The tradition of chili on Halloween started with my parents when my sister and I were growing up. It is the perfect meal before or after (or both!) trick-or-treating on a cold October night. Made in the afternoon, the chili stays on the stove and can be reheated throughout the night as neighbors drop by during the festivities. Made with hearty chunks of beef chuck and homemade chili powder, Jim’s Texas Chili is extra special!

Ingredients for Jim’s Texas Chili

  • 3 lbs. beef chuck, cubed
  • 1/4 lb. bacon, diced
  • 3 yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 t. salt
  • One 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 T. home ground chili powder (instructions below)
  • 1 bottle nice lager beer (optional)


Core and seed 12 dried chilis. (Jim uses 8 pasilla, 2 New Mexico and 2 chipotle.) Grind in food processor or blender with 1 T. coarsely ground cumin and 1 T. whole dried oregano leaves until fine.

Preheat oven to 275°. In a Dutch oven sauté the bacon until clear. Add the cubed meat and brown over high heat. When meat is nicely caramelized, add the onions and cook until clear. Add the garlic, chili powder, salt, and jalapeños. Stir to evenly distribute seasonings.

Add the diced tomatoes, including the juices. If desired, add enough lager to not quite cover the meat. Stir. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and transfer to preheated oven for one to one and a half hours. Meat will be soft and tender when chili is done. Adjust seasonings to taste before serving.