Firehouse Sausage Chili

Have you ever made chili with only sausage?

I hadn’t. But I was recently involved in a project to warm up our local firemen for Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Johnsonville Sausage…and that led to one of the most delicious pots of chili to ever grace my kitchen. Now, I wish I could say I made it myself, but here’s a little secret…if you see a recipe with meat in it here on Doughmesstic, it’s pretty likely the man of the house made it. Jon is one heck of a cook, griller, and smoker. He spends as much time online researching ways to to braise ribs as I do on how to make puff pastry…so let’s just say that’s a LOT.

He outdid himself on this chili recipe.


Lots of tomatoes, lots of corn, lots of sausage, lots of beans – all combined to make a savory, spicy, perfectly seasoned winter time meal. Jon made it in a giant Le Creuset pot, but to make it easier, we put it in a crock pot for delivery purposes. Of course, you can reduce the recipe to a more manageable size if you like and make the chili IN the crockpot. My thoughts though? Why not make a big batch and freeze some for later? I love recipes like that.

This is one of those recipes.

So, once everything was ready, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Seven and I loaded up my hotrod and delivered the deserving firemen their dinner (there were over 20 hungry men to feed!) – I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did!


Firehouse Sausage Chili

makes 20 servings


  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons wet mined garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 pounds Mild Italian Johnsonville Sausage
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 packages McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix (any flavor, I used Mild)
  • 3 – 15 ounce cans Bush’s dark red kidney beans
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans Bush’s light red kidney beans
  • 2 cans yellow corn
  • Water, as desired


  1. Sauté onions in large skillet (or in base of large enameled cast iron Dutch oven), in butter and garlic until translucent. Remove all but about 1/2 cup from the sauté pan and reserve for later use.
  2. In same sauté pan or Dutch oven, brown the sausage with the 1/2 cup of onions, salt, and pepper flakes. Once browned, add in reserved sautéed onions, canned tomatoes, and chili seasoning. Bring to a simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. After 40 minutes, drain beans and add to sausage. If a thinner chili is desired, add water as needed. Return to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Drain corn; add to chili after 20 minutes. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


If you decide to make it yourself (and I do highly recommend it!), serve it up with a side of tortilla chips for a bit of crunch in each bite…that’s my favorite way to eat chili! What’s yours?

photo(30)A big thanks to our local Pearisburg Volunteer Fire Department (I hope I NEVER need you!), and to Johnsonville for the opportunity to feed the firehouse. It was fun!

*Disclaimer – This post was sponsored by Johnsonville. Recipe is Jon’s, but thoughts and opinions are my own.

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