Wolfpack Chilli

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon fat
1 1/2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced or crushed through a press
2 pounds lean ground beef, sirloin, or chuck
2 pounds lean ground pork
3/4 cup chili powder
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 bay leaves
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained and roughly chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3 bottles (12 ounces each) dark beer, such as Mexican Dos Equis, Heineken, or Beck's
6 slices hickory-smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 pound dried small pink beans, soaked and still in their soaking liquid
1 large garlic clove, minced or crushed through a press
2 teaspoons salt

Spoon the oil into a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven set over moderate heat. Add the onions and saute until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic (2 Cloves) and saute for 2 minutes. Reserve these for later.
Return the pot to moderate heat and crumble in the beef and pork. Increase the heat to high and brown well, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately high and brown, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer. Return the onions to the pot and stir in 1/2 cup of the chili powder, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the cumin, 1 tablespoon of the oregano, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, 2 bottles of the beer and 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. Stir gently every 30 minutes, but do not stir during the last 15 to 20 minutes so all of the fat will rise to the top.

Prepare the beans. Put the bacon in a large, heavy saucepan set over moderate heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and deep golden brown. Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Drain the beans (no matter which soaking technique you have used) and measure the liquid. Add water to make 6 cups. Add the beans and liquid to the bacon in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add the remaining garlic and salt, partially cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the chili has cooked for 3 hours, degrease it, skimming off most of the fat. Place a paper towel flat on the surface to soak up any remaining fat repeat, if necessary.

Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Add the beans and their cooking liquid. Set the chili aside to cool to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Stir the remaining 1 bottle of beer into the chili. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring once in a while. Serve hot.Great with corn bread on the side.

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