It was almost three years ago when I was browsing through AllRecipes and looking over their page on top ten chili recipes based on popularity. To my surprise, I came across a recipe that had a connection with my alma mater: the Boilermaker Tailgate Chili recipe. The author mentioned that this was a recipe made for the Purdue football game tailgates; as a Purdue grad, I almost felt like I was obligated to try this recipe out. I told myself that one day I would give the recipe a shot, and now I had the chance to make good on that claim.

Two weeks ago I decided to expand my kitchen tools yet again and purchased a Crock Pot. Having never owned one before, I was very excited about the chance to test the Crock Pot out. It was only at work when the thought of “slow cooker chili” planted itself in my head. I remembered the Boilermaker Tailgate Chili recipe and saw the window of opportunity.

Slow Cooker Chili
Makes ~ 2.5 quarts of chili

~ 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
~ 1 (15 oz.) can chili beans with mild/medium sauce
~ 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
~ 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I used one with added green chiles)
~ 1/2 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
~ 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
~ 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
~ 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
~ 2 cubes beef bouillon
~ 4 – 6 slices bacon, chopped
~ 6 oz. beer (I would recommend using a darker beer, like a porter or stout)
~ 2 tbsp chili powder
~ 1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tbsp minced garlic
~ 1-1/2 tsp oregano
~ 1 tsp ground cumin
~ 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
~ 1/2 tsp basil
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1/2 tsp pepper
~ 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
~ 1/2 tsp paprika
~ 1/2 tsp sugar
~ 1 tsp Dijon mustard
~ Shredded cheddar cheese
~ Fritos Scoops corn chips
~ Sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

Prep Work:

  • Go ahead and grab your vegetables to begin chopping them up. Just remember that it’s okay to keep the chunks a little larger, since they’ll shrink while they cook down in the chili.
  • Mince up your garlic (I used about 4 or 5 cloves) and set that aside as well.
  • Take out a larger bowl and measure out all of your spices into it. Since they’re all going into the same pot, it doesn’t hurt to prep this ahead of time to streamline things later.


  • Take out the ground beef and crumble it into a skillet on medium-high heat. Cook it just enough to brown the outside (shouldn’t be more than a minute or so) before setting that aside.
  • The only other thing that will be cooked on the stovetop would be the bacon. However, the bacon should be added in right before serving (since cooking it in the slow cooker would just soften it up) or even as your final garnish. It’s your call if you want to get it out of the way and cook it now while you have the pan out, or cook it later right before the slow cooker is done cooking.

Slow Cooker:

  • Pour into the slow cooker the chili beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir that up a little bit to combine everything before also adding in the bouillon cubes and vegetables.
  • With almost all the main ingredients in the pot, go ahead and slowly pour in the spices and the Dijon mustard, mixing intermittently to combine everything together.
  • Add in the ground beef and the beer before mixing everything together one final time. Throw the lid on, set the slow cooker on low, and let it do its thing for about eight hours.


  • There are a number of ways that you could serve this, but this is what I had in my head: scoop it out into a bowl, sprinkle the chopped bacon bits on top as well as the cheddar cheese, throw a dollop of sour cream / Greek yogurt on there, and have a bowl of the Fritos Scoops on the side for dipping.

As my first time making chili, I was very happy with how it came out. I kept having small spoonfuls while the chili was cooling off, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those small spoonfuls had added up to a bowl’s worth by the time it made it into the fridge. I liked how the consistency of the chili came out, where it was a nice balance between liquidy and thick. The chili did have a little bit of a kick, but not so much as to overwhelm you. It was just enough for you to acknowledge that afterburn when eating it.

All in all, I think that the amount of work (and waiting) definitely paid off. I had my Crock Pot full of chili when I brought it into work yesterday and walked out with an empty pot by the end of the night!

Categories: Recipes

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