Chili colorado with beef cheeks

We were challenged because we were sent a box with some beautiful dried peppers. When we asked on Instagram what we could do with this, someone came up with the idea to make chili colorado with them.
We did some research and found out that it looked really great. What’s not to like about beef stewed in a dark red chili sauce. This had to be tasty.

Chili colorado is not chili from the state of Colorado, but colorado represents the red color of this dish. You can use chili powder, but with dried peppers, you get a much fuller taste. We used the Ancho, Guajillo and Pasilla peppers. Not exactly the hottest peppers in the box, but that was not the intention. We went for a spicy full chili flavor where you can still taste everything.

Most chili colorado recipes use chuck. That’s beef neck and great pot roast. However, we still had a few beautiful beef cheeks in the freezer, and we love that. Beef cheek is a much used piece of muscle with a lot of connective tissue. That is why it is a tough piece of meat. But with the right preparation, you can cut it with a spoon, and it tastes great.

All we do in preparation is to remove the outer membranes. Then we sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper, and we start lighting the kamado.

This time we use the SloRoller in our Kamado Joe Classic 3. The SloRoller ensures that the heat and smoke circulate through the kettle. This gives you a better heat distribution and an even cooking. Because we are going to make red chili, we use cherry wood to smoke the beef cheeks. Cherry wood not only provides a delicious mild smoky flavor, but also a beautiful dark reddish-brown color.

We place a homemade aluminum foil dish on the lid of the SloRoller to catch the drops that come off the meat. This way we keep the SloRoller clean and you don’t get any bad smells in the backyard and the meat.

Next to the beef cheeks, we put a bulb of garlic for smoking. You cut the head of a whole sphere. You pour a little olive oil over it and then put the bulb in a bed of aluminum foil. This way you can leave the bulb in a good position.

After an hour or two, the beef cheeks have seen enough smoke and the cloves in the garlic bulb have softened. We use 3 cloves for this recipe. Keep the rest of the garlic well packed in the refrigerator. You will enjoy that a lot for the rest of the week.

You can season mayonnaise with it. Or you throw it in the pasta sauce or through the gravy. Greek yogurt, 3 cloves of smoked garlic and grated cucumber is a really easy tzatziki. We even know people who eat them like that. But they are already dating.

These are the dried chilies we use for this recipe. They are not the hottest, but we still remove the seeds and seeds before processing them further. Better try carefully the first time before we can use a whole pan of chili as a paint stripper.

When you start working with the peppers, we recommend that you wear at least 1 glove. So it goes to the hand with which you hold the peppers.

The peppers are dry and hard as expected, so they have to be softened again. First of all, we briefly roast them in a warm Dutch oven. During the roasting, delicious scents are released that can hit the respiratory tract. So it is better that you take this step outside.

Then the rest of the ingredients are added. This will let you simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour. At this point, you can no longer deny to the neighbors that you are cooking. This smells so great. When the peppers have become completely soft, you are basically done.

The sauce goes through the blender until you have a smooth sauce. We recommend that you keep a part separate. Just to use elsewhere in the future. This sauce is really delicious. We were also happy that we had saved something because the pot fell next to the Dutch oven, so that half ended up in and on the barbecue. The color went well with it, but it was not intended.

This is the reason that this chili is called colorado. The meat has turned a dark red color due to the sauce. The beef cheeks have also become wonderfully soft. We serve this chili with white rice and nachos. This way you can temper the heat a bit because this chili is wonderfully spicy. Not so hot that you don’t taste anything anymore, but too spicy for people who are not used to it.


  • 1 kilo of beef cheeks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 dried Anco chilli
  • 1 dried Guajillo chillie
  • 1 dried Pasilla chillie
  • 2 white onions, cut into small cubes
  • 1 can of peeled tomatoes
  • Half a litre of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 cloves of garlic


  1. Remove the loose pieces of meat and pericarp from the beef cheeks and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Cut the head off a garlic bulb and pour a little olive oil over it.
  3. Smoke the beef cheeks and garlic for 2 hours at 150 ° C with cherry wood until the meat has absorbed enough smoke and has a reddish-brown colour.
  4. Remove the seeds and seed lists from the dried chillies and roast them briefly in a dry pan, turning them frequently to avoid burning. Then take them out of the pan.
  5. Add a little olive oil to the pan and fry the onions in it. Then the peeled tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin, smoked garlic and dried chillies can be added.
  6. Let this simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour until the peppers have softened. Then remove the pan from the heat and puree the sauce in a blender.
  7. Cut the beef cheeks into 2 cm cubes and put them in the pan. Pour in the chilli sauce and let it cook for 2 hours with the lid closed until the beef cheeks are tender enough.

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