Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

This chili is literally over the top! Not just in the cooking method on your smoker but also in a delicious smoky flavor. Hands down this will be the best smoked chili recipe you will ever make.

Everyone has their go-to chili recipe. This is now mine (and I hope it becomes yours).

Classic chili by itself is a hearty and heartwarming staple the second the temperatures drop.

If you love to grill and smoke foods on your Big Green Egg (or smoker of choice) then you probably already have a solid understanding of how much fun cooking in the cooler weather is as well.

These two things paired together are a match made in heaven (and it’s even better when paired with these homemade cornbread bowls for chili, or this recipe for cornbread casserole too).

Below we break down everything you need to know about integrating delicious smoke flavor into the perfect chili. Check out the detailed list of tools, ingredients, cooking instructions, and expert tips below. Want an easier version made in-house? Check out this recipe for an easier version for crockpot chili with cornbread on top too!

Making smoked chili on the big green egg

Why This Recipe Works:

Standard chili recipes can sometimes lack flavor when it’s first made; this is not the case when making over the top chili.

Simultaneously smoking the chili-seasoned ground beef over the chili base all at the same time in a dutch oven in the egg creates multiple levels of smoke flavor layered throughout the recipe.

Ultimately, ensuring every bite from start to finish is equally delicious. Slow smoking the meat also allows leaner ground beef to become a lot more tender and creates a great texture to this dish.

Supplies Needed:

  • Aluminum Foil Pan or Dutch Oven
  • Wire Rack
  • Large Bowl
  • Large Pot
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Meat Thermometer


The Chili Base

  • Ground Beef
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Jalapenos
  • Garlic
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Kidney Beans (optional)
Smoked chili recipe ingredients

Chili Seasoning

  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

How To Smoke Chili On The Big Green Egg:

This recipe works by getting the base prepped, partially cooked, and assembled on the stove then smoked on the grill (in this case my Big Green Egg but any smoker or pellet grill works here).

I prep this recipe in two parts but smoke them at the same time to bring it all together. Here is what you need to do:

Step 1: Preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F.

Step 2: Begin by making your own chili seasoning blend. Some of this blend will go into your chili base and some into the ground beef. In a bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper together.

Step 3:To make the chili base, place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove. Over medium heat, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Cook for about 5 minutes or so until tender and translucent. Then add in the garlic.

Step 4: Add the chili seasoning to the vegetables and cook it for about a minute or so to develop the flavors in the spices and allow them to awaken and become aromatic.

Cooked onions and peppers and chili seasoning in a dutch oven

Step 5: Finish off the chili base by adding in the canned diced tomatoes with green chiles and tomato sauce (unflavored, plain sauce is best here). No need to add stock or beef broth to this recipe (this will water it down and dilute the flavor). Once everything is combined you can add the beans as well if desired.

Step 6: In a separate mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and the remaining chili seasoning. Add in some Worcestershire sauce as well to create a more umami flavor. Gently mix everything into the meat (do not over mix, this will actually toughen the meat).

Seasoning the ground beef with chili seasoning

Step 7: Shape the meat into a loaf (similar to meatloaf). Place the meat onto a wire rack.

Shaping the ground beef for over the top chili into a meat loaf shape

Step 8: You can transfer the chili base into an aluminum pan or leave it in the dutch oven. Place the chili base into the center of the smoker over indirect heat and add the wire rack with the ground beef over the top of the chili.

Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

Step 9: Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature of the ground beef reaches 165 degrees F. Use a thermometer to accurately measure the internal temp. This takes about 2-2.5 hours or so.

Smoked chili on the big green egg smoker

Step 10: Once the ground beef is fully cooked, carefully remove the beef and the chili base from the smoker. Use a meat masher to break up the cooked and smoked ground beef into smaller pieces. Transfer the smoked meat to the smoked chili base and combine everything.

Broken up pieces of the smoke ground beef used in over the top chili

Step 11: The smoked chili can be served immediately. Serve with my smoked cornbread, in cornbread bowls, or with crackers and tortilla chips. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, and any other favorite toppings!

Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

Expert Tips:

  • Save time and use premixed chili seasoning packets if desired. I would use two packets for this recipe (one for the meat and one for the chili base).
  • Keep the meat as cold as possible before mixing and placing it on the wire rack. This allows it to sit better on the rack and allows for more smoke to be absorbed into the meat.
  • You can use leaner ground beef for this recipe if preferred. Having less saturated fat doesn’t affect the overall flavor and texture because you are cooking it so low and slow.
  • If you do not want the dutch oven to have smoke stains, use a disposable foil pan for smoking. Avoid cast iron when using tomato sauce as well.
  • Pair with Smoked Cornbread or Cornbread Bowls too.
Smoked chili in a cornbread bowl

Other Chili Recipes To Try:

White Chicken Chili

Chipotle Chili

Low Carb Beef Chili

Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

Over The Top Chili (Smoked Chili Recipe)

This chili is literally over the top! Not just in the cooking method on your smoker but also in a delicious smoky flavor. Hands down this will be the best smoked chili recipe you will ever make.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Grilling
Cuisine: BBQ
Keyword: over the top chili (smoked chili recipe), smoked chili on the big green egg
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 264kcal
Author: Bon Appeteach


  • 2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Chili Seasoning

  • 4 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Black Pepper

Chili Base

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion diced small
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper diced small
  • 1-2 Jalapenos seeds removed, diced small
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 15 oz. Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles canned
  • 1 17.6 oz Tomato Sauce canned
  • 2 15 oz. Dark Red Kidney Beans canned


  • Preheat the Big Green Egg (or any charcoal or pellet grill) to 250 F.
  • Start by combining the chili seasoning spices together in a bowl. This makes 12 tablespoons total. Divide in half (6 tbsp. for the beef and 6 tbsp. for the chili base). *If using seasoning packets, you will need 2 packets*

Chili Base Prep:

  • Place a dutch oven or large pot of medium heat on the stove. Add the olive oil and then the onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the fresh minced garlic and the 6 tbsp. of chili seasoning and cook and additional 1-2 minutes or until it smells fragrant.
  • Next, add in the 2 cans of tomatoes with green chiles, the tomato sauce, and the canned kidney beans (water included). Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
  • Optional- Move the contents of the chili base into an aluminum foil pan to place on the smoker or use the dutch oven (aluminum pan is easier for clean up and doesn't get smoke stains).

Ground Beef Prep:

  • In a bowl combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining 6 tbsp. of chili seasoning.
  • Mix together so everything is evenly distributed. Shape the ground beef into a loaf (like a meatloaf) and place onto a wire rack.

Smoking Instructions:

  • Place the meat/ wire rack over the top of the chili base. Move both the base and the ground meat out onto the smoker grill grates over indirect heat.
  • Promptly close the lid and smoke until the ground beef reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the ground beef for an accurate reading. This takes about 2-2.5 hours.
  • Once the meat is fully cooked, carefully remove the over the top chili from the smoker and place it onto a foil sheet pan. This makes it easy to transfer on and off the grill safely.
  • Remove the ground beef from the wire rack and place it in a shallow bowl or onto a pan. Use a meat masher to break up the smoked ground beef into small pieces.
  • Transfer the ground beef into the chili base and thoroughly stir to fully combine the two.
  • Serve immediately after they are combined with your favorite smoked cornbread, crackers, tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream etc.


Simplify this recipe by using pre-made chili seasoning packets. You would need 1 packet for the base of the chili and 1 packet for the ground beef mixture. This chili is good for up to 5 days stored in the fridge or 3 months frozen. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 490mg | Potassium: 496mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2768IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 5mg

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  1. I live in an apartment complex and no access to a grill or smoker. Would liquid smoke work, and if so, how much?

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I totally get that grilling in an apartment complex makes this complicated. While in a lot of cases I think liquid smoke can be a fix, I am not sure that would entirely help in this recipe. The process of low and slow smoke infusion into the meat and the chili base is what helps develop the flavor, but also the texture (which is key). This is however a great chili recipe and can be made traditionally (not smoked over the top, but browning the ground beef with the chili) with the addition of a little liquid smoke. I would start with 1/2 tsp and really test taste as you go. Liquid smoke is strong and could over power it. Even some extra smoky paprika added sometimes helps the smoke flavor too. Hope this helps answer your question.