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Venison Chili

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This delicious venison chili is perfect for using up some of that ground venison in your freezer, especially on those cold winter nights.

Bowl of venison chili topped with cheese

Venison is by far our favorite type of meat. We hunt deer every fall, my husband being the more avid hunter in our family, and are generally blessed with copious amounts of ground venison gracing our freezer every hunting season.

While I love using ground venison in all manners of meals including shepherd’s pie and reserving some for summer sausage, I think the best way to use up some ground venison is in a big pot of chili.

Chili is one of those things that seems to have different variations depending on where you’re from. Some people think it shouldn’t contain beans, others think it isn’t chili without them. Some use ground meat while others use chunks. And on it goes.

I actually tweaked this recipe from one I found in a wild game cookbook my grandfather had. It uses ground meat and any ground meat will do, so don’t feel obligated to use only ground venison. The spices pair well with any ground meat, just don’t use chunks.

It also contains beans, which we prefer as we aren’t from Texas. But, if you prefer beanless chili, you can omit them. If you do, I would recommend increasing the ground meat to two and a half to three pounds instead of just the one to give it a little substance.

Regardless of how you tweak this recipe to make it your own (because let’s face it, chili is a little personal). I can guarantee it is the best venison chili recipe you’ve ever tasted.

Ingredients

Ingredients for venison chili on a table. Tomato juice, ground venison, onion, kidney beans, and garlic.

Ground Venison – you can substitute any ground meat in this recipe whether it’s wild game, ground beef, or even ground pork or ground turkey. They all taste good.

Onion- minced if you don’t want your children to find it. Onion really brings the flavor of venison out, but it’s also essential for really tasty chili.

Garlic- is also minced to bring out the flavor in the meat and add a bit of spice.

Diced green chilies- to add some heat to your chili, we like our chili hot, so feel free to adjust this to your taste buds.

Venison tallow or Olive Oil- we render tallow from our deer fat, if you don’t olive oil will definitely work.

Parsley- fresh if you have it, dried if you don’t. Parsley will add a bit of flavor.

Chili Powder- a blend of spices that adds a bit of heat to your chili.

Salt & Black Pepper- for added flavor profiles.

Light Red Kidney Beans- these are our preferred beans for chili, you can use any canned beans you wish, though. Black beans or pinto beans are favorites of ours that I use if we don’t have any kidney beans on hand.

Canned Tomatoes- help balance out the chili and add a bit of substance.

Tomato Juice- this chili is simmered for quite a while, so the juice simmers down making a nice, thick chili. Alternatively, you can cook it for less time if you prefer your chili more on the soupy side.

Topping Ideas

  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Limes
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Green Onions
  • Tortilla Chips

How to Make Deer Chili

Step 1: Brown Meat & Ingredients

In a large dutch oven, warm tallow or olive oil over medium-high heat, add your ground deer meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. Once browned, add in your onion and garlic, cooking just until garlic is translucent. Then, add green chilis and spices, stirring to incorporate.

Step 2: Add Remaining Ingredients

Reduce heat to low, add drained beans to the meat mixture, stirring them to incorporate the spices. Then pour in the rest of the ingredients and stir to incorporate.

Step 3: Simmer

Simmer, covered over low heat, for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 to 60 minutes until cooked down to your desired consistency.

Recipe Variations

Instant Pot Version

Brown ground venison, onions, and garlic with olive oil on sautee. Add spices and chilis, stir. Add beans and tomato juice, cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, use the quick release method when done.

Slow Cooker Version

Brown ground venison, onions, and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet. Transfer to crockpot, stir in chilis and spices. Add beans and tomato juice, cook on high for 3 hours, low for 6 hours.

Storing Venison Chili

Refrigeration: This recipe can be cooked ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Leftovers, if you have any can also be stored for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Cook the recipe as stated, omitting the beans. It will keep for 6 months in the freezer. When ready to make your meal, thaw it and add the beans while warming on the stove. Beans just don’t freeze very well. You can freeze leftovers with beans in them, but the texture will be off once thawed.

Canning: This recipe can be doubled or even tripled and pressure canned. It will make approximately 2 to 3 quarts per recipe, depending on how cooked down you make it. You’ll make the recipe as normal and follow the instructions here.

Bowl of venison chili topped with crackers and cheese
Yield: Serves 8

Easy Venison Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ground venison is combined with spices, peppers, and seasonings and blended into tomato juice to make this classic, delicious soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb Ground Venison, or any ground meat
  • 2 Tablespoons Deer Tallow or Olive Oil
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Start by adding your ground venison and tallow or olive oil to a large 5-quart pot. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is browned. Then, add in onions and garlic, sautee until onion is translucent. Add in green chilies, chili powder, parsley, salt, and pepper stirring to incorporate.
  2. Reduce heat to low, add in drained and rinsed beans, stirring to incorporate the spices, then add in remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer, covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 to 60 minutes until chili is cooked down to your preference.
  4. Serve hot topping with your preferred toppings.

Notes

Venison can be substituted with any ground meat. If subbing fattier ground meat, you'll want to drain it after browning.

Chili can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

This recipe can be prepared as stated, omitting the beans and frozen for a quick meal. Simply add the beans when cooking.

Chili can also be canned using a pressure canner, see the post for notes on how to do this.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8 Servings

Serving Size:

1 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1513mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 26g

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Bethany

Saturday 17th of October 2020

How long do you put it in the crockpot for?

Danielle McCoy

Monday 19th of October 2020

About 6 hours on low :).

Lauren

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Can you substitute the lard for something else?

Danielle McCoy

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Sure. Any fat will work. I typically use lard or beef tallow, if you don't have those shortening or even butter will work. It is just to help the meat from drying out while it's browning and add a little flavor.

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