Photo: Oxmoor House
Total Time
5 Hours 35 Mins
8 servings

This hearty slow cooker pork chili with pinto beans gets its smoky flavor from the combination of chili powder, cumin, oregano. tomatillos, and Mexican-style hot tomato sauce.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to slightly crumble. Drain well. Transfer pork to an electric slow cooker.

Step 2

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add pork shoulder; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to slow cooker.

Step 3

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add chili powder, and next 9 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and ham hock; discard. Stir in sugar. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve each serving with 1 lime wedge.

Step 4

Note: You can also cook the chili in a slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. For cooking chili on the stovetop, use a total of 12 ounces beer and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pork shoulder is tender.

Chef's Notes

Pork shoulder is usually sold in weights greater than a pound. Ask your butcher to trim off the amount you need, or look for pork shoulder steaks. Serve with corn bread.

This recipe has been retested for Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight, 2012

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Ratings & Reviews

Atomicaunt's Review

April 19, 2012

MissippiLawLady's Review

March 18, 2009
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.

blueeyes54's Review

September 26, 2014
Very good. I kept going back for another bite.

mlcook's Review

July 10, 2014
Outstanding recipe. Haven't made it yet. As I cook for 2, can some of it be frozen for later use?

kharney's Review

March 08, 2014
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.

paxtekton's Review

January 01, 2014
really good. the crowd really liked it. used ancho chili powder instead of regular, otherwise matched the recipe.

MountainchefIII's Review

December 11, 2013

Lacie713's Review

September 08, 2013

rmontg03's Review

April 07, 2013
I have made this chili a few time and the whole family loves it!

carolfitz's Review

February 16, 2013
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 -- but all else looks the same)