4 Best Beef For Chili: What Cuts Of Beef Make Great Chili?

beef for chili

Are you looking for the best beef to use in your next chili recipe? If so, then we have just what you are seeking.

Why trust me?

I'm an experienced food writer and passionate cook. My website, Cookindocs.com, features accessible, informative, and engaging content with quality recipes and articles that are thoroughly researched and enjoyable to read. You can trust my expertise with 8 years of experience in the field. Learn more about me and my work on this website, and check out my featured articles on TastingTable, Mashed, and 5-Minute Crafts. Read more about me HERE.

Check out this post to find your favorite cut of beef that is best for making chili.

How to choose beef for chili?

Below are some tips that will help you choose the best beef for your next chili dish to enjoy with anything you want like crackers, brownies, or cornbread.

1. Ground beef and whole cuts both work

The classic kind of beef for a chili recipe is ground beef.

The reason is that ground beef is easy and quick to cook, and you can have a variety of choices no matter if it is lean or fatty.

The best ratio of meat to fat in ground beef for chili is 80:20.

Therefore, you can either use a cut with just enough fat, or use a lean cut and then add some fat trims to the mixture to add more flavor and make it juicier.

Not only does ground beef work but a steak cut can be used in a chili recipe too.

A whole cut of beef should be braised or stewed for hours to break down all the connective tissues and tenderize the meat before cooking with other starchy ingredients like beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash.

2. A tough cut with marbling fat works best

There is no need for a tender or very tender cut of beef like a tenderloin in a beef chili.

Tender cuts are often associated with a higher price, so in this case, you only need a tough cut.

A tough cut of beef is often found in the portion that the cow uses the most for working.

It often comes with some marbling fat, making it more flavorful and juicy.

When a tough cut of beef is ground, it doesn’t take a lot of time to cook it.

If you cut it into cube sizes, you will need to cook it by a slow-cooking method like stewing or braising so that the meat becomes fork-tender.

3. Buy fresh grass-fed beef if possible

Fresh beef or any ingredient always tastes better than its stale or frozen counterpart.

If you have time, just visit your local butcher to buy the freshest cut of beef for your chili recipe so that your dish will taste as delicious as possible.

Moreover, grass-fed beef is even better than regular beef.

The cattle is fed with a natural diet without any hormones and antibiotics.

Therefore, consuming this kind of meat is safer for your health.

Grass-fed beef is also more flavorful and has a tender texture, but each bite is still firm to chew.

Best beef for chili

Now, let’s figure out what cut of beef is perfect for making beef chili:

1. Beef chuck

[amazon box=”B08LLGPMQ4″]

Beef chuck is one of the primal cuts of beef.

It is taken from the top portion of the cow’s shoulder.

It has quite a bit of fat in the cut, but also has plenty of muscle-building protein.

Beef chuck is an ideal cut for slow cooking, but it can be used to be ground to make beef chili or burger.

2. Brisket

[amazon box=”B07BLYRP57″]

When it comes to beef brisket, people think of corned beef or pastrami.

This favorite cut is a classic cut for these recipes, but it turns out to be a good cut for making chili too.

Beef brisket is found in the lower chest of the animal.

It has a tough texture that needs to be cooked for hours so as to become tender and flavorful.

Beef brisket can also be sliced into cubes or ground in a chili recipe depending on your preference.

The cooking time can vary if this cut is processed in different ways.

3. Boneless short ribs

[amazon box=”B07YYLBJBD”]

Boneless beef short ribs are another choice for beef chili.

It is actually cut from the chuck section instead of the real rib cage.

Boneless short ribs are also more affordable than the bone-in versions, and the tough texture is just perfect for a slow-cooking recipe.

4. Top sirloin

[amazon box=”B0787W946Z”]

Top sirloin steak is relatively tender and juicy despite its lean texture.

Top sirloin is a versatile cut that can be used in different recipes.

If you use this cut for ground beef, it is best to add some fat trims to the mixture to make it juicier when cooked in a chili recipe.

The bottom line

We have a few different cuts of beef that would be great for making chili.

Normally, a tough cut can work in a chili recipe, either in a ground or steak form.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you will never have to worry about what cut to use in your next chili recipe.

Happy cooking!