the perfect cold day companion

This is the chili recipe that I always go to when it is cold outside and I want something to keep me warm and energized. The basis of this recipe is actually from Ryan Summerskill, the first ACM president at K-State when it first restarted back in the mid-2000s. Since then I’ve modified it to fit my mood and the ingredients I have on hand. Let’s face it: good chili has a recipe; great chili needs none!


This recipe barely fits in the smaller electric roaster I own, which is approximately 6 quarts. Half of it should do for a large pot on the stove, or make double or triple the recipe for a large roaster if you have to feed an entire group.


  • 2 lb. ground meat, browned
    • freshly ground or coarsely chopped is better
    • can add leftover meats, such as pork carnitas
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chilis like RO-TEL (optional)
  • 2 whole fresh tomatoes, diced
  • hot water (as needed)
  • seasonings:
    • cumin (lots)
    • chili powder (lots)
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • dried yellow mustard
    • cinnamon (just a little)
    • oregano
    • thyme
    • salt
    • pepper
    • sugar (to cut the acidity if needed, usually I don’t use any)


  • 6 qt electric roaster (or comparable sized large stockpot or slow cooker)
  • large skillet


  1. Brown the meat. I like to give it just a bit of crispiness to add flavor to the chili. You can do this while the rest of the chili is simmering to save time.
  2. Preheat electric roaster to around 350°F.


  1. Sautè peppers & onions in skillet with oil or butter until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic to pan, sautè until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, chili beans, kidney beans, browned meat and veggies to electric roaster. Add water if needed to cover everything.
  4. Bring to boil, then lower heat to 250°F and simmer for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Add water as needed to keep things moist.
  5. Season to taste about 10-15 minutes before serving.

I recommend serving with cheese, sour cream, corn chips, fresh onion, etc. to make a delicious meal.


  • 2016-12-20 - Got the seasoning just about right on this one. The seasoning is definitely the most difficult part to get right. I usually go slow, adding a bit at a time and tasting as I go until it is just right. Remember that it will be more fragrant when hot.