You can smoke for 1 hour at a low temp without worries but Cubes would be better than Ground unless you fully cook the meat. Ground meat has more hidden surface area for Bacteria to hide.
Your worries about cooking the meat in the smoker is unfounded. Whether you smoke /cook or brown the meat in the pot, has Zero affect on how moist the meat will. The only thing that affects moisture of lean meat is the Final IT you cook to. How lean or if you go low and slow makes no difference. In this case if you smoke the meat to 165*F or Saute/Brown the meat until no longer Pink (165*F)...It will be the same degree of doneness and juiciness. If you want lots of smoke, cook all the way to an IT of 140+ then cool and grind. Shove it in the pot add all the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done. If light smoke is desired, 1 hour smoke at what ever temp your smoker needs to make smoke, then cool and grind, and proceed...The typical Chili recipes call for Low and Slow simmer for hours until the meat is tender. This is a moist cooking method called Stewing. The moisture and the long low cook breaks down the connective tissue in the meat until it nearly falls apart. In this case Connective Tissue, Collagen, is what makes Stewed meat seem Juicy. Simmer some Chicken for Soup. The White meat seems drier than the Dark. The Dark Meat has more Collagen. Same with Beef and Pork. Chuck and Butts will seem more Juicy stewed a long time than Round and Loin of pork cooked the same way. If you trim all larger chunks of fat the rest will cook out and float to the top to be skimmed. If the perception of Juiciness is what you want, trimmed Chuck or Butt is the better choice and after the Fat renders will be as lean as any other cut...JJ