Over The Top Smoked Chili

There are as many variations of Over The Top smoked chili as there are variations of ‘regular’ chili. Often referred to as OTT chili, the basic idea is that you smoke a ground beef mixture over a pot of chili mixings, such as tomatoes, beans (oh no! I used beans!), etc. As the beef cooks some of the fat drips into the chili pot, adding flavor. And of course the smoked beef picks up on some smoke flavor, too.

This is how I make it. I won’t ever make it any other way. I don’t need to. This is amazingly good chili.

Over The Top Smoked Chili

One of my biggest concerns with the idea of Over the Top smoked chili was that the beef drips into the chili as it smokes. I knew I wanted some of that fat (fat is flavor!) in the chili but I didn’t want a lot of it floating on top of my chili. Some recipes call for using low-fat (90/10 or even 95/5) beef. Well, that’s expensive. So my solution? Use cheaper ground beef and par-smoke it first. Let much of the fat drip down into a pan, not into the chili. Then add the chili and let the remaining fat drip into it. Problem solved.

Over The Top Smoked Chili Cooking

I went very light on the smoke when I made this. I used just a small chunk or two of fruit wood. Ground beef loves to soak up smoke and I didn’t want that flavor to bury the taste of what is a fantastic chili base.

I used my 5-quart camp Dutch oven, but any other Dutch oven or large pot will do.

Also try my prime rib chili.

Over The Top Smoked Chili
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5 from 1 vote

Over The Top Smoked Chili

This is amazingly good chili.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, smoked
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 381kcal



For the beef mixture (The Top)

For the tomato mixture (The Bottom)


For the beef mixture (The Top)

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking 250-300 F. Use a lighter wood such as fruit wood for smoke.
  • Note: You can get the beef mixture prepared and onto the smoker while preparing the tomato mixture. Since the beef smokes a bit first, you don't have to have the tomato base ready at the beginning.
  • Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Using your hands, combine the ingredients and form into a loaf.
  • Transfer the loaf to the top rack of your smoker.
  • Optional: Place a disposable pan underneath to catch any drippings. I do this only to make cleanup easier. If the drippings will directly onto hot coals or a hot surface, you may want to catch them in a pan so they don't burn.
  • Smoke the loaf for 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours to cook out some of the fat. It's up to you how much fat you want to remove, just remember that you want some of that fatty flavor in the final chili so don't completely cook the loaf.
  • Remove the disposable pan (if using) and replace it with the pot of the tomato mixture.
  • Continue smoking another 3 minutes – 1 hour or until the beef loaf has reached 155 F.
  • Remove the loaf and chop into small bite-sized crumbles. Transfer to the tomato mixture and stir.
  • Smoke another 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the chili is your desired consistency.
  • Serve!

For the tomato mixture (The Bottom)

  • Heat the oiil in a large (6-quart) Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper and saute 5 minutes or until the onion is just starting to soften.
  • Add the garlic, stir and saute another 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredient. Set aside until ready to transfer to the smoker.


Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 657mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional values are approximate.