A Fireman's Homemade Chili Recipe

I was looking for a delicious homemade chili recipe and decided to ask, my friend Rich, a retired fireman. You know these guys know how to cook up some great stuff.

And sure enough he had a recipe.

In fact he was making it for his Christmas open house party he was having for a good 75 people. Yes I was invited.

I asked him if he would share his homemade chili recipe and he said yes, of course. What a guy. I've yet to meet a fireman I didn't like.

I knew this was going to be good as I watched him make this dish. I didn't want to miss a thing.

And let me tell you, this dish was more than I could have hoped for. It was great and pretty easy.

Like a lot of good recipes, letting it simmer a long time is where it's at.

This recipe makes a big pot of chili beans. I see no reason why you couldn't cut it in half.

A Fireman's Homemade Chili Recipe

Ingredients For Our Homemade Chili Recipe

  • 2 lbs. pinto beans, uncooked
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian Tomatoes (with Basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 bottle of Budweiser
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb. Pork Chorizo
  • 2 lbs. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 2 pkg. McCormick Chili Seasoning
  • 1 spiral Ham bone, optional
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth

Start with cooking the pinto beans first. Begin by going through the beans and looking for rocks and bad beans. The easiest way of doing this is by pouring a cup of beans at a time on the counter and sorting through them.

Once sorted, place the beans in a colander and give them a rinse. Add the beans to a good size pot. Remember the beans will expand in volume about 2 1/2 times. So use a big enough pot. Add enough cold water to cover the beans with 3 inches of water.

Put the burner on high until the beans begin to boil. Then reduce the heat to simmer with a low boil. Cook about 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add more water to keep them under water. The beans will be soft when done.

In the mean time:

Cook the sausage in a frying pan until done and drain the grease. Place the cooked sausage into a large stock pot.

Do the same thing with the hamburger and chorizo. Be sure to remove the skin on the chorizo before cooking. Drain the grease from each meat before adding to the stock pot.

In that same frying pan you used to cook the meat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the onion for 20 minutes.

Then add the garlic and bell pepper and saute an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

Add the onion mixture to the meat in the stock pot.

Add the following to the stock pot:

  • the 2 cans of Italian tomatoes
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 2 pkg. of McCormick Chili Seasoning, or your favorite
  • 3 cups of chicken broth

Stir all the ingredients and cook on medium heat until everything is simmering. Lower the heat to low and partially cover with a lid.

Now all your ingredients will be blending and marrying for great flavor until the beans are done.

After two hours and the beans are done add them to the stock pot with a slotted spoon. Once all the beans are in the pot you can decide if you need to add some of the water (from cooking the beans) to the chili beans to get the right consistency.

Now is the time to take a taste this homemade chili recipe and see if you want to add any additional seasonings like salt and pepper.

Now you will notice that I didn't mention the bone from the spiral ham. That's an optional item. My friend Rich added that because he was also serving a spiral ham at his Christmas party.

You might not have a spiral ham that you are serving. But if you are, feel free to throw it in. It will definitely add some additional flavor.

I would continue to let the homemade chili recipe simmer with a partial lid covering the pot for another hour or so. The partial lid will help keep the liquid from dissipating too much.

My friend Rich put this chili bean recipe in a crockpot to serve at his party which worked out great. It kept the chili beans hot through out the evening.

Serve this with cornbread or tortillas served in a tortilla warmer.

I like to have additional condiments to go along with this chili bean recipe. Things like sour cream, shredded cheese, and corn tortilla chips go well on top.

This dish, as prepared will not have a lot of spicy heat to it.

So if you are looking to heat this up, try adding one or more chopped chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and/or some chopped jalapeno or habanero peppers if you are really brave.

This recipe will serve about 25 - 30 people depending on what else you are serving.


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Made your apple pie recipe yesterday. Absolutely the best!! And no gap! Your spice mixture was just right.

I have the apple/corer/peeler and it made perfect slices in no time. Thank you so much for your wonderful step by step instructions and for the video. Much appreciated. Lucky me! :)

-B.A. from 

Hi! I just wanted to say that your tortilla recipe/video is pretty much the greatest thing ever! I'm a college student, so it's a really great/cheap thing to make. They're especially good with butter, honey, and brown sugar.

I just have to make sure my family doesn't find out I stopped using the family tortilla recipe! Ha! Thanks again!

-C.M. from 
Queens, New York

I just have to write to you and admit something! I'm preparing your spanish rice recipe at the moment AND....I want to thank you!

I had actually given up on making Spanish rice! No one, or no recipe, until YOURS, ever said to actually BROWN the rice so much.! I think thats the taste difference!

Thank YOU so much.  I followed your recipe exactly,..and it is absolutely wonderful!

-Martha MacDonald from 
Karlovac Croatia

Just to let you know that I found your website and love it. We have very limited Mexican produce in Australia and I am enjoying making your recipes.

I have made your enchilada sauce a few times now.  We all love it and have managed to find pinto beans at our central markets. Good Job. Well done.

-Wendy Sachse from 
Adelaide Australia

Rockin' Robin, you truly rock! I live in china right now, far, far away from my beloved Mexican food. Finding ingredients is hard enough, learning how to make everything from scratch no longer is with your recipes.

Though I've only tried your tortilla recipe, I will certainly be coming back to your site to make retried beans and Spanish rice!

My tortillas were awesome, best yet, thanks for giving us a night of Mexican food all the way over here in China!

-Erin from Santa Barbara, California

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I stumbled upon your website today as I searched the web for flour tortilla recipes. I made these just after viewing your video, and five of us devoured them.

SO DELICIOUS. And easy to make! I am most grateful to you for this simple, tasty recipe. Your video was a useful tutorial.

I've not attempted to make tortillas prior to making yours, though we often eat tortillas. We're vegetarians, so I was looking for a recipe which used canola oil instead of lard. You delivered. Merci.

-Frances Bolte

WOW! What a great website. Love how you show what to do and how it is supposed to look. Definitely in my favorites folder.

-Terri M from Florida Keys
Where good Mexican food is hard to find.

Just made your enchilada sauce recipe and that's what I've been looking for. I like the fact it has a little heat but not too much so my kids will eat it. Thank you for posting the recipe. i am turning leftover turkey into turkey enchiladas tonight but the star is really the sauce. Thanks again.

-Tony Starks, California