1st Annual Chili Contest Winner: Smoky Bacon Chili

For obvious reasons (ahem, bacon) this recipe stood out from the beginning. But once I tasted it, I knew this was the winner. There was no shortage of compliments and second and third helpings from the gentleman of TeamMDUSA, either.

Huge flavor, full of beef and bacon, and pretty simple to make. Make this chili for your next football Sunday!

Congratulations are in order for Jake Baxter, the creator of this fine recipe. Jake, nice work! Your autographed shirt — a one of a kind piece of memorabilia from TeamMDUSA, will be on its way to you shortly.

Smoky Bacon Chili

Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
This award-winning smoky chili is packed with bacon and beef, and is hearty enough for any meal.


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 6 thick slices bacon (diced)
  • 1 Medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 - 14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes (optional)


Step 1
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Poke holes in your sweet potatoes with a fork. Place on rack in oven and cook for about 30 minutes until potato is soft and cooked through.
Step 2
Now pull out a large pot, add your bacon and let cook down.
Step 3
While the bacon is cooking, chop all your veggies.
Step 4
When the bacon has browned and is a bit crisp, add your veggies.
Step 5
Let cook for about 6 or so minutes, then add your ground beef and all the spices.
Step 6
Once the beef is browned, add your tomato sauce and tomatoes.
Step 7
Mix well and let all the flavors meld together while cooking on low for the next 8 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Step 8
Then split open your sweet potato, pour your chili over it, and eat.


**Recipe courtesy of Jake Baxter, winner of The Strength Agenda's Inaugural Chili Contest.

  1. Tim Schweska left a comment on October 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    You, sir, are a genius! Also, thanks to Tom & all of his teammates for sacrificing & eating all this chili to ensure we get a top-notch recipe! This chili is definitely on the list for the next Notre Dame Saturday!

    Thanks Again,


    • The Strength Agenda left a comment on October 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Indeed! Go ND…7-0 soon, baby!

  2. james Christensen left a comment on December 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    That good Sir was amazing just cooked it up for the family…it was well received by all

    • The Strength Agenda left a comment on December 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Glad you and the family loved it! It’s one of the favorites at our house, too!

  3. Lindsey left a comment on February 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    just made this and it is stunning. looking forward to eating it all week long

    • The Strength Agenda left a comment on February 10, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Glad you liked it, Lindsey!

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