Short Rib Chili

Fall apart tender short rib, poblano peppers, pinto, and red beans, stewed in a rich chili tomato sauce.

It is finally starting to feel like fall here in Hawaii. There is a little chill in the air in the mornings and evenings. It’s still blazing hot in the middle of the day, but the temperature change always makes me nostalgic for autumn leaves and fireplaces. And big pots of chili that have been stewed to perfection.

I debated on whether to cook this chili on the stove or in a slow cooker. I eventually settled on the slow cooker. It’s just so much easier than being tied to the stove for hours. It does take a little longer. Add the use of dried beans, and this chili can take up to two days to make. If cooking on the stove is the better option for you, go for it. You may need to add more liquid during cooking.

Just because I used the slow cooker doesn’t mean I threw everything in, turned it on, and walked away. If only it were that easy! I browned the meat, spices, and tomato paste in a pan to build flavor. Browning the short rib caramelizes it’s exterior and creates a fond in the pan. Toasting spices helps to release their oils, resulting in a stronger flavor. Cooking and browning tomato paste concentrates it’s sugars and gets rid of the can taste. The addition of whiskey and water releases the fond and flavors from the pan to create a rich sauce base. Then, I threw everything in the slow cooker, turned it on, and walked away!

Short Rib Chili

Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Total Time 1 day 8 hours
Servings 3 quarts


  • 1 cup small red beans dry
  • 1 cup pinto beans dry
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 pounds short rib boneless trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion diced 2 cups
  • 1 poblano diced 1 cup
  • 1 red bell pepper diced 1 cup
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme dry
  • 1/2 tsp oregano dry
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 28 ounces tomatoes can diced
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 32 ounces water
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt to taste


  • Mix 2 quarts of water with 1 1/2 tbsp salt. Add the beans and soak overnight. Drain the beans and place in a slow cooker.
  • Trim any large pieces of fat from the short rib. cut into 1 inch cubes. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
  • Mix the dry herbs and spices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the short rib in 2 batches. Place the short rib in the slow cooker when browned.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, poblano, and bell pepper. Sauté until soft. Add the garlic and the spice mix. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the whiskey. Turn off the heat. Add the water and combine. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the bay leaf, Worcestershire, and diced tomato. Mix until combined. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 8 hours or until the meat and beans are tender. Season with salt and lime juice. Serve with your favorite garnishes.

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