Peel and chop the onion. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high. Add the onions and cook until they're tender, stirring occasionally.
While the onions are cooking, rinse the red pepper and pat it dry. Cut out the stem, then cut the pepper in half to remove the seeds and membrane. Cut the red pepper into ¾-inch pieces.
When the onions are soft, add the ground meat to the pan and break it up with a cooking spoon, stirring to combine with the onions. Cook the turkey until it is no longer pink. Use a ladle to scoop out about ½ cup of the liquid fat and discard it. (Leave some fat for flavor.)
With a clean spoon, stir the red peppers into the pot and let them cook for a minute. Add the canned tomatoes (including any liquid). Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes a bit (or cut them up with a fork and knife).
Stir in the barbecue sauce and chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Add the drained beans and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, loosely covered. You can use a wooden spoon resting on the edge of the pot to prop open the lid. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Serve chili with shredded cheddar and red pepper flakes at the table, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days, or freeze them.
SubstitutionsMeat: While ground turkey provides the best taste, you could use ground beef, pork or chicken instead.Bell peppers: You could add yellow or orange ones instead of red, for nearly identical taste. These colorful peppers are all sweeter than green peppers, and perfectly complement the sweetness from the barbecue sauce. But, you could substitute green peppers for a more savory option.Beans: You can omit them if needed or add them at the end, if you need to first serve someone chili without beans. If you don't have black beans, you could try kidney beans or Great Northern.BBQ Sauce: You can use a homemade one or my family's favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce(affiliate link).Chili Toppings to Try