Rinse and drain beans. Start soaking them first thing in the morning, or even the night before. You can shorten the soaking time by starting with scalding water. The older the beans, the longer they will need to soak.
Around three in the afternoon, drain beans and cover with fresh water in a covered pot and bring to simmer. Reduce heat - if hanging from tripod, raise the pot high above fire. If using Dutch oven, use more coals under than over and renew just often enough to keep at the edge of a simmer.
While the beans are coming to a simmer, cut the steak into bite sized strips and sear it in hot oil before adding it to the beans. Stir in tomatoes. Allow mixture to simmer for 3-4 hours. Add cider or water as necessary. Do not allow to scorch or boil dry.
Around six p.m. add spices, herbs, onions and other vegetables and more liquid if needed. The chili will need to cook for a couple more hours. It is done when the beans are tender.
Start cooking your cornbread about half an hour before you anticipate the chili will be finished.