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Over the Top Chili

Over the Top Chili

By Traeger Kitchen

Here’s the Traeger take on a popular internet recipe. Seasoned ground beef is cooked on a rack positioned above a pot of chili for optimum smoke penetration. As the meat cooks, it drips fat and flavor into the pot below. Once done cooking, the wood-fired meat gets crumbled into the chili. It’s truly a fun way to make an old favorite.

Prep Time

10 Minutes

Cook Time

4 Hours




Number of people serving


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Units of measurement:
canola or other neutral flavored oil
1 Medium yellow onion, diced
1 Medium red or green bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoon fajita seasoning
3 16-oz cans beans, preferably a mix such as pinto, great northern, and kidney, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
4 Cup beef broth
1 Pound ground beef, preferably 80% lean
1 Pound ground pork
2 Tablespoon fajita seasoning
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Cup sour cream
Cornbread (optional)


  • 1

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large enameled Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season the onions and peppers with 2 tablespoons of fajita seasoning and stir to combine. Add the beans, the tomatoes and chilies, and the beef broth, bring to a simmer.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, if your grill allows, position the upper rack high enough to fit a Dutch oven below it on which you will cook the beef for the chili right over the pot. (If not, you can set a wire rack on top of the pot.) If necessary, scrape the upper grate clean. Preheat the Traeger with the lid closed to 225°F; this will take about 15 minutes. If available, use Super Smoke.

  • 3

    In a bowl or on a work surface, mix the ground beef and ground pork with 2 tablespoons Traeger Fajita Rub. Form into a large ball and coat lightly all over with about 1 tablespoon oil to prevent the meat from sticking to the grates.

  • 4

    Transfer the chili to the bottom grate and place the ball of meat on the rack above the pot, positioning it so that any drippings will fall into the pot. Close the lid and smoke for 90 minutes.

    225 ˚F / 107 ˚C


  • 5

    Increase the Traeger temperature to 350°F and continue cooking until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, about 2 hours.

    350 ˚F / 177 ˚C

    160 ˚F / 71 ˚C

  • 6

    Transfer the meat to a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully raise or remove the upper rack to allow better access to the pot. If you have heatproof gloves, hold the meat over the pot and break it up into smaller pieces into the pot along with any juices. (If you don’t have gloves, break up the meat on the baking sheet with a wooden spoon or similar and transfer it and any juice to the pot.) Close the lid and let the chili cook for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

    350 ˚F / 177 ˚C


  • 7

    Serve the chili topped with scallion, cheese, sour cream, and cornbread, as desired. Enjoy!

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