Georgia Chain Gang Chili



Now What?

     When you find yourself lying on a bunk in the big house, and the only appointment you have scheduled in the next 20 years (to life) is with the Georgia Department of Corrections, you realize you’re going to have lots of free time on your hands. So, what’s the plan?


     You can volunteer to work in the kitchen and hone your culinary skills. I don’t know if this is Hy Abernathy’s story or not, but given the name of this chili, I’m sure it must have chain-gang roots – and this scenario does sound plausible.

Load Up On Protein. Crank Up The Heat. Turn Off The Gas.

     There’s lots of protein in the aforementioned chili – there’s beef, chicken and pork. This is good, because this goes hand in hand with your body building program (which is probably a good idea).

     The chili is hot. But not to the point of absurdity; however, it’ll make you sweat a bit.

     You’ll also notice there are no beans in this chili. This is because conditions in here are bad enough without adding to the deplorableness of your present situation. You just simply want the time to pass, and nothing else.

Chained To Your Stove

     I know this involves a lot of ingredients, and the cooking involves many steps. Also, the cooking time can be as little as four hours, but the preferred cooking time is two- to three-days, but hey, you’ve no place to go.

     There are several ingredients that are unique to most chili recipes. You’ll end up with a chili that’s very complex.

Note: This recipe was taken from a cookbook by Jane Butel entitled Chili Madness.


Hy Abernathy's Georgia Chain-gang Chili

yields: 20 bowls prep time: 60 Minutes cook time: 4 Hours to 3 Days
Share this recipe:


1 cup 1/2 tsp 2 4 1/2 tsp 3 lbs. 3 lbs 2 large Water Salt 2 Tbsp 2 medium 2 1/2 lbs 4 Tbsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1/2 tsp Dash 1 1/2 cups 16 oz. 8 oz. 4 oz. can 4 oz. can 2 Tbsp 1 1/2 Tbsp 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 12 oz.
Burgundy wine dry Thyme dried Bay leaves Garlic cloves finely chopped Pepper freshly ground Beef (stew meat cut up into small pieces) Beef hamburger extra lean ground Chicken breasts, skinned and boned cut into small pieces As needed As per taste EVOO Onions coursely chopped Pork sausage ground *Chili powder *Cayenne pepper Oregano (Mexican preferred) dried Cumin ground Rosemary Tomatoes Italian-style crushed Tomato sauce *Mexican picante (mild) *Chilis mild green chilis seeded and chopped *Jalapeno peppers pickled finely chopped *Pepper sauce hot liquid Beef demi-glace Chocolate dark grated (baking) Butter Mushrooms portabella fresh chopped Sauterne (or any sweet wine) Beer dark
  • 1 cup
    Burgundy wine dry
  • 1/2 tsp
    Thyme dried
  • 2
    Bay leaves
  • 4
    Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp
    Pepper freshly ground
  • 3 lbs.
    Beef (stew meat cut up into small pieces)
  • 3 lbs
    Beef hamburger extra lean ground
  • 2 large
    Chicken breasts, skinned and boned cut into small pieces
  • Water
    As needed
  • Salt
    As per taste
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 2 medium
    Onions coursely chopped
  • 2 1/2 lbs
    Pork sausage ground
  • 4 Tbsp
    *Chili powder
  • 1 tsp
    *Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp
    Oregano (Mexican preferred) dried
  • 1/2 tsp
    Cumin ground
  • Dash
  • 1 1/2 cups
    Tomatoes Italian-style crushed
  • 16 oz.
    Tomato sauce
  • 8 oz.
    *Mexican picante (mild)
  • 4 oz. can
    *Chilis mild green chilis seeded and chopped
  • 4 oz. can
    *Jalapeno peppers pickled finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp
    *Pepper sauce hot liquid
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    Beef demi-glace
  • 1 Tbsp
    Chocolate dark grated (baking)
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 cup
    Mushrooms portabella fresh chopped
  • 1/2 cup
    Sauterne (or any sweet wine)
  • 12 oz.
    Beer dark



If you want to adjust the amount of heat in this recipe, pay close attention to all ingredients designated with a (*).

Don’t hurry the preparation. I recommend the 2-3 day approach so the beef absorbs the marinade.

Time: 60 Minutes

  1. Make a marinade in a large glass bowl by combining the Burgundy, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper. Place beef in the bowl and mix lightly to coat the meat well. Cover and refrigerate over night. If time is short, marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.

  2. Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Add 1 tsp salt and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken reserving the liquid. Chop the chicken breasts  and reserve.

  3. Melt the oil in a large heavy pot. Note: A full recipe totals 6 1/2 qts, so I would use a container that is at least 7 1/2 quarts. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.

  4. Meanwhile, drain the beef, straining and reserving the marinade. Mix the beef and pork together, then combine the meats with the ground chili, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, rosemary, and the rest of the salt. Add this meat-and-spice mixture to the pot with the onions. Break up any limps with a fork and cook stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned.

  5. Add half the marinade, the reserved chicken, tomatoes, both tomato sauces, jalapenos, and 1 Tbsp of liquid hot pepper sauce to the pot.

  6. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh chilis, mushrooms, and a small amount of Sauterne and cook for 3 minutes. Add this to the pot.

  7. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for at least 3 hours. While the chili is cooking, from time to time stir in the remaining marinade, the remaining Sauterne (sweet wine), and beer. If more liquid is needed, stir in the water the chicken was cooked in. If even more liquid is needed, I would add beef broth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

I would taste this before adding cheese, sour cream, or anything else. This is good enough to stand on its own. I add nothing extra to my bowl.

Serve this proudly. And if per chance you are in prison and cooking up a batch, be sure the warden gets a bowl. It could work in your favor.

No Comments

Post a Comment