Smoked Chicken Chili Recipe

bowl of smoked chicken chili with pot of chili

This smoked chicken chili could really be called smoked poultry chili because using leftover Thanksgiving turkey works really well also. Smoked white chicken chili is actually one of my favorite ways to use leftover turkey.

You can absolutely grab a store bought rotisserie chicken for this recipe, it’s cheap and easy for sure. That said, this is an excellent way to make use of any leftover smoked or grilled chicken or oven roasted chicken.

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smoked chicken chili in a dutch oven

How Can You Thicken White Chicken Chili?

There are a number of ways to thicken smoked white chicken chili. I like to use the cornstarch slurry method described in the recipe below.

You could also start with a flour and butter roux, after you cook down the sausage. This works well, but I get better results from the cornstarch slurry. 

dutch oven with white chicken chili

Beyond that, adding one half cup of yellow corn polenta to the chili while it simmers will thicken it quite a bit. I really enjoy the texture the polenta adds.

Finally, you can ladle out 2 cups of the chili (heavy on the beans, and before adding the meat) and place it in a blender. Puree the chili in the blender, and then add it back to the pot. This requires a bit of effort, but the pureed beans will thicken the chili.

bowl of smoked white chicken chili

Do You Simmer Chili With Lid On or Off?

Of course the lid will be off for this smoked chicken chili recipe in order to get the smoke into the chili. That said, even if you’re doing this recipe on the stovetop, I still recommend simmering with the lid off. 

Doing so allows the chili to reduce down slightly and helps to concentrate the flavors and thicken the chili.

close up of a ducth oven filled with smoked white chicken chili

Optional Ingredients For Smoked Chicken Chili

Cream Cheese: Adds a smooth texture to the chili. For this recipe I recommend adding eight ounces of cream cheese.
Rotel: Adding a can of original or chipotle Rotel is a fun way to change up the recipe just slightly.
Diced Green Chilis: If you’re not a fan of the heat from the jalapeno, substitute them with two cans (14 ounces) of diced green chilis. They aren’t hot at all, and provide a nice mellow flavor.

How To Make Smoked Chicken Chili

Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 50 mins

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb hot or mild sausage
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, diced and seeded
1 medium red bell pepper, diced and seeded
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock 
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp white pepper
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1 15 ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn 
2 tsp soy sauce
1.5 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch 
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced or shredded
Kosher salt to taste

Step 1: Light your grill or smoker and set up for two zone cooking, establishing the temperature at 325°F as indicated by a reliable leave-in thermometer. Add one pecan wood chunk to the hot coals. 

Step 2: While the grill is preheating, heat the oil in a large cast-iron dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook and chop the sausage into crumbles, then remove the sausage from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the pan. 

Step 3: Sauté the onion, jalapeno and red pepper in the sausage drippings until soft, (about five minutes) then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30-60 seconds). Remove from heat. 

chili ingredients in a dutch oven

Tip* If you like a little extra heat, try adding the jalapeno with the seeds.

Step 4: Add the sausage back in, along with the chicken stock, three tablespoons of cilantro, cumin, oregano, white pepper, white beans, corn and soy sauce. Stir well and place on the grill over indirect heat. Close the grill lid and allow the chili to smoke for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. 

chicken chili before cream has been added

Step 5: While the chili is smoking, whisk together ¼ cup of the heavy cream with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Then, whisk in the slurry and remaining heavy cream to thicken the chili slightly. Add in the diced or shredded chicken (or turkey).

Step 6: Close the grill lid and allow to smoke for an additional ten minutes.

Step 7: Stir chili and remove from the grill. Season with salt to taste and serve warm and top with sour cream, and remaining cilantro.

stirring a pot of smoked chicken chili

Optional avocado and chips are a great addition to this smoked chicken chili recipe.

pot of smoked chicken chili

Smoked Chicken Chili

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground sausage hot or mild
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 15 oz cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz navy beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups cooked chicken or turkey diced or shredded
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  • Light your grill or smoker and set up for two zone cooking, establishing the temperature at 325°F as indicated by a reliable leave-in thermometer. Add one pecan wood chunk to the hot coals.
  • While the grill is preheating, heat the oil in a large cast-iron dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook and chop the sausage into crumbles, then remove the sausage from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon of the drippings in the pan.
  • Sauté the onion, jalapeno and red pepper in the sausage drippings until soft, (about five minutes) then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30-60 seconds). Remove from heat.
  • Add the sausage back in, along with the chicken stock, three tablespoons of cilantro, cumin, oregano, white pepper, white beans, corn and soy sauce. Stir well and place on the grill over indirect heat. Close the grill lid and allow the chili to smoke for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.
  • While chili is smoking, whisk together ¼ cup of the heavy cream with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Then, whisk in the slurry and remaining heavy cream to thicken the chili slightly.
  • Add in the diced or shredded chicken (or turkey). Close the grill lid and allow to smoke for an additional ten minutes.
  • Remove from the grill and season with salt to taste. Serve warm and top with sour cream, and remaining cilantro.

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