Warm up the crowd at this year’s playoff tailgate

Published 12:27 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

Tailgating at the big game is a time-honored and beloved tradition for millions of football fans. Tailgates tend to be parties in parking lots, and no party is complete without food.

The best teams in the National Football League will battle it out on the gridiron in their quest for a championship this January and February. Despite chilly temperatures, fans of those teams will undoubtedly be tailgating outside the stadium before and after the games. A hearty dish that sticks to the ribs can make it easier to withstand winter weather at this year’s playoff tailgate. This recipe for “Brisket Chili” from Will Budiaman’s “The Essential Kamado Grill Cookbook” (Rockridge Press) can be just what football fans need to stay warm at this year’s tailgate. Better yet, it makes excellent use of leftover Texas-style beef brisket, giving football fans a great reason to smoke some brisket in the days before the big game.


Brisket Chili

Serves 8


3          tablespoons vegetable oil

1          tablespoon cumin seeds

1          medium yellow onion, chopped

Kosher salt

1          tablespoon tomato paste

2          teaspoons cayenne pepper

1          28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2          15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1          pound Texas-style beef brisket (see below), chopped


  1. Bring the grill to 500 F with the cooking grate installed, then preheat a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven on the grate with the lid closed.
  2. Pour the oil into the Dutch oven and close the grill lid. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for about 15 seconds or until they start to pop.
  3. Add the onion and stir until coated with the oil. Close the grill lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened and browned.
  4. Season with salt. Stir in the tomato paste. Close the grill lid and cook for 1 minute or until bright red.
  5. Stir in the cayenne, tomatoes with their juices, and beans. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
  6. Wearing barbecue gloves, carefully remove the grate, install the heat deflector, and replace the grate. Reduce the grill temperature to 350 F.
  7. Put the Dutch oven back on the grate. Close the grill lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour or until thickened. Serve immediately.


Texas-Style Beef Brisket

Serves 6 to 8


1          8- to 10-pound beef brisket

3          tablespoons kosher salt

3          tablespoons freshly ground black pepper


  1. Trim off any hard fat from the brisket and square off the edges. Trim the fat cap down to an even 1⁄4-inch thickness. Sprinkle evenly on all sides with the salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Prepare the grill for smoking at 250 F to 275 F.
  3. Place the brisket fat-side up on the grate over the drip pan. Close the lid. If desired, wrap in aluminum foil after 5 to 6 hours or once the bark (crust) is dark brown.
  4. Turn over the brisket, close the lid, and continue cooking for 2 hours, 30 minutes to 3 hours, 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200 F.
  5. Rest the brisket, wrapped in foil, for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Cut across the grain into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. Pour over as much of the drippings from the pan as you like, and serve.