Mesquite-Grilled Steak Chili with Chorizo and Poblano

This is a dark, smokey, semi-hot chili based on two of my other grilled steak chili recipes.  The main difference here is it also features chorizo sausage. If you cannot find the bulk chorizo, you can substitute ground pork and add a bit more cayenne pepper. The marinade is similar to my recipe for fajitas. It’s a lot of work but a guaranteed success for hungry guests.

In Arizona, mesquite wood is plentiful. It grows as a small scrub-tree and can be found everywhere. No such luck here in Wisconsin. I get my wood chips at a hardware store in three pound bags. The wood smoke is essential to the flavor of this dish.


For the Steak Marinade~

2 lbs. chuck or sirloin steak, slightly marbled
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 tbs. ancho chili powder
1 tbs. ground coriander seed
1 tbs. liquid smoke
2 oz. tequila
fresh-ground black pepper to taste

For the Chili Pot~

1 lb. ground bulk chorizo or pork
2 large spanish onions, peeled and halved
2 large poblano peppers
1 whole bulb garlic, cloves peeled and minced
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 14.5 oz. can pinto beans
1 cup strong black coffee
24 oz. beef broth or stock
1 32 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
4 tbs. tomatillo or lime juice
2 tbs. ancho chili powder
3.5 tbs. pure mild chimayo chili powder
1 tsp. salt, to taste
1 tbs. ground chipotle powder
3 tbs. ground cayenne powder, to taste
2 tbs. fresh ground cumin, from toasted seed
1 tbs. ground mexican oregano

Mesquite wood chips for grilling
Paper lunch bag


Prepare the marinade and steak 24 hours in advance. Tenderize the steak and place in a large ziplock freezer bag. Mix the lime juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, coriander, ancho powder, liquid smoke, tequila and black pepper in a bowl until combined and pour over steak. Seal tight and place in fridge, rotating at least twice. Ensure that the steak is evenly covered  with the marinade. The lime juice will break down the marbling and make it very tender.

Heat a large 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven over medium heat and brown the pork until no longer pink. Drain off the fat. Add the coffee, tomatoes and beef stock. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher and bring to a low simmer.

Prepare your grill with enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When the coals are white-hot, level them, add the mesquite wood and place the onion (lightly brushed with olive oil) over direct heat on the grilling grate until they char slightly. Keep rotating them and then add the poblanos. Ensure you get a nice char on all sides of the peppers. The onion will eventually break apart, so take care not to let the pieces slip through the grilling grate onto the fire. Remove the onion and poblanos and set aside. Place the poblanos in a sealed paper lunch bag so the tough skins sweat off.

Add the steak to the grill and char both sides lightly with the cover on for smoking. You’ll want it medium-rare in the middle. Remove and reserve on a cutting board for at least ten minutes.

Back to the chili pot –  Rinse off the charred poblano skins under cold water. Seed and dice the pepppers. Dice the onion and add both to the pot. Add the dry spices. Cut the steak into 1/2″ chunks and remove the excess fat. Add to the pot with any remaining juices. Add the tomatillo or lime juice. Saute the garlic over low heat in a little olive oil and add to the pot.

Simmer for at least 3 hours to reduce, stirring occasionally. At the last half-hour, drain the beans and add to the pot.

Makes 4.75 quarts.

Flatiron Grilled Steak Chili

Here’s a milder version of my Fire Canyon Grilled Steak Chili, made with poblano peppers. The preparation is much the same. The combination of two kinds of beans, done until just tender add a nice contrast to the simmered beef. A wonderful recipe well worth the time needed to prepare.


3 lbs. skirt, flank or Angus sirloin steak
Mike’s Flatiron Rub
fresh-squeezed lime juice
XV olive oil
2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 bulbs garlic
1 32oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
3 cups beef stock
1 cup strong black coffee
2 huge Spanish onions
3 large poblano peppers
3 jalapeno peppers
1/3 cup pure mild chimayo chili powder
1 tbs. ground Mexican oregano
1 tbs. chipotle powder
1 tbs. cayenne powder
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tbs. ground cumin (toasted from seed)
1 cup dry pinto beans
1 cup dry black beans
2 tbs. masa harina (cornmeal) used as thickener
Mesquite wood chips and real charcoal


The night before: Wash and sort the pinto and black beans. Remove any debris. Soak in water for 24 hours.
Pound the steaks on both sides using a meat tenderizer (cover with saran wrap). Generously sprinkle the flatiron rub on both sides and work it in to the meat.

In a bowl, mix 2 cups lime juice and about a half cup olive oil. Add 5 cloves mashed garlic. Add 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper. Add 1 tsp. liquid smoke. Mix well and pour into ziplock freezer bag. Add the steaks. Seal tight and double bag. Shake to ensure the steaks are evenly coated with the marinade. Marinate in your fridge for at least 24 hours.

When ready to start the chili, preheat a 22″ Weber grill with enough charcoal to cook the steaks over medium-high heat.
Prepare the mesquite chips for smoking by either soaking them in water for at least an hour -or- placing them in a sealed tinfoil pack (shiny side in) with holes poked in it.

While the grill is preheating, heat a 6-quart Dutch oven (cast-iron preferred) to medium and add the tomatoes, coffee and beef stock. Bring to a low simmer.

When the charcoal is white-hot add the mesquite chips to the coals. Cook the steaks quickly (a very hot, direct fire is essential) so they slightly char on each side. It’s fine if they are underdone, since they are going into the chili pot. Remove from the grill and set aside in a covered dish.

Peel and halve the onions and core the poblanos. Brush lightly with olive oil and place both on the grill over direct heat. Char lightly until the skin on the poblanos blisters. Rotate to ensure that they are evenly done, then remove from heat and place in a covered pan. The tough outer skin on the poblanos will blister off in about fifteen minutes. Rinse under cold water to remove the skin. Chop the onion and poblano in to 1/4″ pieces and add to the pot.

When cool, cut the steak into 1/2″ cubes and add to the pot. Increase the heat and bring to a slow boil.

Add 1 tsp. liquid smoke, the dry spices and 1 bulb peeled, minced garlic. Use the cayenne and chipotle powder to control the heat. (Toast the cumin on medium heat in a heavy pan until it just starts to smoke. Shake the pan to stir. Remove from heat and grind in a spice grinder or mortar. Do not burn it or it will taste bitter.)

Add the pinto and black beans. Add three seeded and chopped jalapenos.

Simmer for about three hours, stirring occasionally until the beans are tender, but not soft. You want a nice contrast to the texture of the beef. About halfway through, taste and correct the seasoning.  (alright – we all know you’ll be tasting it more than that, but at least try to use some reservation.)

Masa harina may be used during the last fifteen minutes of cooking to thicken up the chili.

Serves 6-8

Grilled Corn, Poblano and Black Bean Salsa

Take advantage of your outdoor grill during summer months by adding incredible flavor and depth to this unique salsa. Enjoy! It’s well worth the extra effort.


4-6 cobs fresh corn, soaked in cold water with silk removed (keep the husks!)
1 large poblano pepper, cored and washed
2 serrano peppers, stems removed and minced
3 ripe roma or 1 large garden tomato, cored and halved
1/2 red onion cut into planks
1 small can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloved peeled garlic, minced
1/4 cup washed cilantro leaves, minced
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
Juice of 1/8 lime wedge
XV olive oil

Charcoal for grilling
Paper lunch bag
Tortilla chips


Preheat your outdoor grill with enough charcoal for a medium fire. (You can try this recipe on a gas grill, but it will not turn out the same.)

Prep the vegetables. Let the corn soak in cold water for at least an hour.

When the coals are white hot (use direct heating method), place the corn cobs with husks on the grill and cover, rotating for about 45 minutes until slightly charred. During this time, keep the corn moist by adding a small amount of water over the cobs after turning. Remove and set aside to cool.

Check the temperature of your fire and re-stoke if necessary.

Working quickly, place the poblano pepper, the tomato and onion planks to the grill. Brush with olive oil and allow to char evenly. Rotate to avoid overcooking. When done, remove and place the poblano pepper in a sealed paper bag. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. The pepper’s tough outer skin will sweat and blister off.

Cut the kernels off the cobs and place the corn in a bowl. Add the salt, lime juice and minced cilantro. Dice the skinned poblano, tomato and onion. Add to the bowl. Add the minced serrano pepper. Use the serranos to control the heat to your preference. Add the black beans (about a cup), and the garlic. Stir well.

Allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour, taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

I highly recommend blue corn chips with this recipe.

Rajas de Chile Poblano – Chile Poblano Strips

This easy-to-prepare grilled topping can be used on many main course Mexican meals such as steak fajitas or pork carnitas.


6 chiles poblanos, washed
XV Olive oil
1 medium spanish onion, sliced into rings
salt to taste


Heat a charcoal grill with enough coal to produce a medium-hot fire. When the coals are white hot, place them to the side of the coal rack for indirect grilling.

Place the washed poblano chilies on the grill in the center and roast until the skins just turn black. Rotate each and char the other side. Remove and place them in a bowl covered with a towel. The skins will sweat and peel off within 15 minutes.

While the chilies are resting, place the onion slabs over the coals and brush lightly with olive oil. Cook until slightly charred. Again, turn once when roasting. Remove from the grill and place in a serving dish with the rings separated.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Gently work the blistered skin off the chilies. Cut them into 1/2″ strips and mix with the grilled onion. Salt to taste and serve.

Serving Size 4

Southwest Pork Chili Verde

Southwest Pork Chili Verde Recipe | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pork Chili Verde (carne de cerdo chili verde, green chili or green chili stew) is a legendary dish rarely found east of the Rio Grande. Known as “the other chili” by chiliheads, this recipe is as authentic as they come.

Pork Chili Verde evolved from a stew concocted by the native Hopi and Anasazi tribes of the desert southwest many hundred years ago. They incorporated yams, potatoes, javalina (an aggressive, pissed-off peccary that looks like a wild boar) and large green peppers that were indigenous to Mexico and traded north. Eventually, by AD 700, the cultivation of these chilies (poblanos, Hatch New Mexican green, Anaheim varieties) spread throughout the desert southwest as well, and heavily influenced the regional Spanish culture after AD 1600. The use of peppers, some form of meat and spice boiled in a crude stoneware pot over an open fire spans back many thousands of years to a time well before the Aztec, Maya and Olmec cultures of middle America.

The recipe is traditionally quite spicy. Sadly, it is almost unheard of in the Midwest.

Its popularity today is evident the minute you step into a southwest restaurant or cantina. There you’ll see it served over burritos, on tacos, huevos rancheros, or all by itself with a big mug of Corona beer and some tortillas on the side for dipping.



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality (you can use part rendered bacon fat for a richer base)
2-1/2 to 3 lbs lean pork shoulder or cubes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 large Spanish onions, coarse chopped
1 bulb fresh garlic, sections peeled and fine chopped
2 dry bay leaves
3 large carrots (yes, carrots), peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
6-8 jalapeños, diced, with seeds (gut ‘em if you want a milder batch)
(2) 27oz. cans Hatch* whole mild New Mexican green chilies, drained and cut into 1/4 inch strips, OR
8 large, fresh poblano peppers, cored, roasted and peeled
(*You will have to go to a Mexican market for these. They are impossible to find in most supermarkets in such large cans.)
(5) 8oz. cans chicken stock (Swanson is a good brand)
1-1/2 tbs. dried Mexican oregano leaf
2 tsp. ground chipotle powder, to taste
2 tbs. cumin seed, toasted over medium heat in a skillet, and ground in a mortar
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 potato, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
2 tbs. masa harina (corn meal) used as thickener

Top with sour cream and fresh-chopped cilantro



In a five-quart dutch oven, (preferably cast iron) heat about two tbs. olive oil to medium-high heat and brown the pork until no longer pink. You will want to work in batches; possibly using another large frying pan as well. I like this method as it prevents crowding the meat, resulting in a more even sear.

Using a Chinese spider strainer, remove the meat from the fat and reserve in the dutch oven, covered on low heat.

Sauté the onions and jalapeños in a heavy, cast-iron fry pan until very tender, about 20 min. Transfer to the dutch oven. Carefully sauté the chopped garlic by reducing the heat, as it burns easily and will taste bitter if scorched.

Increase heat on dutch oven to medium. Add the chicken stock, spices and Hatch chilies or poblanos. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-1/2 hours uncovered, stirring frequently. Add the carrot and shredded potato and cook an additional 1/2 hour until tender.

For best results, prepare the day before and then reheat and serve. Chili is one dish that really benefits from an overnight rest. You can add the cornmeal at this time to thicken it up to your liking, but generally Green Chili should have a stew-like consistency. You may also adjust the seasoning (salt/heat) at this time.

Freezes well… but you won’t have any leftovers.

Makes 4.5 quarts.


Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch | Culinary Compost

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch. The tough outer skin is unpalatable and should be removed before baking.