Slow Cooker Spicy Smoked Sausage Chili

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Whether you are hosting a football playoff party or just trying to stay warm, this slow cooker spicy smoked sausage chili is just what you need.

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Waking up to single digits is something no one looks forward to. Unless of course you have been suffering through negative temperatures in which case all I have to say to you is, “why do you live there!?”. While we unfortunately cannot hibernate through the winter, we can maximize our bundled-up-on-the-couch-time by letting the slow cooker make dinner. I actually love using my slow cooker year-round but it becomes even more appealing when the temperature drops; coming home to a warm meal.

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The weather combined with the onset of the football playoffs has had me craving chili, specifically my dad’s chili. I so rarely deviate from his recipe because not only is it the best chili in my opinion, but it has also won contests both when my dad and I have entered it and on more than one occasion. He used to be on a chili cook-off team when we lived in Texas so he knows his stuff (although he does admit that the version they cooked for competitions was much spicier).

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Lately however, I’ve been doing the unthinkable and experimenting a little with my dad’s recipe. It felt blasphemous until the success of the slow cooker BBQ pork chili I made recently and now I am at it again with another kind of meat – sausage! Specifically smoked sausage and andouille. While at first you must pan sear the sausage, after that it all goes into the slow cooker along with a little bit of liquid smoke to enhance the smokiness. And in commemoration of my dad’s chili team usually making their version spicier, I also added a bit of El Yucateco’s red habanero hot sauce that I picked up at Meijer and is pretty much the perfect all purpose sauce as it has a bit more kick than other hot sauces but is less vinegary.

While Bob at first was skeptical about sausage in chili, thinking it odd, his doubts quickly dissipated. In fact he proclaimed it to be awesome, saying that the smoky flavor really shined with the sausage. Being the hot sauce-a-holic that he is, he also thought that the heat was perfect so it sounds like it was a winner in our house. I even served mine over pasta Cincinatti-chili style and would be perfect for that professional playoff game that’s coming up soon. You know, that one with the two teams, weird commercials, and lots of food consumption? It’s funny how I adore everything there is about college football but when it comes to the pros, all I care about is the food that surrounds it.

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What are you making  to celebrate the playoffs? Does your team have any traditional dishes? Anything spicy on your menu?

By the way in case you were unaware, quickly after the finale of football season is Valentine’s Day. If you happen to have a hot sauce-a-holic in your life like I do, you need to check out the El Yucateco gear store where you can find gear to broadcast their love of El Yucateco hot sauce. What better way to spice up your Valentine’s day with some hot gear, amiright?

Two years ago: Greek Yogurt Gnocchi with Spicy Pesto

Four years ago: Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Five years ago: Black Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie

SLOW COOKER SPICY SMOKED SAUSAGE CHILI

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Scant 1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced

1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced

1 bottle beer

2 (10.75 oz.) cans condensed tomato soup

2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce

1 (12 oz) can tomato paste

2 Tbsp El Yucateco Red Hot Sauce

1 tsp liquid smoke

3 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp dry mustard

2 (15 oz.) cans chili beans

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping if desired

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until tender. Add sausage and brown.
  2. Lightly coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Transfer sausage mixture into the slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients except beans, pepper and cheese. Thoroughly mix, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Add beans, pepper and cheese. Heat for another 15 minutes before serving with additional cheese on top.

Source: Adapted slightly from my dad’s Pickleball Chili and inspired by Girl Carnivore.

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