Arizona Spiced Beef Brisket Chili

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Recipe from "Your Gridiron Gourmet" by Lisa Jensen

We start off our cookbook with an amazing rendition of undeniably the most popular football food of all.  A super-hearty, super-satisfying, Super Bowl-worthy take on the football classic: CHILI.

Leave hamburger on the sidelines!  Get your football arm in shape by slicing up a whole beef brisket into bite size cubes and then chopping up some butternut squash (not an easy veggie to tackle) as the key ingredients to this mouth watering meaty main course!

Butternut squash in chili??  Yes!  We have been making chili with beef brisket for years, but upon eyeing a recipe with butternut squash on the cover of a food magazine, we had to try it.  The squash adds wonderful color, smoothness, and a touch of sweetness making the chili something that just… might…. go… all the way! 

Sidebar: You will need a large oven-proof pot because this chili is not going to sit on top of the stove and simmer slowly!  We are going to put it in the oven and bake it at 350 degrees for 4 hours so the brisket melts in your mouth when you take that first beefy bite.


1. To slice the beef brisket, cut it across the grain into 1 inch strips.  Cut the fat off the bottom of each slice if desired.  Then, cut each strip into 1 inch cubes.  Place beef in a large bowl and generously season with 2 teaspoons salt & 1 teaspoon pepper.  Allow beef to sit while you are preparing everything else.
2. To chop the butternut squash, don’t peel it first because it becomes very slippery as you remove the layer of skin.  Cut it into 1 inch thick rounds (be careful as this type of squash can be hard to cut through), then lay each round flat on the cutting board and chop off the skin in small pieces.  Then, chop the squash into 1 inch cubes.  The thicker part of the squash may have seeds that need to be removed.
3. Get creative with the chili powder.  Don’t use the same old chili power that has been sitting on your spice rack for years.  Use Chipotle chili power (hot), New Mexican chili powder (medium), Ancho chili powder (mild) or Cayenne (hot) also works well.  Or, make it your own dish by creating a special mix of chili powders and of course tell your friends that they can’t buy it off you for love or money.  Well, maybe for a Super Bowl ticket or two.
4. Chili can be made a day ahead and in fact the brisket further tenderizes overnight.  If you do this, take chili from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.  Reheat on your stovetop over medium heat stirring occasionally.
5. Set out the garnishes just before serving so guests can pick & choose their toppings.

One 3 - 4 pound whole flat-cut beef brisket cut into 1 inch cubes, placed in a large bowl and seasoned with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 large celery ribs, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper cut in half lengthwise, seeds and membrane removed, then minced
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juices
2 4-ounce cans diced roasted green chilies
1 can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 cup beef broth
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
1 teaspoon cumin
8 shakes of your favorite hot sauce such as Tabasco
1 or 2 tablespoons chili powder (If you are using the hotter varieties of chilies, 1 tablespoon will be enough)
3 cups butternut squash peeled & cut in 1-inch pieces (keep refrigerated as it will be added during the last hour of cooking)

Fresh Cilantro
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Celery Sticks
Tortilla Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in a large oven proof pot (an 8 quart stock pot works best) over medium heat.
Add onions & celery and sauté until soft – about 8 - 10 minutes.
Add jalapeño and sauté another minute.
Add beef to pot (no need to brown the meat).
Add tomatoes, chilies, beans, broth, beer, cumin and hot sauce.
Stir well continuing over medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon chili powder or your mix of chili powders per our PREP COACH suggestions.  This may be too spicy for some so use less if you are not accustomed to spice or if you choose to use the hotter varieties of chilies!  More spice can be added later after a taste test.
Stir well and keeping the pot at medium heat, bring chili to a simmer.
Cover and place in the oven.  Cook for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, remove chili from the oven and stir in the squash.
Before putting chili back in the oven, do a taste test and add more chili powder, hot sauce, salt or pepper if desired.  Add liquid at this point (as in more beer!) if chili is too dry.  Place pot back into oven, covered, for 1 more hour.
Place your choice of garnishes in separate bowls to serve with the chili.
Serves 8 (or 4 linebackers!)