Campfire Chili

The end of summer / beginning of fall is one of our favorite times of the year to camp! Its cooled off a bit (especially at night) and we can get away for a long weekend. This recipe we are about to share with you has been passed around our group of friends at least 10 times, originating from our good friend Laura up in Berkeley. She shared this recipe during a camping trip in Russian River and we’ve been hooked ever since. We’ve made it for parties, potlucks, shared it with friends and make it EVERY SINGLE CAMPING TRIP. We love comfort food and food you can cook slowly over fire— that’s what this chili is all about! It has grown and evolved over the years so we thought we’d share our most recent version. When we camp we go all out when it comes to food and cooking. All of our meats for this chili came from our friends at The Heart & Trotter in North Park. They source their products as local as possible and in a responsible way. We love shopping there! We’ll also share some tips to prep and store some of the ingredients before you head out to making campfire cooking a piece of cake (or should I say a piece of cornbread?)!



 Ingredients/ Equipment:

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3-5 peppers of your choice (we used a mix of bell peppers (1) , jalapenos (3), poblanos (1))

1/8 cup paprika

1/8 cup ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 bay leaves

1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 lb chorizo

1- 16oz can black beans, rinsed

1- 16oz can kidney beans, rinsed

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 quart beef stock

16-22oz of a dark beer (either a brown ale or stout) We used Societe’s Pugilist

Salt + Pepper

Oil or Butter

Flour for Dredging


Mason Jars for storing/ transporting

Dutch oven

Recipe serves 4 people.



We are going to break this down into a few sections because well, we’re camping!

Things you can prep at home:

1) Roast your peppers- now we mean char them til they’re black! Place them over direct flame until they are black. Remove from flame and put into a sealed container to steam for 20 minutes. Remove the skin, seeds and stems and chop the peppers as desired.

2) Prep your veggies- chop up your onion and carrot. Combine them with your chopped peppers into a large wide mouth mason jar. Add paprika, chile powder, garlic powder and bay leaves.

3) Bake or prep cornbread- we typically like to bake our own ahead of time, but this time we went for the good stuff from Whole Foods and made it easy on ourselves. You can also sub out for baked potatoes too!

4) Prep your meat- cube up your lamb into 1 inch square and put it in a ziplock.

Cooking at Camp:

1) Pre-heat your dutch oven over your campfire.

2) Add 3 tablespoons of flour to your bag of lamb and give it a good shake to dredge the meat.

3) Add butter or oil to your dutch oven and add in lamb. Cook at a high temp, stirring occasionally until heavily browned.

4) Add in chorizo until cooked through.

5) Add your mason jar filled with veggies and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes.

6) Add your beer, crushed tomatoes, canned beans and salt + pepper.

7) Leave over the campfire for about 2 hours stirring occasionally. Leave the lid propped slightly open to let the chili breathe, but also to help keep unwanted camping goodies out.

Wah-lah! Your chili is done! Put your cornbread in a bowl and ladle the chili over it. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream and some green onions. Enjoy with a cold beer and you’re set!

Cheers and happy camping!

PS- We camped at the Serrano Campground in Big Bear! It was awesome and had a trail that went from our campground, right to the lake! The sites were spacious, the bathrooms were clean and it was pup friendly! We ate great food, drank amazing beers, hung out by the fire and played a serious amount of bocce ball. Enjoy some photos from our trip!