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Low Carb Spicy, Smoky Chili (Gluten, Sugar & Grain Free)

A friend of mine posted a photo of some low carb chili she made following this recipe from Peace, Love and Low Carb. Being the tinkerer that I am, I decided to meddle with the recipe and put my own spin on it. After all, it’s chili. Everyone has their own way of making it, right?

My chili is usually ever-so-slightly sweet, a little spicy and all kinds of smoky. The smokiness really makes the recipe for me. This awesome chili has many layers of flavors, including lots of smoky additives such as cumin, bacon and bacon fat. Bacon fat in chili, you ask? You have to try it. You won’t go back– I swear!

I drained and rinsed the ground sirloin prior to adding the garlic because I wanted the smoky flavor of the bacon to really shine. You only need to add a little bit of bacon fat to make a ton of difference in the pot of chili.

Another secret? Don’t throw your celery leaves away. The leaves contain a ton of fresh flavor. Chop them right along with the celery ribs and add them right into the chili. Super yummy!

One more thing: I added one cup of dark red kidney beans to the recipe. I’m personally not a bean fan, but adding a small amount of beans helps with authenticity if that’s your thing. Also, my family members like beans, so adding a few to appease them didn’t hurt. 🙂 If you really like beans, you could add more. One cup, though, still keeps the recipe relatively low in carbohydrates. It is completely up to you whether you want to add them or not. Adding such a small amount makes them easy to pick out, which is what I did.

Also, if you like a thicker chili, leave the lid off the Crock Pot while you leave it on high heat for about 30 minutes before you serve it. This will let a lot of the liquid steam off and will result in a thicker chili. 

Low Carb Spicy, Smoky Chili


  • 1 lb. grass-fed organic ground beef (or pastured ground turkey)
  • 4 cups organic diced tomatoes (about four medium tomatoes)
  • 1 large can organic fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen)
  • 1 cup organic beef broth
  • 2 strips crispy cooked nitrate-free bacon, chopped
  • 1 T rendered nitrate-free bacon fat
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Two ribs of celery including the leaves, finely chopped (leaves add flavor– use them!)
  • 2T organic chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 T crushed red pepper (or more, if you like it extra spicy)
  • 2 T finely chopped garlic (about 2 – 3 cloves; may substitute 2 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 T brown sugar substitute (I used Ideal Brown– could substitute 1/2 T blackstrap molasses)
  • Optional: 1 cup rinsed dark red kidney beans (adds 26 g net carbs to the entire recipe or 4.5 net carbs per serving)
  • Freshly grated parmesan or cheddar cheese, chives, celery leaves, sour cream, bacon bits, etc. (for topping)
  1. In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic together and crumble it. Set aside.
  2. In your Crock Pot, dump the diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, beef broth, bacon, bacon fat, green pepper, onion and celery, and mix a bit.
  3. Add in the beef mixture, beans (if you’re using them) and the rest of the ingredients (minus the toppings) and stir gently.
  4. Leave the Crock Pot on a low setting for 4-5 hours, or on the high setting for 2-3 hours.
  5. Serve and top with sour cream, cheese, chives, etc. to your liking. Refrigerate leftover chili promptly.

Makes 6 large servings.
Nutrition per serving (with beans and lean ground sirloin):240 calories, 24 g protein, 12 g carbs, 3 g fiber (9g net carbs), 10g fat
Nutrition per serving (without beans and lean ground sirloin): 200 calories, 21g protein, 7g carbs, 1.5g fiber (5.5g net carbs), 9g fat

Need Ingredients for That Recipe?


It takes a lot of trial and error to find the "right" fit for a low carb recipe. I have made some ... different low carb desserts. You don't need to go through that! I made a list of my favorite ingredients as well as what stores you can find them at. Enjoy!

About the author

Leeann Teagno

Eating healthy, for me, is about more than weight loss like it used to be. It’s about controlling my blood sugar levels and obtaining normal–or relatively normal–hormone levels. I still struggle to lose weight efficiently, but eating a wheat, sugar and gluten free diet helps to control some of the problems I’ve encountered with these health issues of mine.

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