In 2016, led by chef Scott McGehee, Heights Taco & Tamale Co. took top honors at Little Rock’s Chili Fights in the Heights, winning both the Best Overall and People’s Choice categories. It’s no surprise that chili is a popular staple at another of McGehee’s restaurants, Big Orange, which boasts the below recipe. Make a pot of this cool-weather favorite for an easy and filling dinner that can serve a crowd.
Simple & Delicious Arkansas Traditional Chili with Lost Forty Honey Bock Beer
5 pounds ground beef
5 tablespoons salt, divided
¼ cup oil
5 cups onions, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 (28-ounce) cans large, diced high quality tomatoes with juice*
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
5-6 green Anaheim-style chilies—roasted hot until brown, cooled, peeled, seeded, and chopped (may substitute two 7-ounce cans of diced green chilies)
½ cup dark chili powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (12-ounce) can Lost Forty Honey Bock Beer
¼ (7-ounce) can pureed chipotle peppers (optional)
scallions, finely chopped
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Louisiana hot sauce
*If you like extra tomatoes in your chili, add a fifth can.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the ground beef on a sheet tray and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of salt. Roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and pick apart into bite-sized chunks. In a large, thick-bottom pot, combine oil, onions, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Sauté until cooked. Add remaining ingredients (through chipotle peppers), and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Add beef and continue simmering for 30-45 minutes (more or less depending on your desired consistency). Turn off the heat and allow the chili to rest for 20 minutes before serving with chopped scallions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, saltine crackers, and hot sauce.