Over The Top Smoked Chili

Every once in a while, an inspirational idea comes along that both simple and ingenious. Thus was the case with Over the Top Smoked Chili, conceived by Dawn and Johnny Barnes back in 2016. Once tasted, you’ll probably never go back to normal chili again. We haven’t.

Find out how to make a truly game changing dish with this simple technique.

Over The Top Smoked Chili

20 mins prep
4-5 hours cook (mostly unattended)
6-10 servings
Serve with
Tortilla chips
Grated smoked cheese
Wine match
Cahors or Gigondas

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by! Down below you’ll find out how to make some tasty over the top chili. There’s plenty more great info in the blog, feel free to browse around whilst you’re here. The most popular technique and recipe posts are:

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Recipe or Technique?

This is a technique, and a simple one.  Smoke the meat over the chili sauce, then break up the ball of cooked mince, add it to the chili and continue to cook at a low temperature. The result is wonderfully smoked, very tasty chili.

In the description below, I list the ingredients we normally use to make chili and combine this with the Over the Top technique. I must stress that this is our recipe, not an official “Over The Top Chili” recipe. When doing this yourself, simply use your normal chili ingredients and this approach. It relies on using a Big Green Egg or similar.


  • Sharp knives
  • Chopping board
  • Spatula
  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Dutch oven or casserole dish that can be used in a Big Green Egg
  • Cooking grate that sits on the Dutch Oven
  • Kitchen Thermometer or similar temperature device

I used an 8 litre Le Crueset casserole dish.

Peppers and beans ready to be cooked


  • 2 lb beef mince (80/20)
  • 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can red kidney beans
  • 1 x 400g can pinto beans
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 150ml red wine
  • 3 cloves smoked garlic
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 4 tbsp Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express
  • 1-2 hickory smoking chunks

I like the strong aroma from hickory in chili. If this isn’t to your liking, cherry or apple wood chunks can be used. If you don’t have Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express you can make a rub using a mixture of chili, cumin, garlic and onion powders.

Chili ready to have ball of meat placed on top and cooked

Thin plumes of hickory smoke coming from the daisy wheel

Cooked ball of meat suspended over the chili

Adding chopped meat chunks into the chili to simmer some more


  1. Pre-heat the Egg to 135°C/275°F, indirect cooking setup. Get it stable at this maximum temperature before continuing.
  2. In a bowl, mix the Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express rub into the beef mince until it is fully combined. Squeeze the mince tightly into a ball shape.
  3. Slice the onion and red and green peppers into bite sized chunks. Finely slice the chilis and crush the garlic cloves. Drain the kidney and pinto beans.
  4. Heat up the rapeseed oil in the Dutch oven over a low heat. Saute the onions until soft, then add the pepper chunks. Saute for another minute. Add in the drained kidney and pinto beans, red chili slices, 3 tins of chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a simmer, add the red wine.
  5. Using heat-resistant gloves, remove the platesetter from the Egg. Toss the smoking chunks onto the glowing coals, replace the platesetter, add the stainless steel grid.
  6. Place the Dutch oven on the stainless steel grid, and the cooking grate on top of the oven. Put the ball of mince on the grate. Close the Egg’s lid and cook until the internal temperature of the meat is at 60°C/140°F. This takes around 3 hours.
  7. Burp and open the Egg. Remove the grate and ball of mince. On a clean chopping board, break the ball into small chunks. Add the meat chunks into the chili, stirring with a clean spatula. At this stage the chili may have dried a little, if it has add the fourth tin of tomatoes. I normally need to do this (see hints and tips section below).
  8. Cook for another 1-2 hours at 135°C/275°F, stirring occasionally. At the end, skim off any fat that has accumulated on the surface of the chili.
  9. Serve with any of rice, sour cream, tortilla chips, coriander and grated smoked cheddar cheese. Or for an more intense flavour experience …
  10. This tastes even better after a day or two resting. Put a lid on the Dutch oven, let it cool down, wrap it in kitchen foil and store it in the fridge. The smokey aromas from the cooking vessel infuse into the chili even more over the next couple of days.

Over the top smoked chili with sour cream, cheese, coriander and tortilla chips

Hints, Tips and Pictures

  1. If the chili looks dried up when the meat is added it needs that fourth tin of tomatoes.
    Chili in need of some more liquid refreshment
  2. I cooked this in our Large Big Green Egg. It wouldn’t fit in the Minimax. I could probably halve the ingredients and use a smaller casserole dish to get it to fit.
  3. Always use heat-resistant gloves when manipulating hot items in a Big Green Egg.
  4. I used a raised grid to have the ball of meat higher in the dome. This accentuates the smoke flavour imparted into the meat.
    Meat raised up into the dome suspended over the chili
  5. You can add extra smoking chunks partway through, simply remove the Dutch oven, grid and platesetter. Be sure to wear heat-resistant gloves when doing this. Depends on how smokey you like your chili.
  6. The outside of the Dutch oven can be coated with silver foil to protect it from smoke damage. For a “proper” cast iron Dutch oven this isn’t necessary, however for enameled products this is a good thing to do.

6 thoughts on “Over The Top Smoked Chili

  1. Hi Adam – I tried your OTT Chili at the weekend – and though I backed off the ‘rub’ because of my own Chili sensitivity – have to say the overall effect was Fab! I did like the more substantial meat pieces I got doing it this way and I think the opportunity for the meat and the rest of the meal in the Dutch oven to take on the smoke – initially separately and then together gave a real layering to the smoked flavour. I used cherry instead of hickory as I had it to hand – and we enjoyed it so much it is on the menu for this weekend too!


    Liked by 1 person

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