Recipe: Cast Iron Chili

Cast Iron Chili Recipe
Not my actual chili. I’m horrible about taking photos when my stomach is growling. (Image via (

It’s that time of year! Perfect crisp, cool weather for a warm bowl of chili. As a 20-something bachelor, I like recipes that are simple, can last for a few leftover meals, and require the minimal amount of dishes. Cast iron skillet meals are my favorite.

With that said, here a great recipe from my Trail Boss’ Cowboy Cookbook. This one is from the Butler Ranch in Aundale, Colorado. Here is the background according to the cookbook.

Pole Line is an old line camp on this historic ranch. Primitive as it is, we gather there with friends and family to cut our Christmas trees. It is a wonderful recipe that expands to 30 people. Children enjoy it and it cooks up well on a wood burning stove.

Pole Line Chili Recipe

  • 2 lbs. ranch beef (or used small cuts of thinly sliced steak)
  • 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 12-oz beer
  • ¼ cup red chili
  • 2 med cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • Scant ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¾ lb. cheese, grated
  • 1 can chili beans

Brown meat. Drain grease. Add tomato sauce, beer, ground chili, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, 1 tsp. cumin and salt. Stir to blend. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Taste (best part of any cooking duties!) – adjust seasonings and add cayenne and beans, simmer, uncovered for another hour. Stir in cheese, remaining cumin. Simmer ½ hour, watching that cheese does not stick.

I love peppers and a little heat in my chili, so I’d suggest adding some Serrano or Poblano peppers. Be sure to watch that cheese does not stick. Makes a perfect, easy one-skillet chili dish for a few friends, and would make a great treat for a crowd. Serve with warm cornbread. Enjoy!

Ryan Goodman lives in Colorado, is an avid trail and ultrarunner, and works with farmers and ranchers to help them share their stories of agriculture and how food is raised. Connect with Ryan online as @BeefRunner. #TeamBeef.
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