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Three kinds of dried chiles add just the right amount of smoky heat when you cook this best beef chili recipe, and three cuts of beef deliver robust flavor. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.
- 4–5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into ½” pieces
- ½ pound boneless beef short ribs, cut into ½” pieces
- ½ pound brisket, cut into ½” pieces
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
- Sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips (for serving)
Toast guajillo, ancho, and pasilla chiles in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing chiles to help them make contact with the pan, until darkened in color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; discard seeds and stems. Working in batches if needed, purée chiles and 4 cups broth in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.
While chiles are soaking, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chuck, short ribs, and brisket with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until liquid accumulated in pot has evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Transfer beef to a plate.
Add 1 Tbsp. oil to pot, then onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, 6–8 minutes. Onion juices should help loosen any bits of beef stuck to bottom of pot, but if surface looks too brown, add a splash of water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Add cumin, oregano, and chipotle, if using, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Return beef to pot and add lager. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chile purée, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and meat is very tender, 1–1¼ hours, adding more broth if needed to keep meat submerged. Serve chili topped with sour cream, cheddar, red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips.
Do Ahead: Chili can be made up to 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently over low heat, adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed.