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Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 4 hours 
SERVES 8 – 12

The year was 1968. Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, was at a crossroads. His career had stalled and his personal demons had taken their toll. To guarantee a full house, Mr Cash decided his next concert would be to an audience who absolutely had to attend.

The inmates of Folsom State Prison.

It might have been the shanks, but as he stepped onto that stage a fire ignited within him. He poured his heart and soul into his music, connecting with the prisoners in a way few artists ever could. That performance became a turning point, launching him back into the spotlight and cementing his status as a legend.

And what did Johnny Cash do after that iconic concert?

He sat down with June Carter and shared a bowl of Old Iron Pot Chili. This recipe, a family recipe passed down through generations, is the same one that warmed Cash's body and spirit on that fateful day.

With its rich blend of spices, smoky heat, and a touch of sweetness, this recipe embodies the man himself.



1.2 kg chuck steak, chopped into large bite size hunks*
300g smoky bacon, chopped roughly
3 T olive oil 
1 large onion, sliced
1 bulb garlic, minced
2 red peppers, sliced into medium strips
2 green peppers, sliced into medium strips 
4 T cumin seeds
1 T oregano, dried 
2 T chilli powder   - start with less if you are cautious and add more to taste
2 T chipotle powder  
1 T smoked paprika 
1 t sage, dried
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder 
1 T salt 
1 t black pepper 
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tins black beans, drained
1 tin kidney beans, drained
1 small tin LA Morena chipotle peppers, plus juice, chopped roughly OR 1 – 2 T pickled jalapeño peppers sliced roughly. 
3 T brown sugar
1 can beer

*Johnny Cash made this chili with sirloin, but it’s super expensive so use chuck steak instead. It’s also known as gravy beef or braising steak and is the perfect cut for this dish. It might seem like an overwhelming number of ingredients, but the method is super simple and it’s VERY delicious! 


Preheat oven to 140 °C. 

Heat your Old Dutch Pot to smoking hot. Drizzle in the olive oil and sear meat on high in four batches. You want to just brown the meat very quickly on a couple of sides, not cook through. 

Move seared meat to the lid of the Old Dutch in batches as you go.  

Finally fry bacon till a little brown and crunchy and add to the rest of the meat. 

Lower heat to medium, add onions, garlic and fresh peppers to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the cumin seeds and oregano and fry for a further minute stirring all the time.  

Add all the remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat. Have a taste. Is it hot enough for you and your families taste buds? Sweet enough? Salty enough. Make any adjustments now. 

Return the steak and bacon to the pot, mix well and bring to a simmer. 

Place lid on the pot and move The Old Dutch to the oven. After 3 hours remove the lid and check to see if the meat if fall apart tender. If not, cook another 30 minutes or until the meat falls apart in your mouth!   

Since you want the meat to remain in hunks, don’t stir so briskly it all dissolves! 

Serve with tortilla chips, lime juice, sour cream, grated cheese, corn bread, avocado, spring onions and fresh coriander. 

Let the party in your mouth begin. 

Thank you, Johnny. 

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