Easy Hoppin Hot Sauce Chili Recipe


john hoppin head

We make this chili for family dinner pretty much every week, and it’s a cool scene. The kids get in line to fix their own bowls. Use a big bowl, because the chili takes up only half of it— the garnishes take the rest. We use the same bowls that we serve udon in, which are the biggest that we’ve got. Have fun with it!

Stay cool,

Hoppin Hot Sauce Chili on the stove

Hoppin Hot Sauce Chili

Five weeknights every week, relentless. Mouths to feed. Try this easy Hoppin Hot Sauce Chili which has lots of garnishes so everybody can make it just how they like, with an optional wee bit of whiskey added at the end to stimulate good humors and get you ready for eating. This here chili’s an easy and quick chili that makes you feel like a real champ.

Note: Garnish with grated cheese, cabbage, cilantro leaves, lime quarters, corn tortilla chips, sour cream and dense lusty pours of Hoppin Hot Sauce.

Serving Size:
Serves 4 to 6
45 minutes
Easy, weeknight


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • One 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained
  • One 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cornmeal or ground polenta
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey (optional)
  • Garnishes (see note)


  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy pan until it foams and the bubbles start popping.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high, throw in the onions, garlic, oregano and a goodly pinch of salt. Stir, 5 minutes
  3. Stirring constantly, add chili powder, cumin, and tomato paste.
  4. When thoroughly mixed, add the ground beef. Using your wooden spoon, break up the beef and stir thoroughly until there are no more pink “raw”-looking bits, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, beans, stock and cornmeal and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally until chili is thick. This is a great time to put together the garnishes.
  6. Stir in whiskey, if using.
  7. Garnish (see Note). Top with crushed corn tortilla chips. I like to make a big show of it, with little bits of chips flying everywhere, the kids laughing hysterically and my wife bemused (hopefully). Add Hoppin Hot Sauce to taste, maybe a little more even.

Chow time!

Back at camp, Cooky made you somethin’ special.

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