This recipe, created by international chili champion Jerry Buma, is his version of the perfect “home chili,” with just the right amount of spicy. Competition chili “isn't something anyone would want to eat,” he explains. It's made just for tasting, not to eat by the bowlful. (Besides, he'd never give out his prize-winning secret recipe.)
In a large (7-quart) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, cook ground beef, breaking it up with a potato masher until it's fully cooked. Then drain and discard most of the rendered fat. In a separate medium-size saute pan over medium heat, add oil and cook red pepper, onion, garlic, and chiles just until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cooked vegetable mixture, beef stock, spices, sugar, and diced tomatoes to the big pot and simmer 1 hour. Add tomato paste; stir well and cook another half-hour, stirring occasionally. If you're using beans, stir them in 10 minutes before serving.