The Fast Horse Chili Cook-off Recipe Roundup

March 17, 2017

To celebrate the first day of March Madness, share our collective love of warm, spicy, meaty, beany meals, and encourage a little (mostly) friendly competition, we held the first-ever Fast Horse Chili Cook-off yesterday. We had six competitors, one crock pot full of hot dogs and accompaniments galore. Here’s a quick roundup of the six recipes our competitors made:

Adam’s FIRST PLACE Chorizo and Sweet Potato Chili

Adam was the big winner in yesterday’s cook-off with this surprising sweet potato chili recipe. Deep flavors, a hint of cinnamon and an avocado crema to top it off put this recipe over the edge.

Key Ingredients: chorizo, sweet potato, hominy, poblano pepper, avocado

Maggie’s Best Ever Chili

A slight variation on this recipe from Serious Eats with deep, unexpected flavors.

Key Ingredients: fish sauce, three varieties of chilies, coffee grounds, chocolate

Jen’s White Chicken Chili

While there was some controversy around whether or not white chicken chili is actually chili, Jen’s recipe from food blogger Avery Cooks was slightly spicy with a hit of citrus.

Key Ingredients: garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cannellini beans

Talia’s Chorizo, Chuck and Chocolate Stout Chili

An adaptation from this Epicurious recipe, I used a half ground chorizo, half ground chuck recipe, and finished with a bottle of Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate Stout.

Key Ingredients: bell peppers, chorizo, beer, chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

John’s Crock Pot Chili

A classic chili recipe using kidney beans and ground beef, this recipe from was the best for making chili dogs.

Key Ingredients: ground beef, cayenne, diced tomatoes

Daniella’s Elbow Macaroni Chili

Daniella was the only participant to use a non-internet recipe for her chili, and the only participant who had never eaten or made chili in the past. [Ed.: What?] Color us impressed and surprised by the incorporation of pasta in the recipe.

Key Ingredients: elbow macaroni, barbecue sauce, fire roasted tomatoes


1 lb. ground beef

1 bag kidney beans

1 jar barbecue sauce

1 pack of bacon

12 oz. elbow macaroni

1 Tbsp. Cayenne pepper

3 or 4 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. corriander

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 big can of fire-roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/3 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. lizano sauce

1 chopped onion

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1 chopped red bell pepper


Rinse and throw the beans in the crock pot along with half of the chopped onion, half of the chopped pepper, 2 cups of water, half of the roasted tomato can, half of the bbq sauce, salt and pepper. Cook on high for two hours.

In a separate pan, cook the bacon until you’ve rendered the fat, add the chopped garlic, the rest of the onion and pepper, along with the hamburger meat. Add salt and pepper, stir until cooked.

After two hours, add your meat to the crock pot along with everything else (pasta, seasonings, rest of the tomato sauce) and stir. Leave on high for 4 more hours until the beans are fully cooked.