Celebrate Deer Season with the Best 10 Venison Chili Recipes Ever

Scott Leysath wild boar chili verde

Chili is a favorite just about anywhere because it’s delicious, nutritious and chefs such as Scott Leysath, pictured here, enjoy the versatility of its simple recipe. (DDH Photo: Alan Clemons)

One of the greatest things about cooking is it’s sort of like artwork: what you think a recipe should be may not be what your buddy, wife or I think it should be.

Take 10 people and ask the meaning of the famous “American Gothic” painting or something wilder from Salvador Dali and you’ll likely get 10 responses. Ask 10 people the best way to prepare deer chili and you probably will, again get 10 responses. But variety is the spice of life … and deer chili recipes.

While I love a flavorful chili — venison, beef, pork, chicken — and enjoy diversity, it’s tough to overlook a good, basic and simple recipe. I was reminded of that recently at a trendy restaurant where, as things go today, the chef or chefs were putting their own spin on recipes and whipping up some of their ideas.

I ordered a Manhattan, a simple cocktail consisting of bourbon, bitters and sweet vermouth with a cherry, usually served on the rocks. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t have 13 ingredients dribbled over a silver spoon crafted by artisans based on a pattern from 1483 in Germany. It’s a simple, good cocktail.

My first clue should have been when the waitress asked if wanted it “contemporary” and said that meant “the fruit is muddled.” What the hell? Fruit? No, no fruit. Traditional, please. And then it came with a slice of orange on the side, a black cherry in the bottom and soda water or some kind of carbonated water. She either didn’t hear me, ignored me or “traditional” has taken on some kind of new meaning I don’t want to be part of.

It sucked. I should have sent it back and been smart enough to just order a simple Maker’s or Jack neat, but I didn’t. I figured I’d try it. And it still sucked. Which is why it reinforced to me that, most often, simple is better — for beer, cocktails, steak, parties, life in general, and grilled venison or deer chili.

Here are 10 great venison chili recipes. Some are simple, some have a few more ingredients. But they’re good. Celebrate deer season by enjoying the best venison chili you can make this weekend.

SEE ALSO: Extend Your Deer Season and Learn to Hunt, Find Shed Antlers!

Venison chili is easy to make and nutritious (Photo: Stacy Harris, GameandGarden.com)

Venison chili is easy to make and nutritious (Photo: Stacy Harris, GameandGarden.com)

World’s Absolute Best Venison Chili
2-4 lbs ground venison
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches green onions diced
1 Teaspoon of each: Crushed red pepper, black pepper, ancho pepper, chipolte pepper and cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons cumin
4 Cans diced tomatoes
2 Cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon of each: Cocoa, Cinnamon
1 can chopped green chiles
¼ Cup of each: vinegar, brown sugar
2 Cans of Great Northern Beans or Black-Eyed Peas
Juice two limes
One bunch fresh cilantro chopped
White rice
Condiments: Sour cream, grated cheese, hot sauce.

Heat oil in very large pot at medium-low.  Saute onion 10 minutes. Add venison, increase heat and cook through.  (It helps to cover pot to cook venison). Add peppers, cumin, chocolate, cinnamon, tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer on low 60-90 minutes. Add beans, lime juice, chopped green chilies, cilantro, vinegar and brown sugar and heat through. Serve over white rice with choice of toppings. Keeps very well in refrigerator.

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SEE ALSO: One of DDH’s Most Popular Deer Recipe Cookbooks Ever!

Big Dave’s Venison Chili
David Rainer is an old pal, former newspaper outdoors editor in Mobile, Ala., and now works for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We’ve chased a few fish and deer over the years and he’s pretty good in the kitchen, too.

Here’s one of Rainer’s favorite recipes for Venison Chili and, just like him, it’s straightforward and doesn’t come with fluffy pretense. Good stuff. Give it a try.
¼ cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 large onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped (optional)
4 pounds ground venison
3-4 cans diced tomatoes
2 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
4 16-ounce cans of kidney beans
1/4-1/3 cup chili powder
1-3 dashes of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon liquid crab boil (my secret ingredient)
1 tablespoon salt
1-3 dashes of garlic salt
2-3 bay leaves

Heat olive oil in large stock pot with heavy bottom and sauté garlic, onions and pepper until tender. Add venison and brown for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, chili powder, cayenne pepper, crab boil and salt and garlic salt. Mix together and then add bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. Serves 10-12.

Recipes are from the We Kill It We Grill It book

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SEE ALSO: Great Tips from Field to Table for Your Best Venison Dishes

Venison Chili
1 pound dry kidney beans
1 pound ground venison
1 pound venison stew meat, in 1/2-inch chunks
2 Tbsp. oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
28-ounce can tomatoes, diced
1 large onion,diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 large green chili pepper, diced
¼ tsp. cumin
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
¼ cup masa flour or all purpose flour

Rinse beans and place in a large soup kettle. Add 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt; cover the pot and bring to a boil. Boil gently for about 2 hours, until beans are tender. Brown meat in a large skillet containing oil and garlic. Add chili powder, salt and pepper. Cover and saute for an hour. Drain the beans and add 1½ quarts water, tomatoes, onion, peppers, cumin and parsley. Simmer for an hour, then add meat mixture. Stir masa flour into ½ cup water to form a paste and blend into chili to thicken. Simmer for about half an hour, adjust the seasonings and serve.

Sounds great! Add some buttered garlic bread, cheese toast or some great homemade cornbread, and you’re set for a super meal!

301 Venison Recipes bookSEE ALSO: Awesome Collection of More Than 300 Venison Recipes!

Eric Myers’ Two Bean Venison Chili

1-2lbs ground venison
½ gallon frozen bag of tomato puree (boiled then drained)
½ jar of Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup Salsa, Chunky or Garden Style
1 cup of Chili Sauce
1 can Black Beans (drained)
1 can of White Kidney Beans (drained)
1 onion (small)
½ glove of garlic
½ cup of soy sauce
¼ Lime Juice
¼ cup ketchup
4 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Lowry’s Salt
2 Tbsp Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp Coarse Ground Salt
1 Tbsp Cracked Ground Pepper
2 Tsp Red Cayenne Pepper

Boil frozen tomato puree and strain through colander. Return drained puree to stock pot then combine spaghetti sauce, salsa, chili sauce, ketchup, and both cans of beans to tomato base. Separately, brown ground venison using non-stick spray or light oil due to leanness of venison. Add soy sauce and lime juice to venison and simmer. Drain ground venison and add to tomato base in stock pot. Sautee onions and garlic then combine to base. Add all dry ingredients to base. Stir. Do not add dry ingredients directly to ground venison as it cooks by itself. This will dry out the ground venison and apply a heavy salt taste to the meat instead of the chili.

Top with saltine crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and enjoy!

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SEE ALSO: The Coolest Collection of Venison Cooking Tips and Recipes

Silver Sage Venison Chili
Silver Sage Caterers, founded by Greg Cornell and Scott Leysath back in the early ’90’s, received more requests for the chili recipe than any other items they prepared. Leftovers have been auctioned off at dinners catered for sporting groups like the California Waterfowl Association. For their signature beans, they used chunks of sirloin and linguica sausage and substituted cubed venison shoulder for beef for this version. If you can’t find linguica, use andouille or any good-quality smoked medium-hot sausage. If your sausage does not release a good bit of oil when cooked, you should add some vegetable oil to help brown the venison. Serve this with warm flour tortillas.

It is important to stew the venison until tender. To do so, you may need to add some more diced tomato or salsa so that there is sufficient liquid to keep the meat moist while cooking.

8 to 10 servings

1 pound linguica sausage, diced
2 pound venison shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat and gristle and then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 quart canned diced tomato, with juice
1 cup canned diced roasted green chiles
1 quart green chile salsa (or substitute tomato salsa)
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
3 cups cooked pinto beans, drained
3 – 4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

In a large stockpot over medium heat, add linguica and cook until lightly browned. Add venison and brown evenly. Add next 4 ingredients and cook for a few minutes. Add diced tomato and next 5 ingredients and simmer until venison is tender. It will take 2 to 3 hours. Add additional salsa or tomato if necessary to keep meat moist while cooking. When meat is just tender, add beans, 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cilantro. Heat to warm beans. If you want to thicken the chili, add additional tomato paste as necessary. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

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SEE ALSO: Scott Leysath’s Time-Tested Secrets for Better Venison!

Brad Fresch’s Venison Chili

2 lb Venison breakfast sausage (pork added, along with spices to make the sausage; I add a little extra sage)
3 lb ground venison (or small cubes if you’d prefer).  (FYI only, I have 10% beef fat added to my ground venison)
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 large white onion, diced  (or more if you like onion)
3 heads of garlic, coarsely minced (I adjust up from there, and even add some roasted garlic depending on my mood)
1 large can diced green chiles
6 – 8 tbsp. home made chili powder (I make my own using a combination of dried peppers such as Ancho, Cascabel and arbols)
8 – 10 Jalapeno peppers with the seeds and white ribs removed, diced
3 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans, drained
1 large can sweet corn (or more if you’d like), drained
2 bottles beer (I use Negra Modelo, but it’s your choice)
5 Bay leaves
Several dashes of Frank’s Red Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
handful of corn tortilla chips (minimum, more depending on desired thickness); crushed

Heat a large, porcelain-coated cast-iron Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add the venison breakfast sausage to brown and release fat; break into small chunks.  Add the remaining ground venison and the chili powder; cooking the chili powder releases the essential oils.  You can add a quarter cup of water to the meat; it helps to break down the meat into smaller chunks and is evaporated during the cooking process.

Once the meat is all browned, add the onions and jalapenos.  Cook until the onions are translucent, add garlic and stir into mixture.  Add the beer; use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, corn, and bay leaves to the mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.  I try to let the mixture simmer for at least 1 hour before I taste it.  At this point you can add additional seasonings if desired.  I’ll occasionally add a bit of sugar or honey if the tomatoes are to acidy; it depends on your taste and what you like.  Don’t add too much salt; the tortilla chips have salt also.

Once you have the basic taste the way you want it, add the crushed tortilla chips.  Masa was used to thicken the chili in the Southwest many years ago; I use tortilla chips since they’ve been roasted and add a nice flavor, as well as thicken the chili.  You can add or subtract the amount of chips based on the thickness and texture you like.  Cook for at least 1 additional hour.  I personally like to transfer the mixture to a large crock pot, and refrigerate the chili overnight.  I’ll then set up the crock pot to cook on low heat the next day.

My family likes to serve the chili over spaghetti (my wife was born in the Cincinnati area where this is common).  We’ll add grated cheddar cheese, some additional hot sauce if desired, diced onion and sour cream.

SEE ALSO: Digital Downloads of Great Venison Recipes and Tips

Stephen Burchett’s World’s Absolute Best Venison Chili
2-4 lbs ground venison
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches green onions diced
1 Teaspoon of each: Crushed red pepper, black pepper, ancho pepper, chipolte pepper and cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons cumin
4 Cans diced tomatoes
2 Cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon of each: Cocoa, Cinnamon
1 can chopped green chiles
¼ Cup of each: vinegar, brown sugar
2 Cans of Great Northern Beans or Black-Eyed Peas
Juice two limes
One bunch fresh cilantro chopped
White rice
Condiments: Sour cream, grated cheese, hot sauce.

Heat oil in very large pot at medium-low.  Saute onion 10 minutes. Add venison, increase heat and cook through.  (It helps to cover pot to cook venison). Add peppers, cumin, chocolate, cinnamon, tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer on low 60-90 minutes. Add beans, lime juice, chopped green chilies, cilantro, vinegar and brown sugar and heat through. Serve over white rice with choice of toppings. Keeps very well in refrigerator.  Neighbors will ask all week if we are serving venison chili for Sunday football games.

aStacyBookSEE ALSO: Super Videos, Recipes and Tips from Stacy Harris!

Stacy Harris’ Venison Chili
1 16-ounce can of tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chili in adobe sauce
5 slices bacon, finely chopped
4 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Pepper and Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
1 can kidney beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow corn muffin mix

Harris’ chili is a family favorite. To see how to make it visit gameandgarden.com

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SEE ALSO: To Make Great Venison Meals, You Need to Know These Big Buck Secrets!

Chuck Wagon Chili
A staple in the diets of early cowboys and pioneers, chili played a considerable role in the founding of our great American West. It’s hot, spicy, and filling, making it the perfect grub for days of killer saddle sores and unrelenting cattle drives. This recipe makes a lot of chili, so make sure you have good company to share it with. Visit foodforhunters.blogspot.com for more great recipes, too!

Servings: 12

Ingredients:
– 1 lb ground venison
– 1 lb diced venison
– 1 tsp. olive oil
– 1 cup chopped onion
– 1 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
– 1 tsp. garlic salt; salt, to taste
– 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
– 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
– 5 tbs. chili powder
– 2 cans of red beans (15 oz each)
– 2 cans of refried beans (15 oz each)
– 1 cup of water
– 1 can diced tomato (14.5 oz)
– 1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
– 2 tbs. molasses
– Shredded mozzarella, for sprinkling

– Cornbread, a must!

1. Trim and remove silver skin from 1 lb of venison stew meat and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

2. In a large pot, heat up 1 tsp. olive oil and add in the chopped onions.

3. Once the onions soften, add the stew meat and the ground venison and brown. While the meat browns, break up the ground venison with your spoon to prevent large chunks.

4. Once meat browns, stir in the re-fried beans and red beans, liquid and all. You don’t have to cook the venison all the way through before adding the beans. It will continue to cook later.

5. Stir in the crushed red pepper, garlic salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and chili powder.

6. Stir in the cans of chopped tomato and tomato sauce. Add salt to taste.

7. Then the molasses. Cover and simmer on low for one hour. If after the hour you still think the chili is too thin, take off the lid and continue to cook until thickened. Or you can do this before the hour is up.

8. Ladle chili in serving bowls and sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Enjoy with some cornbread and coffee.

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SEE ALSO: Become a Better Deer Hunter by Learning About Whitetail Behavior

Scott Leysath’s Fast Venison Chili
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2- 3 pounds ground venison
1 medium onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 bell peppers, roasted
2 Anaheim peppers, roasted
2 cups prepared salsa
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
1 quart cooked pinto beans, drained
3 – 4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 fresh lime, juice only
*** salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat oil and cook venison until lightly browned. Add next four ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. Add salsa and next three ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans, 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cilantro. Heat to warm beans. If you want to thicken the chili, add additional tomato paste. Season with lime juice, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Makes 8-10 servings.

See this recipe and get more recipes and videos from Scott Leysath at his site, SportingChef.com

SEE ALSO: Twelve Chapters Packed with Great Tips, Photos, Recipes and More!


DEER HUNTERS! WE WANT TO SEE YOUR RECIPES!
Do you have a great venison chili recipe? Beans? No beans? That’s a hot debate, of course. Ground deer meat or chunked? Slow cooker or cast iron? There are so many variations and that’s one thing we love about great deer chili recipes.

Send us your deer chili recipe and we’ll publish it. Send to: bigbucks@fwcommunity.com