Sous Chef Jesse prepping the pork shoulder for the Smoker

Sous Chef Jesse prepping the pork shoulder for the Smoker

Never have cooked a chili before, I was a little nervous about not only being a participant in a chili cook-off but helping to organize the event. The pressure was on so I decided to research, then improvise.

The first thing I knew that I needed to do was to smoke some meat. How about a pork shoulder?


In a Hearty Fall Soups class with Chef Todd Leonard, we had made Texas Chili and Beans. I improvised here and there (mostly with pork shoulder instead of beef). It was a lot of fun.

Spicy Pork Chili cooking

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound sweet onion, medium dice
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
28 oz can, San Marzano Tomatoes
10 ounces Anaheim chili pepper, small dice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 teaspoons cumin
1/2 cup masa harina, or cornmeal
Pinto Beans, as needed

Smoke the Pork Shoulder, tear apart by hand

Heat a pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sweat the onions & garlic then add the Anaheim chilies, cook until soft. 

Add the juice from San Marzano tomatoes into pot, then hand squeeze tomatoes. Add salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and cumin. Simmer for 2 hours. 

Make a slurry with a masa harina and 1 cup cold chicken stock. Stir the slurry into the chili. Continue to cook until broth thickens. Add pork shoulder, cooked pinto beans. 

Thin with additional chicken stock if needed. Serve, enjoy. 

Spicy Pork Chili

It was a lot of fun and it was almost gone by the time the night was over. Now for the next chili: this will have ground beef and italian sausage.

Happy Eating