El Norte Diablo Chili Recipe

chili chef
Awarded to me from Ottawa Crown Plaza Hotel for my famous El Norte Diablo Chili!

While conducting a leadership development workshop for hoteliers and chefs in Ottawa, I made a few subtle references to my famous El Norte Diablo Chili throughout the workshop. The chefs in the room challenged me to prepare the dish in the hotel kitchen and serve it the following day for our workshop lunch.  You could have licked the pot clean after lunch and I was amazed at how the learning accelerated in the afternoon.  The participants were so impressed that they gave me the honorary title of “Chili Chef” and awarded me with the coveted Crown Plaza Chef bear.  El Norte Diablo Chili  has been sampled by participants in workshops I have delivered throughout Canada.  It has  warmed and inspired many a learner.  This secret recipe has been in my family for many years. Many have tried to bribe me, imbibe me and otherwise try and convince me to share it. And finally I am relenting… enjoy!

Let me know how you liked it or call if you have questions.

The Infamous El Norte Diablo Chili Recipe



Marinating Sauce

  • 12 oz bottle of stout beer
  • juice of 1 lime
  • splash of Lea Perrin’s sauce
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed ground
  • 2 garlic cloves



  • 4 lbs  beef roast or steak
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 jalapeno peppers fresh
  • 1 or 2 dried chipotle peppers
  • 8 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 4 slices bacon chopped fine
  • 1 bratwurst chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1tbs cumin ground
  • 3 tbs ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup water





  • Put on a selection of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys music.
  • Have two cold beer ready for companionship
  • Put on your Guinness or other apron

Get To Work:

  1. Mix up the marinating sauce and set aside.
  2. Cut the beef into 1 inch cubes
  3. Dump the beef into the marinate and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Overnight works great if you are a planner.
  4. Remove stems and seeds from jalapeno peppers and finely chop.
  5. Chop up the onions and mince the garlic cloves.
  6. Place the dried chipotle peppers on a  dry  hot flat cast iron surface (frying pan will do).  Set aside two cups of boiled water.  Heat the dried chipotle peppers until they start to darken and smoke.  Then place them into the hot water.  Let sit for 30 minutes then stem and seed them.  Finally tear or cut them into small bit size pieces.
  7. Heat the cooking oil in a large cast iron frying pan at medium-hot  heat.  Add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped  bacon and finely chopped bratwurst.
  9. Wait one minute and add the beef from the marinate.
  10. Braise the meat,  then lower the temperature to medium.
  11. Then add the jalapeno peppers, chipotle peppers, garlic, cumin, ancho chile and oregano. Let cook for 20 minutes at reduced temperature.
  12. Stir it up and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  13. Add about 1/2 cup water
  14. Slowly add flour to create a nice thick gravy
  15. Turn down the heat to simmer for 4 to 6 hours.
  16. Stir occasionally and add water if sauce thickens too much.




  • Serve with a pitcher of cold beer or homemade sangria wine.
  • Provide a bowl of freshly sliced jalapeno peppers for those that like the added spice.
  • Provide a bowl of sour cream for those who prefer a gentler bowl.
  • Goes great with black or refried beans and rice on the side.

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