The best cuts of meat for a slow cooker are those with some fat and connective tissue. Long, slow cooking breaks these down, making the meat tender and juicy. Lean cuts, on the other hand, will dry out in a slow cooker. When making chili, I prefer ground chuck over ground round or the generic “ground beef, finding it gives a richer, beefier flavor.
This is a beef-only chili. If you like, add one or two 15 ounce cans of pinto beans at the end of cooking and heat through. This will take about half an hour on the high setting.
- 3 lbs. ground chuck, preferably coarsely ground
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- ½ oz. ground cumin seed
- 3 TB chili powder, or more to taste
- 1 cup water or tomato juice
- 1 TB salt (less if using tomato juice)
- Red pepper flakes, if desired
- One or two cans pinto beans, optional
- In a large skillet, brown the ground chuck, breaking it up as it cooks
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic while the meat is cooking
- Add both to a slow cooker together with the seasonings and the liquid of your choice
- Depending on your time frame, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 4 to 6 hours
- Check the seasoning, and add red pepper flakes to increase the heat if desired