Cowboy Beef, Beer & Black Bean Chili Recipe Wins Awards!

 by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I love chili that contains beans, but RancherMan typically declares that it’s not ‘real chili’ if it contains beans. To appease his purist NO BEANS IN THE CHILI mindset I include one of his favorites in my recipe – dark beer!

COWBOY CHILI RECIPE! If you love chili you'll love this one - it's a hearty recipe that includes beef, Black Beans and Dark BEER! #TexasHomesteader

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Chili Recipe Wins An Award

Recently a call went out by Working Ranch Magazine for our favorite recipe to be included in their Dinner Bell feature. And of course I submitted this chili recipe.

I’m so humbled to say that it won the contest!  (blushes)  What an honor.

I’ve been asked several times to share my recipe so here it goes!

(NOTE: I often serve this delicious bone-warming meal with a big batch of homemade Jalapeno Cornbread cooked up fresh in my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet!)

Jalapeno cornbread goes perfectly with a large bowl of beef, black bean and dark beer chili. #TexasHomesteader

I will say that this cornbread recipe is light, fluffy & moist – not like the dry cornbread we’ve all been forced to choke down at one time or another. It’s one of RancherMan’s favorite bread sides and he brags about it all time time.
(Blushes)  Awwwww RancherMan, you sweet-talking man, you…

What Meat Is Used In Chili?

Is the recipe flexible? Well of course, or else it would have never made it in my kitchen! I prefer chili ground meat, but regular ground meat works too.

Simple but award-winning chili recipe. Beef, bean and dark beer Cowboy Chili. #TexasHomesteader

Ground Beef – the standard for this recipe

Beef Brisket – marbling works well in chili

Chunked beef – Round, chuck or sirloin work well

Ground Venison – I often substitute with chili-ground venison

Ground Pork – RancherMan’s a hunter, so I often have ground pork

Ground Chicken or Turkey – a lower-fat meat alternative

Beans or No Beans In Chili?

Whether you add beans to your chili or not is a very personal choice. Here in Texas most chili connoisseurs prefer it with lots of meat and no beans.

But I much prefer to add beans. Pure meat chili just seems too fatty, too greasy and too heavy to me.

The recipe below calls for black beans. But you can use pinto beans if desired. Or leave the beans out if you prefer – it’s all up to you!

What Vegetables Do You Add To Chili?

The heavy hitters for vegetables typically added to chili are:



Bell pepper


Spicy jalapeno

What Seasonings Go In Chili?

There are many recipes out there with any variety of seasoning mixtures. But the most popular seasonings for a pot of homemade chili are:

Chili Powder


Crushed Red Pepper


How To Thicken Chili

RancherMan likes thick, hearty chili. There are a couple of ways I make sure it’s thick and hearty:

COWBOY CHILI RECIPE! If you love chili you'll love this one - it's a hearty recipe that includes beef, Black Beans and Dark BEER! #TexasHomesteader

Tomato Paste – Added at the beginning

Masa Harina – Masa harina is made from a dough made of corn soaked in lime water, then dried & ground. I  stir in 1/4 cup of masa harina in the last hour of cooking.

Optional Toppings For Chili

You don’t have to top your homemade chili with anything, but there are a few fun toppings to add if you’re a mind to:

Chopped jalapenos or onions

Sour cream (I make my own Homemade Sour Cream using yogurt)

Creamy Hatch Chile Sauce

Quick Garlic Herb Sauce

Simple Pico de Gallo in minutes

Garden Fresh Pico de Gallo uses fresh chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. #TexasHomesteader

What Sides Go With Chili?

Looking for side additions with your chili supper? Here are a few of our favorites.

Jalapeno Cornbread 

Mix & bake Cheddar Sour Cream Biscuits

or any of our Homemade Bread recipes really!

Any of a variety of Flavored Rice

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are quick & easy to make yourself. #TexasHomesteader

So without further adieu – here’s my RancherMan-Pleasing chili recipe:

Did you make this chili? Please rate the recipe in your comment below!

5 from 2 votes

Cowboy Beef, Beer & Bean Chili Recipe

Thick, hearty chili made with beef, black beans and dark beer. This recipe won an award in 'Working Ranch Magazine'. #TexasHomesteader

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, black beans, chili, dark beer
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 People


  • 2 Pounds 95% lean ground beef (I often use chili-ground venison or pork)
  • 1 Large onion, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Medium bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 Large jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped (omit seeding if you like the heat)
  • 1/4 Cup chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Cups beef broth (or 14-oz can )
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14-oz can zesty-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Cups dark beer (or 12-oz bottle)
  • 1/3 Cup tomato paste
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I start with 1½ tsp each)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey optional
  • chopped fresh cilantro optional
  • ¼ Cup Masa Harina , optional (To thicken during final hour of cooking)



  1. Brown ground meat in stockpot over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking up into crumbles. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the grease.

  2. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Then add bell peppers and jalapeño; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes more, or until peppers are tender.

  3. Return beef crumbles to stockpot. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and red pepper. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, black beans, broth, beer, tomato paste and honey; bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes.

  5. Uncover stockpot; add masa harina if desired & continue simmering 30 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

  6. Stir in beans; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until beans are heated through. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Recipe Notes

I like to ladle this hearty chili into big bowls and top with spicy sliced peppers and include our favorite homemade Jalapeno Cornbread. Yum. Bon Appetite!


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14 thoughts on “Cowboy Beef, Beer & Black Bean Chili Recipe Wins Awards!

  1. Dona

    Something has to be missing from this recipe, one 15 oz can of black beans are the only beans listed. That’s not enough and I see pinto or red beans in the chili pictures. Are you sure your recipe is complete? I’d like to make it, wonderful story but it can’t be right.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That’s correct, I only include 1 can of drained and rinsed beans in this recipe Dona. But in my true ‘#UseWhatchaGot’ manner of thinking I often add a can of whatever beans I’ve got in the pantry if I don’t have black beans. Sometimes it’s pinto or red beans instead. But if I have black beans that’s always what I use, and the basis of the actual recipe. RancherMan doesn’t like lots of beans in his chili so one can is all I’ll add. Venison meat is the predominant star of the show with this recipe, beans are just the accent. But the beauty of homemade is tweaking it to your own family’s liking, so you can certainly add more beans if you like. I’ll say this: You won’t be sorry trying this recipe. RancherMan has begged me for years to include it in chili cookoff competitions! haha. And as the post mentions it actually did win an award in a country magazine. So give it a try! ~TxH~

  2. Joe

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect. Loved it. 5 stars.

  3. Thelma Briggs

    5 stars
    We love this chili recipe. I like to make it with venison. It makes enough to enjoy later too. I’m thinking chili/cheese fries topped with sliced jalapenos tomorrow with some of the leftover chili.

  4. Candy C.

    Congrats on winning the recipe contest! 🙂
    I love adding dark beer to chili, it really adds some depth of flavor. My Farmgirl Friday recipe is for Chocolate Guinness cake. Must be beer day! LOL!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Uh oh, Candy – another great compromise food – CHOCOLATE for me and GUINNESS for RancherMan? I simply must check it out!

  5. Glenda

    What a neat life you live!! Love your sweet spirit and positive attitude! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I can’t wait to try it and many congrats on the contest award sister! God bless you and your family and the material things He has blessed you with that helps others. You’re a good soul!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      (blushes) I’m so humbled by your sweet comments Glenda. Thank you for your kindness. Give the chili recipe a try, it really *IS* good and perfect on a cold winter’s night. It freezes well too so you can have a quick supper or topping for enchiladas, etc. for a very hearty meal in a flash! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      1. Glenda

        Thank you for the reply with the helpful suggestions! I am very proud to say I have Texas in my blood even though I don’t live there at present. My father, God rest his soul, was a dyed in the wool Texan and my ancestors settled Angelina County. I have two sisters that live down that way. One in Midland and the other in Shepherd.

        There’s something quite special about true Texans. What you see is what you get. No need to put on airs and visitors in their homes are treated like family. The way a Texan speaks is articulate and to the point and the words are chosen perfectly to convey a thought like it’s an art form, yet it’s as natural as breathing when you’re from down that way.

        And the accent! What woman wouldn’t go weak in the knees hearing George Strait say “Howdy Ma’am”? LOL

        It has truly made my day to find your site and I will have alot of fun exploring all that I’ve missed.

        I was born in S.C. but lived in WY most of my life. My stepfather is a cattle rancher there so I’m familiar with the life you live. Throwing hay bales at 5am in 20 below weather to feed cows is just a day in the life! LOL We live in NV now. My husband is down in Houston right now for his job.

        Well, I won’t bore you to tears much longer! It’s just always nice to meet someone REAL and who knows what down home living is truly all about. Again, God bless you and thank you again!

        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          Glenda, what a treat that you’ve shared this information with us. Um, yes, “Howdy Ma’am” is a weak-in-the-knees moment. Most cowboys I know are true and sincere, strong but sweet, rugged but absolutely adorable. (Including my handsome RancherMan!) I’ve lived in Texas since I was a young child and I can’t imagine living anywhere else – especially since finding my small town in Texas.

  6. Marlene

    Hi there,
    Could you please tell me if it would still retain its’ (the chili) great flavor without the beer? Cannot
    drink beer and cannot cook with it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Marlene, there are many recipes with similar ingredients but without beer so I’m sure it will turn out fine. I’ve never made this particular recipe without the dark beer, to me it adds a complexity to the flavor that can’t be beat. But if you try it without the beer let us know how it turns out – I’m sure it will still be great.

  7. Jean

    Woohoo!! Congratulations on the win!


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