  • BeckyM Posted: 01/21/09
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    I made this for dinner tonight for my picky husband. He and I both loved it! I'm not very fond of pork so I used ground turkey in the place of ground pork, and turkey strips in the place of pork shoulder, then ommitted the ham hock. It was absolutely delicious!!!!! I highly recommend it to everyone!

  • atlantissg Posted: 01/20/09
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    I was actually a little disappointed with this recipe. I was expecting a lot more since it got the test kitchen's highest rating. I will say, though, that the cheese was a delicious addition. For the effort it took and time it took to prepare (even though it's a slow cooker recipe, there is still a lot of stove work and chopping to be done), I just probably won't make this again.

  • tammore Posted: 01/29/09
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    Lot of work for a mediocre chili. I followed the recipe exactly. I can't believe the lack of flavor the chili had especially with all of those ingredients. Not worth it!

  • CindyAustin17 Posted: 01/25/09
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    Very tasty but a good amount of prep time. Typically do not like to comment when I have to say what I changed. I used a leaner cut of pork loin, added more beer, added 2 cans pinto beans and juice of 2 limes instead of serving wedges. I did not make cornbread so I served with a dollop of grits on top. This was very good. I cooked on the stovetop for 2 hours and left the boneless ham hock peices in the chili.

  • bostonsmaman Posted: 01/18/09
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    Amazingly unique flavors! We used all pork meat (3 lbs Boston Butt, well trimmed & deboned) b/c our grocer's ground pork was very fattening. I made the entire meal in my 6.5 qt dutch oven, browning the meat & aromatics on the stove top and baking it in the oven at 325 for about 4 hrs covered, adding the beans in the last hour. It's sweet smokiness paired well w/ low fat tortilla chips and 2% milk Mexican cheese blend. It was even better the next day!

  • Sammym2u Posted: 01/23/11
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    We loved this chili! Love the southwest flair that's great for a cold afternoon! We made it exactly as listed except that we cooked it all in the same pot and put the pot in the oven on slow cook for 5 hours.

  • adventurecook Posted: 03/04/09
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    I will definitely make this chili again. I used pork loin & leftout the ham hock. I used a good pork sausage in it's place for some extra flavor & it worked out great. Terrific flavor with the Mexican tomato sauce. This was also the first time I had used tomatillos. These added a unique flavor.

  • phirefly23 Posted: 02/01/09
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    My husband made this last night for superbowl. He didn't like it at all. I thought it was good, as did the other 10 guests. I agree that it didn't have nearly as much spice/flavor as you'd expect and would recommend doubling up on the hot tomato sauce and maybe chunking in a seeded jalepeno. We cooked in dutch oven and had to skim a cup of liquid. Probably won't make again.

  • susie91 Posted: 01/05/09
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    Used a pressure cooker instead of slow cooker. Browned the meats first added the rest and cooked for 40 minutes. Outstanding. Lots of ingredients, but worth the effort!

  • espasl1 Posted: 01/03/09
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    Off the hook! We followed the recipe as written, however added some rib eye steak with the pork shoulder. It was amazing! Served with corn bread and suggested toppings in recipe. Definitely use the crockpot. Your home will smell amazing! Will for sure make this again...

  • ls1215 Posted: 01/04/09
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    Excellent! Great flavor and perfect heat. The tomatillos were a nice addition, don't skip them. It seems like a lot of prep work for a "slow cooker" meal, but you'll be more than pleased with the results. Will make again for friends!

  • Giulietti Posted: 01/19/09
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    Definitely a little time consuming for a slow cooker meal...but well worth the effort! Very tasty and a new spin on chili! My husband could hardly believe it came from cooking light! Definitely give it a try!!!

  • DMan49 Posted: 01/13/09
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    This will represent the chili that i am known for making. Gone is the ground beef, gone is the abundant bean, hello smoked ham hock and pork shoulder. this recipe fits my demeanor. slo and lo, mean and pissed, and delicious. the tomatillos add a pleasant flavor and the lime at the end is a delight. Cheers!

  • joealati Posted: 01/11/09
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    The best chili I ever made or ate. Traditional chili is much faster to make but this one is worth the extra 15 minutes. I used 3 tbs of Ancho Chili powder & 3 tbs of regular chili powder instead. The extra flavor & tolerable extra heat from the Ancho is great. The lime is a nice addition to the flavor.

  • ShellyV Posted: 03/21/09
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    I do agree with the other reviews...lots of prep work and I also expected more excitement from this recipe. It was great...I guess I was just expecting something different. I made a couple of substitutions: cubed pork tenderloin instead of shoulder; canned stewed tomatoes instead of plum; red pepper instead of green and Mexican oregano instead of oregano. I also garnished with lowfat sour cream. I will make it again.

  • twoloves Posted: 01/12/09
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    I followed the recipe as stated except I could not find the spicy tomato sauce, so I used regular. We're not huge fans of very saucy chili, which this was, so I think next time I may omit the tomato sauce altogether. Otherwise, fantastic!

  • Healthyatbest Posted: 02/06/09
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    Normally, I do not like chili, but since I have very little time I will try almost any recipe in my slow cooker. This recipe exceeded my expectations in every way. It had very complex and full flavors and both me and my husband thought it was excellent. I would not change a thing about it. Do not leave off the toppings as they add immeasurably to the flavor of the dish. We also added slices of avocado which was delicious.

  • Erks23 Posted: 01/13/09
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    I would definitely make this again. That being said, I made a few substitutions: 2 smoked pork chops/ham hock (key substitution!) red/green pepper 1/2 cup tomatilla salsa/tomatillos (use less hot sauce if you do this, unless you want it really hot) ale/lager Served with sliced avocado.

  • ajvogt Posted: 01/21/09
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    I followed this recipe almost exactly as it was written. We all thought that is was the best chili ever made or eaten. Thankfully I had doubled the recipe. I made it on the stove because it wouldn't fit into my crock pot. Yes more work that typical chili but well worth the extra effort!

  • AdrianaG Posted: 01/11/09
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    Good, almost great flavor but... Way too many ingredients(20)! Prep took more than half an hour before putting everything in the slow cooker. Minor changes - could not find ground pork in the supermarket so I used Italian sausage. I used petite diced regular canned tomatoes instead of plum and used double-strength tomato paste concentrate that comes in a tubes. Keep in mind you will need to buy a 5-7 pound pork shoulder and will have 4-6# left over since this recipe only uses 1# of. Will make it again but not often because it is too time consuming and requires a special trip to the grocery store.

  • rockstar3577 Posted: 02/06/09
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    Like others have said, this recipe was average for the amount of prep. time. My husband says "it's just another chili recipe." It's good, but it's not exceptional. Because of the prep. work I probably would not make it again.

  • NancyVA Posted: 02/01/09
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    I made this today for Super Bowl Sunday. My boyfriend said it was very good and that he thinks it is better than my other chili recipe I have been making for years. It does take time to prepare, but the results are worth it. Go Steelers!!!!

  • bajaboolie Posted: 02/11/09
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    I'm not much of a chili person, but I really enjoyed this recipe. The meat was very tender, and the flavors were just fabulous. I used ancho chile powder instead of standard chile powder. I wish I had this recipe for a friend's chili cook off a couple weeks ago! I absolutely will make this again.

  • LANNY7NELMS Posted: 01/24/09
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    Great recipe. Lots of chopping is good therapy. My question - I cooked it on the stove top in a dutch oven. Brought it to a boil, covered and reduced to simmer. I felt like I needed more liquid so I added some V-8. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  • Michelle3 Posted: 01/30/09
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    This was one of the best chilis I have ever had. I can't wait to make it for friends!

  • MGS2229 Posted: 02/06/09
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    This chili was excellent! It was very time consuming, but well worth the effort. I agree with other posters that the spice wasn't exactly there. My husband and I added chopped jalapeno and some paprika and cayenne pepper to make up for it. The cilantro in this dish is wonderful! Also, I was skeptical about whether the lime wedges were needed, but they totally added. I squirted lime in before tasting, and it was divine! This recipe is now one of our family favorites!

  • BreakofDay Posted: 01/09/10
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    I followed this recipe exactly, and it was wonderful. I entered it in a chili cook-off at my church, and it took 3rd place (out of almost 20 entries). Two of the three judges said they liked the flavor, but it wasn't spicy enough for them; the third judge liked it best. It's not particularly mild, more of a medium spiciness. My only hesitation in making this again is there's a lot of preparation required.

  • StephanieArthur Posted: 02/14/09
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    Very yummy. It was a lot of effort (at least in finding all the meat parts), but it was very tasty! I would probably add a bit more of something spicy next time, but even our six year old niece liked it as it was.

  • MissippiLawLady Posted: 03/18/09
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    This is great, and here are some easy modifications: add a handful of masa (corn tamale flour) mid-way through cooking (texture is amazing), add 2 chopped chipotles in adobo sauce (Embasa brand), and I left out the ground pork in favor of beef stew meat. Unreal!! Very good with cornbread waffles. The chipotles will add an amazing, smoky spice to it. I also make my own chili powder using Alton Brown's recipe. I made a vegetarian version with black beans (no ham hock, obviously) and brought it to a potluck--people went nuts! Everyone who's tried it loves this chili.

  • yannie Posted: 04/07/09
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    This was just okay, way too much prep and ingredients for the taste. I have made chili with fewer steps and ingredients. If you have to do a lot of substitutions/alerations then you are not using the original recipe. I was afraid that the ham hock would yield too much salt so I didn't put any on the meat when I was cooking it. Had I done so I think it would have added a depth to the flavor. Also, I didn't really get a smoky taste from the hamhock at all. I don't think it added anything to the dish but an increased cost. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I would make again.

  • ColoradoGal Posted: 04/09/09
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    We loved this recipe - my husband said it was the best chili I've made. That said, I made several adjustments to use what I already had on hand in order to save a bit of money & time 1) used regular tomato sauce & added a bit of Chaloula instead of the special tomato sauce 2) used ground beef & some bits of sirloin instead of pork 3) instead of pork shoulder added a very small handful of cubed, cooked ham & a few dashes of liquid smoke to get the smokey flavor 4) used black beans I already had in the pantry instead of pinto beans 5) used just a mexican cheese blend instead of queso fresco Chili is great because it lends itself so easily to modifications - recipies are more like guidelines anyways right! :-)

  • globalgyro Posted: 11/13/09
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    Very different chili, but taste is very good. I didn't have ground pork, I used 80/20 Angus ground chuck.

  • ellie31773 Posted: 10/24/09
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    We often make this for guests, and they always ask for the recipe. It makes fantastic leftovers too, either stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen for months.

  • omigbd Posted: 01/30/10
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    Although it does take some prep work and perhaps a trip to a Mexican store, this recipe is OH SO GOOD! I saw that one person already suggested what I was about to .. I used some sauce from a can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and it added a bit of spiciness. I could not find "Mexican tomato sauce". I will add more of the adobo sauce next time I make it, but otherwise we LOVED it!!

  • Brian74 Posted: 01/23/10
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    This recipe is AWESOME!!!! It's not to hard and rather quick to prepare. I have made this dish several times for friends and family and they all loved it.

  • shgale65 Posted: 03/14/10
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    As others have said flavor was very good, I used bison instead of pork and that has an excellent flavor. Like the idea of the chipotle in adobo as someone else mentioned. The ham hock might not be necessary with the chipotle/adobo sauce. I will make again. Great to make ahead for a party and just warm up on the day.

  • SaraG7 Posted: 07/12/10
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    Really enjoyed this recipe- the smoky flavor is outstanding!

  • ShannonVK Posted: 09/23/10
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    I LOVE this chili recipe. I actually used country style ribs for my meat (it's really easy to use kitchen scissors and cut them into chunks) and also throw a smoked pepper in with it to give it a smoky flavor! YUM!

  • Rinne129 Posted: 03/06/11
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    This is a good Chili recipe; however, I don't think it's worth the time and effort. It is a bit different than your traditional chili, which is a plus, but it is certainly not better. From now on, I'll stick to the good 'ol 7 or so ingredient chili with zero prep.

  • LindaLooHoo Posted: 01/02/11
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    This is one FABULOUS chili--great for friends, a night, in, or even a chili cook-off. NOTE: The toppings are GREAT, but the lime makes the chili NEED a margarita...YUM! (We tried to match it with a wine, but couldn't find one. I think the lime throws it off (although it tastes GREAT!)...a beer didn't even work with it.) I couldn't find Mexican tomato sauce--used (Hendezera???) Mexican canned salsa (found in the Mexican food section) and puree'ed it. Used black AND white beans (drained and rinsed)--I thought it needed one more can of beans for the amount of meat. For the ground pork I used turkey pork sausage--didn't notice that it was turkey, and MUCH less fat! And, it didn't need the last bit of salt. I'm not convinced a ham hock is needed--I used a ham bone left over from a Christmas dinner; don't think it made a difference. Probably THE best chili I've ever had and made.

  • epestrad Posted: 03/21/11
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    This was a yummy chili recipe, although the prep was a little intense for crock pot cooking. I'm not really a fan of the cheese (shocking, I know) because when it melts, it gunks up the spoon.

  • flydogz Posted: 11/01/11
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    I made this for an office chili cook-off and I won for best chili!!! The prep is a little bit more than just dumping ingredients into a pot and putting on the lid. But, it's not that bad. My store had pre-chopped red onion and green papper in a container, so that saved quite a bit of time. I can't understand the complaints about fat and salt. You brown the pork and dump the fat. The only salt can come from the ham hock. I used a smoked pork hock that wasn't salt-cured. In fact, I used two, I cooked this on low all night. By morning, the hock was falling apart and I could smash/shred the pork shoulder cubes which made for a really great texture. The one can of picante tomato sauce gives just a mild kick. Fans of super hot chili are going to have to "pump things up". I used an amber ale for the beer. Might try a good dark beer next time to deepen the flavor even more.

  • Blairdog Posted: 02/20/12
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    My and my friends all time favorites. I used about 2/3# of the ground pork and 1/2# chorizo for a deeper spicyness.Black and kidney beans add some deeper color as well as texture. I've made this dish a number of times and, like most one pot stews, it just gets better and better.

  • LovesPitBulls Posted: 03/02/12
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    I have been making this recipe for several years...I believe it was on the cover one month. I've never made this chili from the exact recipe, but here is what I do to achieve what I feel is a 5-star-worthy chili: No ham hock (unappetizing to me, regardless of the flavor they may add), omit ground pork and increase the pork shoulder (or roast, or butt, whatever looks nice and lean and doesn't require a ton of trimming), increase the spices, add more beans (just because I like it that way!) and everything else is pretty much the same. Oh, and I usually add the whole can of beer. What results is a nearly overflowing crock pot full of deliciousness (which is even better the next day). If you like to follow recipes exactly I doubt this review will be helpful, but in my opinion it's a great basic recipe to change to suit your preferences. I've served this to visiting family members and friends, and everyone really enjoyed it.

  • rmontg03 Posted: 04/07/13
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    I have made this chili a few time and the whole family loves it!

  • VicPic Posted: 10/29/12
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    I love this chili recipe and always get rave reviews. I follow the recipe but like it with a little more kick. I add 1 Tablespoon of Mrs Renfros Habanaro Salsa and chopped tomatoes with green chilies. I omit the sugar. If you don't like spicey chili, this may not be for you.

  • fallingsnow Posted: 01/24/13
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    Definitely one of the best chili recipes I've tried - my husband raved about it and had 3 bowls! I omitted the ham hock completely, and used a pork loin roast (no ground pork.) Other small changes I made as requested by other reviewers (that I do not really think affected the final outcome all that much): I used 2 cans of beans instead of one, and a little bit of ancho chili powder for spice. I'd be interested to know if it is really necessary to pre-cook the veggies - next time, I may try browning the pork and then just dumping everything else into the slow cooker. I agree that it involved more prep work than usual for a slow cooker recipe, but I feel it was totally worth it. I will definitely be making this again!

  • Beckyw66 Posted: 11/05/12
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    Update- made it again....... Yes this has to be the best chili ever. Froze half and defrosted it was still the best! WOW, this was excellent! I always recommend making a recipe as listed on the first time and then making to your taste. The only change I would make to this is adding more beans. I think you could add any type you prefer.

  • AdrienneRichey Posted: 10/30/12
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    The pork shoulder was a mistake as it has far too much fat (esp when there's a ham hock in there too!). I skimmed off like a cup and a half of grease and still feel the chili is very greasy. I like the idea, but light it is not

  • carolfitz Posted: 02/16/13
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    Basically followed directions & cooked stovetop til pork was tender. Used a small poblano along with the bell pepper to make the measure, used a full bottle of beer, subbed Rotel for plain tomatoes. Shredded the tender hock meat and added back in. Forgot to include beans BUT the chili was excellent anyway, nicely seasoned, great colors & flavors. Very good. (the recipe in CL has a slightly different title & intro than on myrecipes.com -- but all else looks the same)

  • paxtekton Posted: 01/01/14
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    really good. the crowd really liked it. used ancho chili powder instead of regular, otherwise matched the recipe.

  • mlcook Posted: 07/10/14
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    Outstanding recipe. Haven't made it yet. As I cook for 2, can some of it be frozen for later use?

  • kharney Posted: 03/08/14
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    I really enjoyed this and I've made it several times. Sometimes I mix up the meat, but I never substitute the other ingredients. You really need everything to get that great taste.

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