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Architects with an Appetite: Sal, JLA Architects

Architects with an Appetite: Sal Impellitteri

Sal Impellitteri, Senior Project Architect at JLA, stumbled upon this recipe for Chili Dog Chili when he was searching online for a different kind of chili to make. Read on for the story and the recipe!

Tell us the story behind the recipe.

Sal: It started as something that my father-in-law and I could enjoy while sturgeon spearing in the ice shanty (portable shed).  I wanted something easy to make, that would reheat well, and was easy to eat while staring down the ice hole.  This checked all the boxes—it has some heat (spiciness), is hearty, and warms your belly while sitting on the ice!  For the past four or five sturgeon spearing seasons (typically February), I’ve made this at home and brought it up to Appleton, it’s become a tradition!

Chili Dog Chili


  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • Olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1 tsp for hotter taste)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground chuck (or ground turkey)
  • 1 package Angus beef hot dogs
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can black beans
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1 package finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • diced onions (optional, for topping)
  • sour cream (optional, for topping)


In a medium saucepot: combine olive oil, onions, salt, pepper, and garlic over medium-high heat and sauté for a minute or two.  Add ground chuck, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes, Stir. Add hot dogs, diced tomatoes, and beans. Heat thoroughly and serve.  Top with cheese.

How have you made the recipe your own?

Sal: The recipe by itself is pretty spicy.  I’d recommend only adding 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper for those that want less “zing”.  Also, for those who like the more “gourmet” hot dogs, you can use those instead of the Angus beef hot dogs.  I also add diced onions and sour cream to the top once served.

Final question, is there a favorite dish or recipe you have enjoyed from another JLA team member (or one you are hoping to try)?

Sal: Still waiting on Scotty [Cieslak]’s smoked brisket!

About Architects with an Appetite

Food is a universal language that connects us. It can tell a story, evoke a memory, or simply comfort us. The Architects with an Appetite blog series is designed to showcase our team and share our recipes and the stories behind them. Chili Competitions, Dip Offs, and potlucks are commonplace in the JLA offices, and it’s no secret around the ‘halls’  that our team members love to share and swap recipes— we’ve even toyed with the idea of a JLA Cookbook.  So we thought, why not share some of our favorite recipes with you?  We hope you enjoy them! 

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