Here in the South, everybody knows chili recipes are a dime a dozen, but ours stands out from the crowd! The first bite of Cheerwine Chili and you’ll see. You may even be compelled right then and there to enter it into your local chili contest, and we say, “Go for it!” It’s supper time with the family tonight!


  • 4 strips thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound lean ground chuck (80/20)
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12-oz bottle or can of Cheerwine
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15-oz can black beans
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (for serving)
  • Sour cream (for serving)
  • 1 bunch chives (or green onion), finely chopped (for serving)
  • Corn chips (for serving)


Place bacon in large Dutch oven and set to medium-low heat. Let bacon cook slowly until crispy and most of the fat has been rendered (approximately 5-10 minutes). Remove bacon, chop, and set aside.

Mix all seasonings and herbs together in a bowl.

Place ground meat in Dutch oven and sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over meat. Bring to medium-high heat and brown meat (approximately 5 minutes). Remove meat and set aside.

Add EVOO to Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Sauté onions until caramelized and translucent. Add garlic and continue to sauté until golden.

Add in tomato paste and stir until paste begins to caramelize. Return ground meat and bacon to pot and bring to high heat.

Add remaining seasoning mixture and stir everything together, allowing to sit for about 30 seconds, just until it begins to crisp at the bottom. Pour in Cheerwine and deglaze using a wooden spoon to scrape all of the browned bits from the sides and bottom of pot.

Allow to cook, reducing Cheerwine by about half (approximately 2-3 minutes).

Add crushed tomatoes, kidney and black beans, and stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Set to low and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chives, as desired. Serve with corn chips.

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