boilermaker tailgate chilli



It has a strange name but ignore that, this is an awesome chilli. I’m not claiming it’s the best chilli ever, just worth your time if you fancy chilli just a bit.

Thanks to the evil-licious show that is Man vs. Food (that show would make even a vegetarian hungry for chilli – my motivation for cooking this came after a Man vs. Food marathon…), I now know the real meaning behind tailgating. Besides being what that idiot driver behind you is doing – its original meaning is to cook at the back of a car.

More precisely, it’s hosting a cook out (at the rear of your car) at the stadium before the game. Only a mere 30% of tailgaters actually make it inside the stadium. The rest just cook and eat to show their devotion, which I find deliciously fascinating.

This chilli recipe comes from a Boilers’ fan. The Boilermakers’ rather strange team name comes from engineering studies at Purdue Uni, which involved a lot of time in the forge room, hence ‘boilermakers’.

This chilli is spicy – but the longer you cook it, the more it mellows. With an overnight rest, the spices, meat and capsicums mingle together to take it to another level. Be warned, with a short cooking time – it is deceptively spicy – after a few bites, I was sweating overtime. And after two big serves, I kind of lost my taste buds.

But it was totally worth it because it was so good even with numbed out taste buds.

– this chilli is fabulous with jalapeno cornbread, will post the recipe soon.



Boilermaker Tailgate Chilli
Loosely adapted from MightPurdue22’s recipe from All Recipes

This version has no beans, because apparently, real chilli has no beans (got that off Big Bang Theory, not to be trusted as fact). Please adjust the cayenne and chilli according to taste. If you prefer not to have half capsicums lurking in your freezer – make double and freeze the extras, you won’t regret it.

Serves 4

1 tbsp oil
500 gm mince beef
400 gm italian sausage
400 gm canned diced tomato
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 green capsicum, finely diced
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup beer (once we substituted with water with no difference in taste)
4 beef stock cubes
1 heaped tbsp chilli powder (adjust to taste!)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup water
salt, to taste (if adding beans, prepare to viciously salt)


Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep saucepan over medium heat. Squeeze the sausages out of their casings into the pan. Crumble the mince in and cook until evenly browned.

Pour in the diced tomato and tomato paste.

Add the onion, celery, green capsicum, red capsicum, green chilli, diced bacon and beer. Crumble in the stock cubes. Give it a good stir.

Add the chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot sauce, basil, pepper, cayenne, paprika and sugar. Combine well.

If you are adding beans, add them now.

Add the water and a couple big pinches of salt. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least two hours. Stir occasionally. You may need to add more water.

After two hours, taste and season with more salt, pepper or chilli powder. The longer the chilli cooks, the less hot it will be – the flavours will become more fragrant.

Serve immediately, or for a tasty development, refrigerate overnight and serve the next day.

It’s especially good served with coleslaw, pico de gallo, cornbread and grated cheddar cheese (to melt and ooze over).


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  1. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    I had a recent Man vs Food marathon too! He’s a machine. The whole tailgating phenomenon is quite spectacular.

    Excellent make-a-shitload-and-freeze-the-rest recipe!!

  2. mei

    Conor – Hey Conor! You know, I’ve always had this fantasy of doing that bounce-up-and-down move he does to make more room in his stomach lol. I wouldn’t do that with this chilli, it’s a bit bad ass. Unintended pun there, but it really does make your ass bad if you eat too much. Can’t wait for the next season of Man Vs Food!

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