This is my not-so-secret recipe for smokey, savory Gochujang Chili Con Carne that’s going to blow your mind and save you so much effort.

Gochujang Chili Con Carne is ready for all of the toppings, and your spoon.

I had a hard time convincing myself to post this recipe for Gochujang Chili Con Carne. It’s my secret recipe for potlucks and gatherings.

No one in their right mind shares their personal secrets for chili!

Chili con carne is a dish made famous in Texas, while is essentially a chili that’s primarily chunks of stewed beef and a sauce made out of dried chiles. Traditionally there are no beans, and it always starts with searing large pieces of beef before bathing them in a chile broth for hours.

Why This Recipe Works

Multiple layers of heat. Chopped chipotles in adobo, diced jalapenos, and gochujang paste create a complex, multi-layered flavor with spice. Get your glass of water handy!

Simple to prepare. The prep is the hardest part. Once everything is in the pot you simply need to wait, and occasionally stir. Lots of tasting too.

Meal prep this, trust me. Chili is always better the next day, so feel free to make this batch ahead of time. This recipe is no different and we always try to have it ready to go.

chili con carne with the toppings

No Chile Powders

This isn’t your traditional chili, whatever that really means. There are no chile powders to be had, just fresh veggies, broth, beer, and a small amount of brown sugar and you’ve got yourself a ridiculously complex tasting chili that warms your mouth instantly. The savory gochujang will have you drooling for more. Smoked salt and chipotles remind me of cooking outdoors, giving you the essence of a campfire. I highly recommend that you double or triple the recipe below.

Creating a new style of chili using fresh ingredients was tricky. There are are few layers of heat that create the complexity you’d expect from an excellent chili con carne: Gochujang and fresh Chipotles with adobo sauce, and Jalapeños. Gochujang and jalapeños can vary with levels of heat, so hopefully, you’ve tasted yours ahead of time and are familiar with how spicy it is.

Close up of all the flavors, you can almost taste how spicy it's going to be.

Do you know Gochujang?

It’s a Korean fermented chile paste that is packed with umami and heat, making you crave more and more. I think that Bon Appetit has some of the best examples of how it can be used.

Don’t worry about it being a huge container – you will absolutely go through it all. I have access to it at local grocery stores, however, you can buy the same brand that I use online which makes it really easy:

gochujang chili con carne
This bite is for me! You can have the rest.

Rice is a great pairing for the chili, helping soak up all of those flavors. Try putting it in a flour tortilla, making an incredible burrito. Or you could simply shove it in your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute the beer?

Yes, if you don’t drink alcohol I would recommend just using a light roast coffee, which would give you a rich, earthy flavor.

Can I use this recipe with pork or chicken?

You sure can! Same seasonings and process, but the cooking time will vary for the meat to fall apart. Just pay attention along the way during the last phase of braising.

Can I substitute the gochujang?

Nope. It’s a must for this recipe. There is not a close substitute that will mimic the flavors.

I could keep writing more but you don’t really care. You should be focused on making this and sharing your feedback below!

Close up of that delicious bowl of gochujang chili con carne

More Recipes to Try with Gochujang:

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Gochujang Chili Con Carne is ready for all of the toppings, and your spoon.

Gochujang Chili Con Carne

This is my not-so-secret recipe for smokey, savory gochujang chili con carne that’s going to blow your minds and save you so much effort.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tbsp vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1.50 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely diced
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 1 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup Negro Modelo, or preferred dark beer
  • 5 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Use a Dutch oven, or a deep pot. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil over high heat. Lightly season the meat with salt & pepper. Sear the meat all over, you will probably need to do this in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate lined with a paper towel once browned.
  2. Add in the last 2 Tbsp of oil into the pot and reduce heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add in the diced jalapeños and red onion. Stir frequently to char on all sides for 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, chopped chipotle and adobo sauce, cumin, coriander, smoked salt and brown sugar. Continue to stir frequently to incorporate the spices.
  3. Whisk together the gochujang and beef broth to fully incorporate. Add this into the pot along with the beer, and fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the meat to the pot and bring it all to a simmer for about 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Put the lid on while cooking if you like the chili to have a thinner consistency, and simmer without the lid if you like it a little thicker.
  4. Stir in the chopped cilantro at the end. I recommend servicing with white rice and toppings such as cheddar cheese and diced white or green onions. Enjoy!

Notes

Gochujang cannot be replaced in this recipe, it’s a complex ingredient and your results will not be the same. Make sure you have fun toppings such as cheddar, sesame seeds, scallions, white onions, or even an egg. There are so many possibilities.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Comfort food

Keywords: chili con carne

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26 Comments

  1. I’ve made this several times now and it’s awesome. It’s my husbands now favourite chilli! Thank you so much for sharing xxx

        • I think black beans would work with the flavor profile. You might want to add them in halfway through if they are canned, that way they don’t become mush.

  2. We’ve made this a few times now and it’s crazy! Thank you!

      • You can, however, the flavors and textures will be compromised if you don’t sear first. You could easily transfer it to a slow cooker for the braise.

    • Yes you can! Follow the same process but you don’t need to cook the chili down quite a long, since you’re not trying to tenderize the beef.

  3. Larry Marquit Reply

    I noticed someone asked, “Can I substitute the beer?” and your answer was :Yes, if you don’t drink alcohol I would recommend just using a light roast coffee, which would give you a rich, earthy flavor.” I agree with you; however, virtually all the alcohol evaporates — or ‘burns off’ — from the beer during cooking. Also, there are non-alcoholic beers. At the same time, it may be the taste of beer that this cook wants to avoid, in which I agree with you 200%!

    • Hi Larry, great points and thank you for sharing. This specific question came up twice from individuals that don’t drink, meaning they don’t purchase alcohol – this comes up often in my recipes. Yes, alcohol mostly burns off but it’s helpful to also share a substitute. I’m sure that a great-tasting non-alcoholic beer could potentially work. Frankly, I’ve never cooked this with non-alcoholic beer for testing, but I did with coffee. Appreciate your time in sharing, gives me something to think about for future testing.

  4. Tried similar recipe only a few tweaks… used Rye alcohol in place of beer, used venison in place of beef, and added black beans not from can. Very yummy! Thank you

  5. I’ve always struggled to get a spot on chili & this recipe did it for me. I did some modifications to fit my pantry & tastes and the chili is totally banging. I used ground beef. I don’t like chipotle so I blistered half a red pepper in its place. I added a tablespoon of grated ginger. I also always toast my spices after sautéing the veg, and add a tbls tomato paste after. I didn’t have smoked salt but I added about 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke to the broth. I didn’t have any beer & I wish I’d known about the coffee sub, but I didn’t read the notes, so I just added a bit more broth. I added a can of black beans. I agree, it is a complex taste of unique definition. I wish I had tripled it as you recommended. Next time. I’m thinking about serving it with Damn Good Corn Bread. Any other suggestions besides rice?

    • Thanks for the feedback! Glad you love it. You sound like you’re quick on your feet with being able to adapt the recipe to your tastes, which is great to see.
      I love the chili on biscuits, rice, or in big burritos 🌯

    • The flavor will be very close but you’ll miss out on the thickening component. I haven’t tried this, but I would imagine it wouldn’t be far off.

  6. Juliet Cavanaugh Reply

    Wow! Really WOW! We are entering a friendly chili cook-off with friends and wanted something different. We love Korean BBQ and thought it would make a great chili and looked on-line for inspiration. Lucky us you shared your secret recipe! Aside from Amazon, we could not find gochujang paste or smoked salt locally, so we substituted gochujang sauce and a bit of liquid smoke as another review suggested. We also added a small knob of grated ginger and a can of black beans with their liquid half way through the cooking time.. The chili was thick and smokey and a gorgeous! 3 hours was perfect for melt in your mouth beef. The flavor is absolutely amazing and complex and we will proudly enter this in the cook-off and look forward to sharing it with friends and family for years to come! Thank you so much for giving us the best chili ever!

    • Oh my gosh thank you for the feedback! Please let me know how you do in the cook off. Have fun and best of luck!

    • If you’re going to use pork, either pork shoulder or pork loin will work. Pork shoulder is going to be fattier, so keep that in mind. For the chicken, I would definitely use thighs for the fat and flavor if you can. Chicken breast will shred if you use it, but the thighs have more flavor.

  7. very excited to try this is there anyway I can do this in a crockpot after searing?

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