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Lil J's Grilled Chicago Chili

Prep Time: 25 Min | Cook Time: 2.5 Hrs


  • 1
    2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 2
    1 Pound Italian Sausage
  • 3
    4-6 Garlic Cloves
  • 4
    1 Green Pepper
  • 5
    1 Red Pepper
  • 6
    2 Large Onions
  • 7
    2 Anaheim Peppers
  • 8
    15 to 20 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 9
    3-4 Bay Leaves
  • 10
    Cayenne Pepper to Taste
  • 11
    3 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 12
    32 oz Beef Stock
  • 13
    1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 14
    3-4 Teaspoons of Paprika
  • 15
    3-4 Teaspoons of Chili Powder
  • 16
    3-4 Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • 17
    1 Teaspoon Beef Bouillon Flavor
  • 18
    3-4 Tablespoons of Sazon
  • 19
    2 Teaspoons of Cajun/Creole Seasoning
  • 20
    1 Can Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed

Char-Griller Ambassador James Llorens took his tried and true chili recipe to the grill for a new twist on a classic.

From James: "My chili recipe is one of my favorites. I’ve been making chili for quite some time now but have always made on the stove in my kitchen. I started making Chili and invented my own recipe while living in Chicago so we could have it for football game days.

It’s great for large gatherings and always hits the spot. Chili goes a long way in my house for various meals or if I make it for large gathering it goes and fills up everyone quickly. This time I decided to take my chili recipe to the grill. Taking it to the grill was fun and it  brought amazing bbq flavor to it. The charred veggies and smoked meat was absolutely delicious and definitely worth a try.

All the flavors came together nicely and this chili warmed and filled me up. I’ll be making this on the grill for years to come."


1. Season the ground beef with a small portion of sazon, Cajun/creole & Italian seasonings.
2. Shape one pound of the meat into a large ball for easy smoking and then set in fridge while the grill is warming and veggies are roasting.
3. Season Italian sausage with small a portion of sazon, Cajun/creole & Italian seasonings.
4. Shape meat into a large ball for easy smoking. Then set in fridge while the grill is warming and veggies are roasting.
*Tip: place large meatballs on a baking rack and use the rack while they smoke. This allows for easy handling and no touching the food.
5. Heat up your Char-Griller Hybrid to 350 degrees. 
6. Add all peppers, tomatoes and onions and grill for 10-15 minutes or until charred.
7. Using a large pot on the Char-Griller Hybrid gas burner, heat olive oil over medium heat. Then remove tomatoes from the grill and place in the pot, mash and break down the tomatoes in the pot. Add the Sazon, Italian, chili powder, beef flavor, paprika, cayenne pepper seasonings and bay leaves. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Add the beef stock. Stir and mix well. Bring heat to low and allow to simmer while the meatballs smoke.
9. Remove peppers and onions from the grill: chop and set aside. They will be used again in a bit.
10. Add large meatballs to the Char-Griller Hybrid Charcoal side of the grill. Offset the meat opposite side of the fire to smoke them. Smoke at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 
11. Heat up the Char-Griller gas side to high heat and warm a large cast iron skillet. Add olive oil, grilled chopped onions, grilled chopped peeper, fresh chopped garlic and flour. Stir and mix for 8-10 minutes then add it to the pot of chili. Also add the grilled whole Anaheim peppers to the chili.
12. Remove meatballs and place directly in the chili. Mash and breakdown the meatballs in the chili into desired sized pieces.
13. Add Kidney and Pinto beans to the Chili, stir and mix.
14 . Then allow the chili to simmer on low heat with all the ingredients for one hour.
15. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, fresh chopped green onions and oyster crackers. 

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