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There are few things we love more than an All-American Eat-a-Thon; especially when said smorgasbord is a feast cooked by some of our favorite people in the city. Last week The Dunes opened its doors for some of the best chili in D.C. at the Second Annual Chili Chomp, an competition for the best chili of the night. The reward? Two hundred dollars.


Contestants included Pat Walsh (with “Pat’s No Bullshit Classic Texas Red Chili, via Syracuse), Matt Heffernan (with his Bourbon Short Rib Chili), Brian Stanford  (with the delectably spicy OG Texas Red Medicine), and Carey Beard (serving up his Hot Chunks of Chicken Chili). Even those shirking the meat options found some delicious eats like Tammy Tuck’s White Bean Pumpkin Chili with Carrot & Quinoa or Catalina Lavalle’s Can’t-Tell-It’s-Vegan Sweet ‘n Spicy Chili.

But the winning title (and 200 bones) went to Mitchell West and his Mitchili–a dark, flavorful stew of beer, beef, coffee, kidney beans and secret spices–well, maybe not so secret. Because we love chili (and who doesn’t?), we couldn’t let you miss out on some of the best flavors to try at home in one of the best winter dishes imaginable. Without further ado, we bring you the top two chili recipes from the evening (and some inspirational photos to spirit-guide you through them). See you next year at The Dunes, chili fans.




2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large white onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (diced)
2 cans kidney beans (strained and rinsed)
2 12oz bottles Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
8 oz strong fresh brewed coffee
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons cinnamon 
2 tablespoons oregano
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil


  • Place onions and garlic in a large saucepan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. after a sauteing for a few minutes add 1 bottle of beer and let it cook for roughly one hour, or until the beer is almost gone. 
  • Move onions and garlic to the edge of the pan and add the ground beef, chili power, cinnamon, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Add a little more salt and pepper. Once meat has finished browning, add the chicken stock. Let this simmer on low heat uncovered for 2 hours.
  • Now add tomatoes, tomato paste, and coffee.  Let this simmer on low heat then place the lit on the pan. Simmer for 1 hour then add beans and the second bottle of beer. 
  • Simmer one more hour and it’s ready to serve! 

Note: If at any time it begins to look too thick, add a bit of water or chicken stock to thin it out. 


1.5 cups Angel’s Envy Bourbon + 1 Tbsp
3 lbs boneless beef short rib
1.5 Tbsps cumin
2 tsps coriander
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
3 large white onions, diced
3 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
1 bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 12 oz can small red beans
2 12 oz cans black beans
2 12 oz cans diced tomatoes w/ chipotles
2 12 oz cans diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 28 oz can tomato puree
Salt and pepper
  • Season short ribs liberally with salt and pepper as well as half of the cumin, coriander, and crushed red pepper.  Sear on a hot grill or cast iron pan.  Place short ribs in a 225 dutch oven, or crock pot, with one can diced tomatoes w/chipotles, and one diced onion. Braise for 2 hours.  
  • In a separate pan, sautee the remaining onions with the jalapenos and salt, until they begin browning.  Remove pan from heat.  Add the Angel’s Envy.  *THIS PART IS DANGEROUS* Using a grill lighter, light the fumes on fire to burn off the alcohol.  Add bell pepper, red beans, black beans, and tomato puree, as well as all remaining spices and canned tomatoes.  Adjust seasoning.  Simmer for 2 hours.
  • Remove short ribs from braising pan and cut into chunks.  Combine with your chili base, add 1 Tbsp Angel’s Envy, adjust seasoning, and simmer an additional 2-3 hours.