We asked Fishers Firefighter Will Ortiz for the special recipe from the Fishers Fire Foundation’s Chili Cookout, and he let us is on the award-winning “Smoke Showing Chili” recipe.

chili with cornbread
firefighter making chili

Award-Winning Smoke Showing Chili Recipe

Feeds about 10 people and spiciness can be adjusted as desired.


  • ounces died ancho chiles stems and seeds removed and flesh torn into 1-inch pieces
  • cups chicken stock/broth
  • (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet or spicy)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine or grated
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (remove seeds to lower the heat)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • tablespoons chili powder
  • tablespoon dried oregano
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • (15-ounce) cans beans, rinsed (we used red kidney and pinto beans)
  • 1 tablespoon masa flour (or cornstarch) mixed with water to make a slurry (if needed to thicken chili)


  1. Combine ancho chilis and 2 cups water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until softened, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Drain and discard liquid.
  2. Place ancho chilis, tomatoes and their juice, and remaining 2 cups water, in a blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven until oil starts to smoke. Add ground beef, sausage and break up into small chunks using a wooden spoon, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper and cook until well-browned. Drain meat in a colander and set aside.
  4. Heat remaining oil in Dutch oven and add onions and jalapenos with seeds. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, until onion is nicely browned. Stir in garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander,  and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add in beans, ancho-tomato mixture, and beef and return to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with sour cream and fried tortilla strips.

Will Ortiz is the president of the Fishers Fire Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, all volunteer group that supports FFD firefighters. Learn more on their website.

Looking for more soup ideas and recipes? Check out National Soup Month: Top Picks in Fishers.

pot of chili
chili cookoff winners