Brisket & Sweet Potato Chili

Ahh the sweet signs of fall. Pumpkin lattes, football, cinnamon broomsticks, and of course…CHILI. I was inspired to make this chili by a bar in my former stomping grounds of Chicago by the name of Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. And, oh my, am I glad I took this adventure. This is the chili to top all chilis. It boasts brisket, sweet potatoes, cilantro, and brown. sugar. bacon. among the other star ingredients.

Brisket and Sweet Potato Chili sans toppings.

My husband likes to consistently remind me that chili is not a soup. The debate will continue til’ death do us part, I am sure, however I think he wins when it comes to this one. This chili sits more like a stew – no soupy chili for this recipe. Traditional chili beans are replaced by sweet potatoes and instead of ground beef, you experience a flat cut brisket that slowly cooks and tenderizes for hours. This chili is hearty and flavorful and will be sure to be a show-stopper for your family and friends. Once you make this up, it stays absolutely delicious for days (and I ALWAYS think it tastes even better the next day). And don’t let the prep time scare you, there are some make-ahead secrets and most of the cook and prep time is a waiting game.

Brisket & Sweet Potato Chili

Recipe by The Work From Home ChefDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time






  • Chili Base
  • 8 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon BBQ spice

  • hot sauce to taste

  • Remaining Chili Ingredients
  • 8 ounces thick-cut brown sugar bacon, diced

  • 4 cups chopped sweet onions

  • 1 3-4 pound flat-cut beef brisket, fat trimmed, cut into 2 to 3 inch cubes

  • 1 28-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar BBQ sauce

  • 1 12-ounce bottle Modela Negra (or your favorite Mexican beer)

  • 1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chiles

  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

  • 4 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut in 2 inch cubes


  • Chili Base
  • Boil 12 cups of water. Meanwhile, place dried ancho chiles in a medium size bowl. Once water is boiling, pour over the chiles. Be sure the chiles are covered completely with water. Let soak for 1 hour.
  • Drain chiles and reserve the liquid. Place chiles in a blender with 1 cup reserved soaking liquid.
  • Add garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano, coriander, and BBQ spice. Blend to puree, using reserved liquid if mixture is too thick to puree.
  • Set aside. Chili base can be made ahead up to 3 days in advance.
  • Chili Cooking Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Sauté bacon in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • When the bacon has lightly browned, add the onions. Stir to coat.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Add to dutch oven and stir to coat.
  • Add the chili base, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, beer, green chiles, and cilantro to the pot and stir thoroughly.
  • Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven and cook for 2 hours.
  • Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour.
  • Add sweet potatoes, stir to coat. Roast uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Add reserved liquid as necessary to ensure the brisket is always covered.
  • Season to taste and spoon off any fat from surface.
  • Serve over cornbread and garnish with your favorite chili garnishes.


  • Potatoes can be peeled and cubed a day or two ahead, just store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • You can use a beer other than Modela Negra, but after several tests, this is hands down the best Mexican beer to use in my opinion. It really enhances the brisket flavor.
  • Brisket & Sweet Potato Chili stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and is also freezer-friendly.


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