Smoky BBQ Pork Chili

Sam Icklan, Project Bread

School Lunch

School Lunch Recipe

Smoky BBQ Pork Chili

We created this recipe for Greenfield Public Schools because they were looking for a creative way to make use of their canned beans – the pinto beans almost disappear into the chili, a plus if your students are not big bean fans. It also uses many other USDA foods that you may have, like the peppers and onion mix, canned tomatoes, and pulled pork.

The barbeque sauce in the recipe is key, you can use a purchased product or make your own but don’t leave it out, it makes the dish both smoky and a little bit sweet, a winning combination! You can adapt the seasoning to be less spicy by cutting back on the chili powders. Fresh spices will be hotter than older ones, so use the spice measurements as a guide and adjust as necessary. While middle schoolers tend to enjoy spicier foods, go easy on the chili powder for younger students. The garnishes are optional, but the scallions add color and visual appeal while the sour cream and cheese are a nice balance to the heat of the chili. These garnishes will hold well, even in to-go meals.



 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

6.25 pounds frozen peppers & onions mix, thawed

½ cup minced garlic

½ cup chili powder

½ cup chipotle chili powder

¼ cup ground cumin

¼ cup smoked paprika

2 Tbsp ground black pepper 

1 no. 10 can tomato paste

2 no. 10 can diced tomatoes 

1 quart barbeque sauce

½ gallon prepared chicken stock

 2 no. 10 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

18.75 pounds pulled pork, thawed from frozen


3 bunches scallions, thinly sliced

 6.25 pounds shredded cheddar cheese

6.25 pounds low-fat sour cream

Feel free to substitute black beans or red kidney beans if that’s what you have on hand. If you don’t want to use pork, you can use 12.5 pounds of diced or pulled chicken for every 100 servings.


1. Using the tilt skillet or steam-jacketed kettle, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add peppers, onions and minced garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add spices, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

2. Add tomato paste to skillet or kettle. Stir constantly until tomato paste begins to deepen in color, about 4 minutes. Adjust heat to ensure that the tomato paste does not burn. Add diced tomatoes with juices, barbeque sauce and chicken stock and stir well.

3. Add beans and pork to skillet or kettle. Stir well, lower heat, cover and allow to simmer until beans are tender and pork is fully heated through. Allow the chili to cook for at least an hour, stirring frequently – this will allow the chili to develop a deep flavor. If liquid evaporates during the cooking process, you can add up to 1 quart of water or more as needed.

4. To serve, scoop 8 oz. of chili into a bowl and garnish with thinly sliced scallions, cheddar cheese, sour cream and hot sauce (if using).

COVID-19 Resource

Grab & Go Meal Service Directions

1. Transfer the chili to deep hotel pans and place on rolling carts. Place rolling carts in walk-in and allow chili to cool.  

2. While the chili is cooling, set up your assembly line by putting the microwave safe containers onto sheet pans, fitting as many as you can on your station.  

3. Fill each container with an 8 oz. serving of chili. 

4. Once all containers are filled, cover with lids and make sure they are sealed tight  

5. Add label of cooking directions on the lid and put the sheet pans onto a speed rack and roll into the freezer.  

6. Give the pasta 24 hours to fully freeze then transfer to coolers for transportation to the schools. 


Cooking times may vary depending on microwave wattage

1. Heat from frozen for 4 minutes on high with lid slightly opened at the corner.

2. Uncover and stir contents then heat for additional 1-2 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

3. Let sit for 3 minutes to cool before eating.

USDA Requirement

2 oz. meat/meat alternate

3/4 cup total vegetable (5/8 cup red/orange and 1/8 cup additional vegetables)


Calories 176 calories Saturated Fat  2g Sodium 509 mg  Carbohydrate 17.41 g



Back to Recipes Left Arrow