Royal Q Pit Crew Recipe

The Royal Q Pit Crew, winners of the Reading 2012 and Upton Cheyney events have kindly supplied the winning recipe concept below to give you an idea of what went in to their winning recipe. There are no quantities, but ingredients and methods. They've included some supplementary text regarding some of the specialist ingredients, ie where to get them from and why they are chosen so specifically.

While it's fair to say that the Royal Q Pit Crew really went the extra mile to win, any prospective competitors for future cook-offs shouldn't feel overwhelmed by this recipe, especially the methodolgy. The teams that came 2nd and 3rd were 1 and 2 points behind the winner respectively and they just used one gas ring a piece! But hearty congratulations to the Royal Q Pit Crew!! Deserved champions of the 2012 Reading and Upton Cheyney Chilli Cook-offs!!


1. Minced beef (70% minced chuck, 30% minced ox cheek for added richness)
2. Belly pork slices
3. Texas hot link sausage (find big wheel's recipe on the web) or supermarket chorizo-style bangers will do.
2. Tinned tomatoes
3. Tomato puree
4. Umami paste (or anchovies blitzed up will do)
5. Celery
6. Green bell pepper
7. White onion
8. Garlic
9. Fresh Habanero (or scotch bonnet) chilli
10. Chipotle chilli powder*
11. Pasilla chilli powder*
12. Mexican Cinnamon stick*
13. Mexican oregano**
14. Freshly ground cumin
15. Fresh thyme
16. Noble Sweet (or Hungarian) Paprika***
17. Light brown sugar
18. Cocoa powder
19. Fresh lime
20. Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
21. 1x fist sized chunk of hickory
22. Vegetable oil
23. Butter
24. Chicken stock cube (or concentrated homemade jelly cube)
25. Beef stock cube (or concentrated homemade jelly cube)
26. Kidney beans (ready cooked)
27. Black beans (ready cooked)
28. Optional cayenne pepper.

*Chipotle chilli powder can now be found in some supermarkets however we buy all of our dried chillis and powders from as we've found them to be excellent and they have the varieties we look for. The same supplier also has mexican cinnamon which is strong and robust but we have found jumbo cinnamon sticks in some supermarkets that are just as good.

**Mexican oregano is much more pungent than its European counterparts. It can be found in specialist shops and we've seen it in several farm shops.

***I can't stress how important this ingredient is. All paprika is not created equal!! Noble sweet paprika is basically spanish grown Hungarian paprika, hence the name change. This is different in both taste and colour to spanish paprika, it's sweet and has a beautiful rich red hue. I'm not saying its better than good Spanish sweet paprika but it's different and it's what I use for both chilli and BBQ rubs now. Unfortunately its not that easy to get hold of, I buy from



1. Non-reactive stock pot that will fit in your BBQ.
2. Hob to start your chilli off on.
3. A BBQ with a lid that's capable of cooking indirectly. It can be done on a kettle BBQ but we recommend use of a bullet smoker such as WSM. If this is all greek to you, pay a visit to where there is a mass of BBQ information available.


Needs to be done by eye, by taste and by judgement. There's lots of robust and bold flavours in here so don't be afraid to have a go with the ingredients, it's easy to rebalance things if one ingredient gets out of hand.

1. Set your BBQ up for indirect cooking and bring up to 250F
2. Bring your stock pot to a medium temperature with a little oil, thyme and butter in.
3. Dice your celery, onion and green pepper then gently soften for about 10 mins in your pot.
4. Finely chop and add garlic and habanero chilli and cook for 3-4 mins.
5. Turn up heat slightly and add minced beef, cook through until just brown.
6. Add cumin, cocoa powder, paprika, chipotle and pasilla and stir through.
7. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, umami paste, cinnamon stick and both stocks.
8. Stir through then add water until you reach the right consisitency, you want it a little watery.
9. At this point look at the colour and use a bit more paprika if you want to redden it some more. The flavour is subtle, don't be afraid to add more. When you're happy, chuck in your beans, bang the lid on and keep it on a low heat.
10. Rub your belly pork lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
11. Transfer your stock pot to your bbq (removing the lid) and place your sausage and belly pork on a grill above it. Close up your BBQ and add the hickory to the fire.
12. Don't open the smoker for 2 hours.
13. At the two hour mark, remove the sausage and belly pork.
14. Chop the sausage into chunks and add back to the chilli along with some mexican oregano. Leave the smoker for another 1.5 hours.
15. Finely chop the belly pork and leave to one side for now.
16. Now it's business time, remove your chilli from the BBQ and return to the hob on a low heat.
17. Start frying your chopped belly pork in butter on a medium heat, you want to get it all golden brown, caramelised and lovely. Feel free to add a sprinkle of sugar to it.
18. Season your chill liberally, stir and taste. You might find you want to sweeten it, if so add a little sugar. Make sure you add plenty of black pepper here as that is going to lift the flavour.
19. If there's not enough heat there, add a little cayenne or more chipotle powder if you want to also increase smokiness. If the colour is wrong, hit it with some more paprika. Too thick, add a little water, you get the point, just refine it until you're happy. You want to get something that's well seasoned, the right heat and just damned nice at this point.
20. Now the killer finish, squeeze fresh lime juice in and stir, do this half a lime at a time, tasting after each addition. When you get it right the whole chilli will just lift to another level. Now you're good!
21. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle your smoked, fried, caramelised belly pork pieces on top.
22. Serve with soured cream on the side if you wish or some mature cheddar, whatever you like really.

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