The Chemistry of Chili Seasoning

What’s a “semi retired” chemist to do? If you’re Charles Angell, you’d focus all of your energy into making some incredible chili powder combinations and sell them at our local Farmers’ Markets!

Angell detailed that he and his wife, Pam, had started off by growing their own chilis as a hobby. “We wanted to grow more than just the regular chili peppers. We wanted to grow something unique and rare and hard to find.” And grow they did, and got their start selling the peppers at the Farmers’ Market on F St.

Wanting to get more out of their passion for peppers, they started experimenting with different flavors and cooking methods, seeking to create the perfect powder. “We bought every type of chili powder we could get our hands on, and after about six to eight months of experimenting, we honed in on what we wanted. We started to package and sell our original chili powder and people really loved it.” (Now you can find them at the Brimhall and Haggin Oaks Farmers’ Markets, and they also have a variety of flavors and different levels of heat to their powders! Be sure to ask the Angells about the heat before you make your choice.)

The Angells proudly confessed that their customers use their chili powder on everything from popcorn, shrimp, and chicken wings to more interesting options, like ice cream and pizza. But perhaps one of the best combinations is when you blend it into their chili bean recipe, which they graciously shared with us. With the weather cooling down, a hearty, warming bowl of chili beans is just what the doctor ordered!

Dr. Angell’s Heavenly Chili Beans


  • 1 lb. Chuck roast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 lb. Pork butt (shoulder) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 lb. Dried beans (pinto, small red, black, red kidney, etc. in any combination)
  • 1 lb. Thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 Large white or yellow onions
  • 2 Large red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 Head garlic, diced
  • 2 qt. Beef stock
  • Ground cumin, salt, and black pepper to taste
  • Quesa Fresco and cilantro for garnish


Place the dried beans into a large bowl and add enough water to cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place cubed meat into a one-gallon Ziploc bag containing three Tbsp. of the chili powder. Thoroughly massage the meat through the bag to ensure that all surfaces are coated. Refrigerate for at least four hours (overnight is better).

The following day, place the cut bacon into a large, medium-high heated skillet. Cook to liking and remove from pan. Brown the cubed meat on all sides. Remove and reserve the meat. The bottom of the skillet will be partially coated with fond. Do not discard, as it adds flavor. Add the onions to the pan with the bacon fat and sauté until translucent. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking until they are soft, then add the diced garlic and cook until soft, about one minute. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to an 8 quart stock pot.

Drain soaked beans and rinse thoroughly. Transfer the beans to the stock pot and add the beef stock. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally for about one hour before testing the beans for tenderness. Retrieve five beans at a time and chew. When all five beans are tender then it is time for additional ingredients. Add the reserved meat, reserved rendered bacon and one Tbsp. more of the chili powder. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes and then taste. Add seasonings of your liking, like salt, pepper, and ground cumin. Serve in large bowls topped with crumbled Quesa Fresco and chopped cilantro for garnish.

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