Chili is very customizable. Feel free to bend the recipe to your tastes. At the end you will find instructions for modifying the recipe for the dehydrator should you want to take some on a hiking, camping or backpacking trip.

  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 28 oz. stock (omit to dehydrate)*
  • 3 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 Tbs. chili powder, divided
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce (6 oz. tomato paste to dehydrate)*
  • 4 poblano peppers, diced small
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • Juice of one lime (omit to dehydrate)*
  • Salt to taste

Brown the meat in the oil or butter. Add onion and green pepper; add enough broth to cover it. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes.

Add 1 Tbs. cumin and the oregano. Lower the heat and add the garlic, half the chili powder, tomato sauce, poblano peppers, and the rest of the broth. Simmer at least one hour on low, stirring often.

Add the remaining chili powder and cumin. Simmer another 30 minutes. Add the hot sauce and lime juice; salt to taste. Simmer until the chili is reduced to the desired thickness.

*Directions if you intend to dehydrate chili

Smaller chunks make for better re-hydration. If you add too much water when re-hydrating, just cook it a little longer and some of the water will evaporate.

Brown meat in the oil or butter, being sure to break it into the smallest chunks possible. Smaller chunks make for better re-hydration. Add the onion and green pepper, omit broth. Cook until the vegetables being to soften.

Add 1 Tbs. cumin and the oregano. Lower the heat. Add garlic, half of the chili powder, poblano peppers and a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, not sauce. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Add remaining chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, salt to taste. The chili should be very thick, but still have enough moisture to be able to absorb the spices. If you need to add liquid, use some tomato sauce and add it slowly. The more moisture in the chili, the longer it takes to dehydrate. Cook for another 30 minutes, until all the flavors are incorporated.

If you have trays for your dehydrator that hold liquid, spread a thin layer (no thicker than 1/4″) on each tray. If you have a grate, you can cut parchment paper to put on top of the grate. As long as your chili is thick, it won’t soak through. Dehydration times vary by model, but once the sheets of chili are pretty dry, you can break them up into small pieces and redistribute. That will speed up the final drying time.

Depending on your tray size, you can get 1 to 1.5 servings from each tray. Measure dried chili into vacuum-sealer bags for optimal storage. Re-hydrate with about a 1:1 ratio of water to dried chili in the plastic bag and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, agitating it now and then to help mix it up. It’s better to add a little too much water than not enough; you can always cook off the excess water. Cook over a fire or your camp stove, stirring often.