Keto Short Rib Chili
There’s a definite chill in the air. Can you feel it? Well, maybe not in some parts of the country, but here in the Pacific Northwest, autumn is on its way, if not already here.
The best part of fall is the comfort food and there is no food more comforting than this short rib chili. Well, maybe my Shrimp and Bacon Chowder. Or perhaps my keto Cream of Mushroom Soup. And my Buffalo Chicken Soup is also pretty darn spectacular.
But this keto chili recipe definitely makes the short list.
Chili is and always has been one of my favorite foods, because even not very good chili is pretty darn comforting when you’re cold and hungry. How can you go wrong with meat cooked slowly in rich spices and a thick tomato broth? You can’t, that’s all. You can’t go wrong.
And the crazy part is that while I make chili all. the. time, I don’t actually have a good keto chili recipe here on All Day I Dream About Food. Until now, that is.
What makes the best keto chili?
Well, what really makes good chili is a matter of opinion and taste. And probably a few feuds as well. Everyone has their own take on the best way to make chili.
In my experience, a slow simmered chili recipe is best, as it allows the flavors to develop and intensify over time. So don’t be fooled by promises of “fast and easy”. Good chili is usually easy to make but it takes time to cook.
Keto chili should be devoid of any higher carb items like beans, though. That goes almost without saying, because beans are high in carbs and many consider them inflammatory. Onion needs to be kept to a minimum as well, since it’s surprisingly high carb.
Tomato sauce, paste, and puree can also send the carb count up if used too liberally. I like to keep my chili to less than 5g total carbs per serving, so I use a single can of diced tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes help bring out the best flavor.
But the focus of a good keto chili recipe should always be the meat and the spices. Use beef with a high percentage of fat for a satisfying meal, and be generous with the chili, cumin, and garlic.
Can you make keto chili ahead of time?
I find myself wanting to answer this question with a smart ass comment like “Is the pope Catholic?”. Because chili is perhaps the best make ahead meal on the planet.
It’s one of those dishes that seems to actually get better when it’s eaten the next day or even a few days later. And one of the benefits of keto chili is that there are no beans to get mushy as they sit and soften. So it’s just as good or better than the day you made it.
So go ahead and make a huge pot of this short rib chili. This particular recipe serves 10 people. Let it cool to room temperature and then split it up however you see fit. You can do individual servings, or portion it out for your family size.
The chili can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. We froze our leftovers back in May and I just fed my family the second portion about a month ago!
Because it contains acidic ingredients like tomatoes, I recommend storing in glass containers if you have them. If not, good BPA-Free tupperware works too.
Tips for making Short Rib Chili
Short ribs are ideal for comfort food dishes like this, because they are fatty and rich, and become incredibly tender with slow braising.
Always brown the ribs first: This step adds 10 minutes or so, but it’s worth it. Browning the meat in lard or oil helps bring out the best flavor, before the liquids are added. Otherwise, you are essentially just eating stewed meat. Transfer the ribs to a plate while making the rest of the chili.
Sweat the onions and other veggies: While I do keep the onion to a minimum, it definitely helps add flavor. So add the onion and green pepper to the pot and sauté in the oils and fats with a little bit of salt. This will help them release their juices and flavor.
Add the spices into the hot oil: Before adding any liquids into the pot, you want to briefly sauté the garlic, jalapeño, and spices in the hot oil. This enhances and intensifies the flavor.
Adjust the heat to your liking: My husband and I like our chili pretty spicy but our kids have more tender palates. So we keep the heat at a medium level. I always add the seeds from the jalapeño but you can leave them out if you want less spice. You can also leave out the cayenne. Or you can add more jalapeño and cayenne too.
Now add the liquids and the meat: Once the spices and garlic are fragrant, stir in the diced tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer before adding the meat.
Slow braise in the oven: You’re looking at a good two to three hours of cooking, but this time is completely inactive. You can be doing lots of other things during this time. Slow braising makes the meat from the short ribs fall off the bone and shred more easily.
Preheat the oven to 300F and season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper.
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the bacon fat or lard. Once hot, add half the short ribs and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and brown the remaining short ribs. Transfer to the plate.
Add the onion and pepper to the pot, sprinkle with salt, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, and cook another minute, until fragrant.
Stir in the roasted tomatoes and bone broth and bring to a simmer. Add the short ribs back into the pot, cover and transfer to the oven.
Cook 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove the ribs, shred the meat and return the meat to the pot. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite chili toppings.