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Traeger Smoked Chili

This pellet smoked chili combines three types of peppers, roasted garlic, beer braised onion, and over the top chili seasoned ground bison or ground beef. It sounds like a lot, but everything goes on the grill together for a couple hours at 250ºF before simmering together for another hour or two before serving.

Traeger smoked chili in a bowl with sour cream, cheese, pico, salsa macha, and tortilla chips

All that creates a flavor packed chili without beans or tomatoes that’s perfect for any occasion. Feed a crowd on your next game day with some smoked cornbread and your favorite chili fixin’s. Or pack up the leftovers to make smoked nachos, loaded baked potatoes, or all kinds of leftover chili creations later in the week.

Since there are quite a few moving parts in this smoker chili, I’ve included a quick video below so you can see everything in action. If you still have a question, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

You’ll find a full recipe card to print or save below. I always appreciate your feedback. If you make and enjoy my chili on the smoker, I’d love to hear about it in a recipe review!

And before you get cooking, I always like to highlight similar recipes for you to bookmark. In this case, you could pick up some extra ground bison to make my smoked bison burgers or poblano peppers for my smoked stuffed peppers or a chuck roast for smoked tacos since you’ll have plenty of taco fixin’s on hand. If you like the over the top style of cooking the bison, check out my over the top smoked queso.

Traeger smoked chili in a bowl with sour cream, cheese, pico, salsa macha, and tortilla chips

Traeger Smoked Chili

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

A no-tomato, no-bean chili with smoked peppers, smoker roasted garlic, and beer braised onions with chili seasoned meat smoked over the top.


For Smoking

  • 2 pounds Lean Ground Bison or Ground Beef (90/10)
  • 2 packets Chili Seasoning
  • 12 oz Mexican Beer (or beef broth)
  • 2 Onions, peeled and quartered
  • 4 Poblano or Green Bell Peppers
  • 2 large Jalapeño Peppers
  • 4 Fresno Peppers
  • 1 bulb Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

For Simmering

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce or Your Choice of Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


Smoking the Meat and Veggies

  1. Preheat your smoker to 250ºF with the lid closed.
  2. Pat the ground bison or beef dry with a paper towel and season all over with the chili seasoning in a deep grill pan or Dutch oven. Transfer to a wire rack. Place the quartered onions and beer in the same pan and place the wire rack with the meat over the pan.
  3. Use a knife to slice off the top of the bulb of garlic. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the cut side and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Tightly wrap in foil.
  4. Place the wrapped garlic, whole peppers, and pan topped with the meat on the smoker. Cook for 2 hours. (There's no need to worry about internal temperature of the meat since you will fully cook the meat after smoking in a pot over a burner.)

Bringing the Chili Together

  1. After 2 hours, set the wire rack with the meat aside while you slice the peppers open and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes. Add to a food processor or blender.
  2. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the bulb (they should be soft and golden brown) into the food processor with the peppers.
  3. Add the onions and remaining beer to the food processor and blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the meat and break it apart to fully cook before adding the blended peppers, onions, and garlic.
  5. Add 4 cups of beef broth and bring to a boil before reducing to a low heat, covering, and simmering for at least an hour before serving. (For an extra smoky chili, you can simmer on the smoker uncovered at 250ºF, adding broth as needed.)
  6. Before serving the chili, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce or vinegar along with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, pico de gallo or salsa macha, and diced avocado, if desired.


I used a Traeger Pro 575 with pro blend pellets (blend of oak, hickory, and cherry) for recipe testing.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you want to add beans to this smoked chili, you can add 1-2 cans of beans (I typically use undrained) before adding the broth in step 5. You won't need as much broth.

You can also add crushed tomatoes during step 5 if you like tomato-based chili.

For a milder chili, use more poblano or bell pepper instead of jalapeño or Fresno peppers. Or for a spicier chili, add more jalapeño or a hotter pepper like serrano or habanero.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 29g

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