This delicious venison chili is perfect for using up some of that ground venison in your freezer, especially on those cold winter nights.
Since we hunt deer every fall, we typically have a lot of meat in the freezer. We process our own as a family, which is a lot of fun, but we do grind up pretty decent amount of it. We use the ground meat for lots of things like summer sausage, shepherd’s pie, and spaghetti & meatballs.
And another favorite ground venison recipe is venison chili. Sometimes I will use lean ground beef in this recipe, but we use venison a lot (almost exclusively) so it’s a rarity. It is best with venison and one of the nice things is… you don’t have to drain the meat.
I found this recipe in an old wild game book my grandfather had. I changed it up a little to meet our tastes and I’m happy to report, I’ve never had a better tasting chili of any kind.
Tips for Cooking with Ground Venison
If you’ve ever cooked with venison at all, you know it’s extremely lean. There’s not much fat content to make a big pile of grease and water. This is great because you don’t have to drain it, but it’s not so great if you wind up with hockey puck ground meat.
When I’m cooking ground venison up to make into chili or something else, I always, always add just a tad bit of beef tallow or pork lard. Why? It just keeps the meat from drying out and adds a tad bit of flavor. Though, venison is delicious all on its own.
If you don’t have access to tallow or lard for this recipe, you could use butter or if you don’t have that you can use something like olive oil in a pinch.
I wouldn’t cook it without the added fat in this recipe, though. Simply because when you cook the ground meat with the seasonings (which is essential for flavor) it soaks up what little liquid the meat produces and it will dry it out.
The other trick is to cook it slow. So often we put the stove on high heat to fry up hamburger. Lower the temperature when cooking this to medium-low and it won’t dry out as quickly.
Does chili have beans?
This chili does! along with tomatoes. Some people are a big fan of chili beans, but they’re not necessary in this recipe. The seasonings are added right in.
If you do opt to use chili beans instead of the beans the recipe calls for, it will make it more spicy. You can adjust the spice content, but it’s entirely up to you.
I know some people are against beans in chili, and they can be omitted in this recipe, but I would increase the ground venison content to 2.5 to 3 pounds to add some substance to the soup.
Make Slow Cooker Venison Chili
You can make this in a crockpot if you’d like! Simply follow the recipe directions to step 3 and instead of adding the remaining ingredients to the stock pot, put them in a slow cooker.
You will cook this recipe on low for 4-6 hours.
Ground venison is combined with spices, peppers, and seasonings and blended into tomato juice to make this classic, delicious soup.
- 1 Lb Ground Venison, or any ground meat
- 2 Tablespoons Pastured Lard
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 4.5 Oz Chopped Green Chilis, undrained
- 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper
- 2 Pints Canned Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Quart Canned Tomatoes
- 2 Quarts Tomato Juice
- Start by adding your ground venison and lard to a large 5 quart pan. Cook over medium low heat until meat is browned. Then, add in onions, chilis, and garlic and sautee another minute. Lastly, add in parsley, chili powder, salt and pepper and continue heating until onion is limp.
- Do not drain the excess lard off of your meat mixture, just leave it as is and remove the mixture from heat for a moment while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Drain your kidney beans and tomatoes, rinse.
- Add kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, and chili powder to the 5 quart pan.
- Return to low heat, simmer, on low for at least an hour, uncovered. Stirring occasionally. The longer you simmer, the thicker and more flavorful your chili will become. If it's becoming too thick too quickly, you can cover it.
- Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions, or anything else you enjoy.
Chili can be served immediately, topped with preferred toppings or it can be refrigerated for a few days or even frozen. See below for freezing directions.
Venison can be substituted with any lean ground meat, if using beef, omit the added fat and drain it before adding additional ingredients.
Serving Size:1 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1513mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 26g
How to store freeze and reheat
You can make this recipe in advance and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. You’ll simply put it into a pot and warm it over low heat until hot.
This also freezes really well. To freeze, you will allow it to cool, place it in an air-tight freezer container and place it in the freezer. It will keep and maintain taste for about 6 months. To reheat, you’ll thaw it in the refrigerator (where it will keep for about 3-4 days) and reheat on the stove over low heat until hot.
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