Award Winning Southern Soul Chili

Last weekend, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride!  I had chopped, cooked and tasted chili for several days.  The reason…I’d entered a Chili Challenge sponsored by our local Farmers Market.  It’s a great event that teams up market vendors with community partners and all money raised benefits the market.  I had two great partners, Charles Sheppard from Sir Charles Gourmet BBQ Sauces and Tommy Neese from Neese’s Country Sausage so I was feeling pretty good about going up against some formidable competitors.  During my prep week, I’d made several different batches of chili and called on a few special taste testers to weigh in on my recipe and thank goodness, they knew what they were doing!  The days were flying by and then, finally, on Thursday night, everything came together and I had the recipe perfected.  Friends…all that hard work paid off – we WON! 

A Southern Soul | Chili Challenge

Here’s the winning recipe along with my notes.  It might look complicated but it’s not.  The ingredients are easily purchased in your local grocery store with the exception of one, the BBQ Sauce.  I am providing you a link on where to purchase Sir Charles Gourmet Sauce.  The Extra Ingredient, is a speciality food store that provides excellent service, helpful advice and they are happy to ship directly to you.  I’m sure you’ll change up the recipe somewhat, but the integrity of this dish will be changed without this sauce.

A Southern Soul | Chili Ingredients
I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know how you like it.  It was a fun day with great friends and I am honored that this chili was the crowds favorite!
A Southern Soul | Chili Recipe
Southern Soul Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 lb hot sausage
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 poblano pepper – chopped
2 stalks celery – chopped
1 medium onion – minced
2 tablespoons garlic – minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
4 oz tomato paste – canned or from tube
1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup Sir Charles BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Sir Charles Hot BBQ sauce
12 oz lager Beer
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
2 cans (15oz) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

A Southern Soul | Chili Sauce
  • In an extra large stock pot or cast iron skillet, brown ground beef and sausage.  Add chopped vegetables, except garlic, and cook until meats are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
  • Lower heat to medium.  Add chili powder, tomatoes,
    tomato paste and sauce to pot, mixing well. Scrape any bits from the bottom of
    pot. Cook for about 15 minutes stirring often.
  • Stir in beer, beef broth, minced garlic,Worcestershire, vinegar and honey.  Stir to blend ingredients.
  • Simmer for about 1.5 hours stirring
    frequently allowing chili flavors to marry.  If sauce gets too thick, add water in 1/4 cup amounts.
  • Add beans and cook another 30 minutes, stirring
    frequently. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  • Serve with garnishes and extras – sour cream, scallions, grated cheese, hot sauce, jalapeños, hot corn bread.
    • This recipe can be finished in the crock pot.  Make chili sauce and put mixture in crock pot .  Add beans and cook on low for 4 hours.
    • Chili freezes well.  Allow to cool, put in zip lock bags and lay flat in freezer for storage.
    • You may purchase Sir Charles Gourmet BBQ Sauce from The Extra Ingredient in Greensboro, NC by calling toll free ~ 800-528-3618.
A Southern Soul | Winning Chili Recipe

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  1. I attempted to make this chili before I got your recipe and I used pinto beans (my husband's favorite) and it was great with the Neese's sausage. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on the win!

    • THANK YOU, Tracy! I think it's gonna be good with just about any kind of bean. I used the red beans, since they are traditionally used in chili then added the black beans. I LOVE pinto beans so I'm sure it was delicious. Thank you for your kind works on our win!
      Have a great weekend!

  2. Hi! Stopping by via Let's Get Social Sunday! Following and would love if you followed back!

  3. I love it when I see a title that includes the words "award winning chili". I've gotten so many good recipes. I agree, chili recipes can seem so complicated due to the line up of ingredients, but they're usually pretty easy. And you now what I'm loving about yours? Worchestershire sauce. note to self next time I make Chili. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. What can I substitute for the lager beer?

  5. This looks great, but what can I substitute for the lager beer?

  6. Heidi M says:

    So, you don't drain the fat off of the meat before adding the rest of the ingredients?

  7. I made this tonight! It is so good. However, i did just brown the meat and stick it all in a crock pot and put it on low for 5 hours instead of all the stove top work. I also added chipotle peppers to give it that extra smokey flavor. 🙂 thanks for the amazing recipe!

  8. Angela says:

    Hi! I'd love to make this for a party I'm hosting on Sunday. I won't have time to order the Sir Charles Sauces. What ingredients are key that I could just add individually? Also, how much do you think this makes? I'm hosting 20 adults, should I double it?

    • Oh my gosh Angela – I just saw your comment. It actually landed in my spam box. Just for the record, you can use your favorite BBQ sauce ( a regular one, not sweet) and then the rest of the ingredients are pretty straight forward. If you are feeding 20, I would double the recipe. If you have any left over, just know that it freezes well.

  9. You mention hot sausage. Do you mean sausage meat or spicy sausage meat? Thx

  10. What can I use instead of Beer?

  11. Soni M says:

    Hi there, thank you for the recipe. I have been needing to make a good chili for a long time! All my chilies have not been very good. So going to give this a shot. What brand of chili powder would you recommend? Please let me know. Thanks again!

  12. Leslie says:


    I live in Charlotte, and no one sells that BBQ sauce. Is there another brand you recommend?

    • Leslie, you can use whatever BBQ you like. Adding the BBQ sauce, no matter what brand is important ~ it gives the chili an extra zing!
      Thanks for stopping by.

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