The Best Beef Cuts for Chili

Julie's Texas-Style Chili with Beer © Tina Rupp
By Kristin Donnelly Posted December 27, 2015

Save the steak for the grill (or your cast-iron skillet). For chili, use less expensive cuts of beef that are best cooked through.

Save the steak for the grill (or your cast-iron skillet). For chili, use less expensive cuts of beef that are best cooked through.

1. Ground beef
This is the quickest and least expensive type of beef to use for chili. Yes, the dish still simmers for a while, but you don’t have to worry about tenderizing the meat.

2. Beef chuck
Diced beef chuck, which comes from the shoulder, is tough, but it becomes nicely tender when stewed for at least 90 minutes. It also has a beefier flavor than the ground stuff.

3. Brisket
This huge cut is usually barbecued or braised, but if you cut it into pieces, it works well in chili. After stewing for at least two hours, the chunks will pull into delicious shreds that can be piled onto tacos.

4. Short ribs
Short ribs are usually served whole, but they don’t have to be. Pull the meat off the bones and dice it up for a more luxe and luscious take on chili.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Delicious Chili Recipes
Hearty Stews
Beef Stew


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