Smokin’ Scovilles Turkey Chili

73317This is an absolutely delicious chili recipe that I found on the internet some years back and continue to make because, man, it’s great.  It uses ground turkey, which makes it lower in fat and less greasy than beef-based chili. But what really makes this chili special is its complex taste: a combination of traditional Mexican spices combine with sweetness (from cocoa and worcestershire sauce), smoke (from smoked chipotle peppers), and tanginess (from beer)  to create a truly interesting mix of flavors . It  also has (for most folks) just the right amount of heat: a discernable bite, like a good chili should, but not so much that it overwhelms or detracts from the rich flavors.

The recipe below is close to the original that I found on the internet, with only a few changes (such as the substitution of smoked chipotle peppers for smoke sauce). If you want to read the original recipe, it’s here.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Baking Time: 60 minutes
  • Servings: Makes 1 gallon of chili, or about 12 servings


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 (1 ounce) envelopes instant hot chocolate mix
  • 4 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8 oz can smoked chipotle peppers
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 8 oz  beer
  • 1 cup canned whole kernel corn (I prefer white corn)


  1. Dice the green peppers and onions. Mince the garlic and habanero.
  2. Measure out all of the dry spices and herbs (chili powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, oregano, pepper, hot cocoa mix and seasoned salt) into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, green peppers and habanero pepper; cook and stir until the onion is transparent. Push these to one side of the pot, and crumble in the ground turkey. Cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is no longer pink. Stir everything together so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the spice/herb mix. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Dice the chipotle peppers and add them along with the sauce from the can. Crack open a beer, and pour in about 2/3. Drink or discard the rest. Partially cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Mix in the corn, and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Preparation/Cooking Notes

  • Like any chili, you can continue to cook this over low heat for a much longer time if you prefer.
  • You can substitute regular salt for the seasoned salt and probably won’t notice the difference.

Recipe Variations

The first time you make it, I recommend sticking to the recipe to experience that result. After that you can try varying it, including turning the heat up or down to your taste. Try more or different types of beans.

 Serving Notes

A great dish almost anytime, by itself or served with nachos, over rice, or with French bread.  If it’s a little too hot, try topping with grated cheese or sour cream (also note that the heat tends to recede after the first day.) Makes great tacos and burritos. Freezes and keeps very well.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.