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Over The Top Chili

5 from 6 votes

Not only is this a tasty smoked chili recipe, but Over The Top Chili is also crazy fun to make! Instead of browning the beef and simmering it in the chili, this crazy good recipe is made by smoking the beef and the chili separately! The results are outstandingly delicious, and this is easily my favorite Traeger chili recipe. Hungry? Read on and I’ll tell you all you need to know to make this amazing chili recipe!

over the top chili in a black serving dish

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This flavor-packed chili is everything chili should be: it’s meaty, thick, robust, and loaded with tender chunks of beef and beans. But the best part is the smoke flavor that makes it so much more flavorful! You might also see it called OTT Chili, but however you call it, it’s delish!

What You Need to Make Over The Top Chili

I make this Traeger chili recipe on my pellet grill/smoker, but you can do it on any smoker. I dare you to say it’s not one of the best chili recipes out there!

How to Make Over The Top Chili Recipe

Not quite a set it and forget it smoker recipe, this beefy chili does take a bit of prep work but the cooking is all done low and slow making this a perfect recipe for outdoor cooking. The hardest part of this smoker chili recipe is waiting for it to be finished!

  1. Mix the beef with the Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
  2. Form the meat mixture into a giant meatball, then flatten it down a wee bit but leave it quite thick.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet or enameled Dutch oven, sautee the onions, garlic, and bell pepper in the oil for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the spices to the sauteed veg and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, diced chilis, drained canned beans, tomato paste, and beef broth to the veggies. Bring this up to a simmer. Season with the salt.

Now comes the fun part:

  1. Fire up your Traeger or pellet smoker to 225-F.
  2. Put the chili on the bottom rack of your smoker, and position the giant beef flattened meatball on the rack above the chili, placing it directly ABOVE the chili pot so that all the beef drippings go into the chili.
  3. Cook it at 225-F for about an hour, then turn the heat up to 325-F and cook for an additional 40-60 minutes or until the beef comes to an internal temperature of 165-F. Use your probe or digital meat thermometer to assist.
  4. Stir the chili every 30-40 minutes, and if it starts to get too thick, add up to 1 cup of beef broth. Heat the broth first so you don’t drop the temperature of the chili.
position the meat over the pot of chili
Position the meat over the pot of chili.

To Assemble Over The Top Chili

Time to put it all together!

  1. Set the giant beef patty to the side to cook for 10 minutes or until you can easily handle it.
  2. Using your hands or meat shredders, chop up the ground beef and add it to the the pot of chili.
  3. Mix it all together, adjust the seasoning, and dig in!

How To Garnish Your Chili

This amazing chili recipe is perfect on its own, but the following are some of my favorite toppings. Set it up as a make-your-own chili bar, or just add what you like before digging in!

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Pepperjack cheese
  • Fresh or pickled jalapenos
  • Sour cream
  • Crushed tortilla chips or corn chips
  • Chipotle powder for extra kick

What Beans Should I Use?

Everybody has their favorite beans in chili. Many chilis are made with red kidney beans, but the following are all good options:

  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini (Northern beans)

But my personal favorite is a can of mixed beans. It comes with chickpeas, pinto and kidney beans, and even some Cannellini beans. I love the diversity of beans. Whatever you use, just be sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding them

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • Don’t overcook the beef! If it stalls and you’re worried about it drying out, you can pull it off around 140-F and crumble it into the chili then bring the chili back to a simmer to fully cook the beef.
  • Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the pot
  • I use a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven for this recipe. It can take a beating on the smoker and holds the heat forever.
  • No second shelf in your smoker? Position a rack over the chili pot – it’ll do the same thing!
  • Like it spicy? Add a full teaspoon of chipotle powder or jazz it up with some hot chili pepper flakes. Or, swap out the green chilis for jalapeno peppers or cayenne pepper.
Over the top chili in black cast iron pans

What To Serve With Over The Top Chili

This amazing chili is just fine all on it’s own – grab a spoon and a big bowlful and dig in! But it also pairs perfectly with a crisp salad, or a green veg like Smoked Asparagus. Make a feast of your meal and use the extra room on the smoker for Smoked Queso!

Can I Freeze Smoked Chili?

This chili recipe makes a fairy big batch – enough for 8-10 hearty appetites. But yes, it does freeze amazingly well, and like most chilis, it benefits from being tastier the second time around!

My favorite way to freeze soups and stews is using Souper Cubes! These amazing freezer-safe cubes are perfect for freezing portions of all my favorite soups, stews, and other saucy meals. I freeze them then pop them out and put the rectangular frozen blocks into a zipper-top freezer bag. It makes storing them SOOOO much easier!

Where can you find these Soup Cubes? You can order them from Souper Cubes – how cool is this?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this Over The Top Chili recipe on a Big Green Egg or other smoker?

Yes! If you can control the temperature then set it for 225-F for one hour, then 325-F until the beef is cooked through. If controlling the temperature isn’t so easy, just cook it low and slow until the beef hits 165-F, then proceed with the recipe.

Can I make Over The Top Chili with no beans?

Yes! This chili is plenty chunky and if you don’t like the beans, just skip them!

What is the secret ingredient in this chili?

Chipotle powder! Not only has it got a nice level of spice to it, but it is smoky so it really adds a nice level of smoky heat to this recipe. And, you can even add more at the table if you like it spicier than your guests.

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Step By Step Process

Over the top chili in black cast iron pans
Print Pin
5 from 6 votes

Over The Top Chili

Kissed by smoke and loaded with big, beefy goodness, Over The Top Chili is a must-try for smokers and chili lovers!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef recipes, chili, chilli, over the top chili, smoker
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 383kcal

Ingredients

For the chili

  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 14.5 ounce canned beans drained and rinsed
  • 4.5 ounce canned diced chilis
  • 2 tablepsoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the ground beef with the Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
  • Form the meat mixture into a giant meatball, then flatten it down a wee bit but leave it quite thick.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sautee the onions, garlic, and bell pepper for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the spices to the sauteed veg and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, diced chilis, drained and rinsed canned beans, tomato paste, and beef broth to the veggies. Bring this up to a simmer.
  • Fire up your Traeger or pellet smoker to 225-F.
  • Put the chili on the bottom rack of your smoker, and position the giant beef flattened meatball on the rack above the chili, placing it directly ABOVE the chili pot so that all the beef drippings go into the chili.
  • Cook it at 225-F for about an hour, then turn the heat up to 325-F and cook for an additional 40-60 minutes or until the beef comes to an internal temperature of 165-F. Use your probe or digital meat thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Stir the chili every 30-40 minutes, and if it starts to get too thick, add up to 1 cup of beef broth a bit at a time so it doesn't get too runny. Heat the broth first so you don't drop the temperature of the chili.

To assemble the chili:

  • Set the giant beef patty to the side to cook for 10 minutes or until you can easily handle it.
  • Using your hands or meat shredders, chop up the ground beef and add it to the the pot of chili.
  • Mix it all together, adjust the seasoning, and dig in!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1165mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 6mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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By Chef Jenn