A new twist on chili: A savory, smoky, meaty chili that will make you do a double-take and go back for seconds.

Smoky whiskey chili: This chili has it all - smokiness, spice, sweetness, and that whiskey undertone. Click through for recipe!

The best restaurant I never ate at was Dux & Co., in Dublin, Ireland.

I went to Dublin in 2014 with two friends. One of the highlights of the day was choosing a restaurant for dinner, where we would spend two or more hours rehashing the day discussing plans for the next.

We walked past one restaurant a number of times, but each time it was closed. It looked like the coziest little restaurant, with dim lighting, vintage wallpaper, and a unique menu.

But it was never open.

Dux Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. The best restaurant I never ate at.

 One item on their menu stood out to me: Smoky whiskey chili.

While I never got to try it (the restaurant or the chili), the idea of smoky whiskey chili has stuck with me. 

Update: I had this romantic plan of winning the lottery and going back to Dublin to eat at Dux & Co., but the restaurant has since closed. SAD!

About The Recipe

This chili has it all — Spiciness, smokiness, subtle sweetness, and heartiness — which is why this is becoming my new go-to chili recipe.

Here’s how much I love this chili: It’s unique enough – and tasty enough – to be entered into a chili cook-off. If you use this recipe and win one, please let me know and tag #CheapRecipeBlog!

Here’s what makes it so good:

  • The smoked paprika adds great flavor and smokiness.
  • The whiskey adds depth and unique flavor to this chili. For authenticity, use an Irish whiskey like Jameson.

Smoky whiskey chili: This chili has MAJOR flavor and depth. Click through for recipe!

How To Make The Best Possible Version Of This Recipe

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Roasted garlic: I picked up a container of roasted garlic from the grocery store and used it in this chili. If you don’t have roasted garlic (or don’t want to make your own), feel free to use fresh garlic. 

Steak: The key to making the steak tender is to cook it long enough. If you don’t, the meat will be tough and chewy. Simmer the chili for at least an hour, if time allows. 

Bourbon vs. whiskey: You can use either bourbon or whiskey for this recipe. I used Trader Joe’s Kentucky Bourbon with excellent results. (For dessert, check out these whiskey brownies with chocolate whiskey ganache!)

Toppings: You can never have enough chili toppings! Try topping your bowl with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips or another creative soup topping.

More Chili Recipes

Smoky, boozy chili not your thing? I’ve got you covered. Check out:

Smoky whiskey chili: This chili has it all - smokiness, spice, sweetness, and that whiskey undertone. Click through for recipe!

Smoky Whiskey Chili

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Simmer this soup for at least an hour, to allow meat to tenderize and flavors to blend.


  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3/4 pound bottom round beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup whiskey or bourbon
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 anaheim pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves (or 4 fresh garlic cloves, minced)
  • 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 15.5 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or equivalent water + chicken bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Hot sauce, optional


  1. Cut steak into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Fry the steak in two separate batches: Use 1 tablespoon of oil per batch. After steak is browned, pour steak and oil into a paper towel-lined bowl. Repeat with second batch of steak and pour into bowl. Pour whiskey into the empty pot and add the beef. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the whiskey reduces. Pour whiskey and steak into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add remaining cooking oil to pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until they soften. Add hot peppers and cook for two minutes. Add red bell pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth. Add in spices, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and hot sauce, adding more of any if desired.
  5. Add steak in whiskey. Cook on low for up to an hour, allowing steak to tenderize. Add more water during cooking, if chili gets dry or too thick.
  6. Serve with plenty of delicious chili toppings.

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