Venison Chili: That Old Deer Camp and Home Cooking Standby

Probably more pounds of ground venison have gone into making chili than any other venison dish. Here's a simple and flavorful recipe.

I'm with Steve Rinella on this: I would have to agree that probably more pounds of ground deer or elk meat go into venison chili than into almost any other wild game dish. Especially during the autumn and winter months.

There are myriad chili recipes out there, probably as many recipes as there are hunters! Here is Steven Rinella's recipe.

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Interestingly, Rinella cites his mother's "Midwest Mom Chili," which probably every single one of us dined on - repeatedly - when we were growing up. If you're from the Midwest your mother's chili also likely had elbow macaroni noodles in it.

Such an inclusion would be heresy in today's chili purist world, but it was - and probably still is - part and parcel of growing up in the Midwest.

Below is Rinella's current favored chili recipe.

Steve Rinella's Venison Chili Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 2¼ lbs ground venison
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large poblanos, stemmed and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder, or to taste
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 3 (14.5-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, preferably in tomato puree
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans small red beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups beef stock

Do your preliminary cooking in a large stovetop Dutch oven or large pot. Heat over medium-high heat and add a coupe tablespoons of oil. Season the ground venison with salt and pepper, and brown in the pot. Work in batches, repeating the process, until the meat is finished. Transfer to a large bowl.

Turn down the heat, add a little oil to the pot, and dump in the poblanos and onions. Scrape the bottom of the saucepan and stir the contents regularly for six or eight minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and continue cooking for another minute or so, stirring constantly.

Add the chipotles, tomatoes - and crush or break up the tomatoes - and half of the beans. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the rest of the beans, the beef stock and browned venison (including the juices). Mix it all up and simmer for around two hours.

As with most venison chili recipes, you use a slow cooker to keep your chili hot and at the ready throughout the day.

Rinella suggests serving with one or more of the following:

  • corn chips
  • shredded sharp cheddar or Pepper jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • diced red onions or sliced scallions
  • sliced jalapenos or serrano chiles

I'd add a good hot sauce to that list.

Now then, whether or not you want to add noodles, well, that's entirely up to you. I know that my mother and grandmother would approve.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: 6 Holiday Recipes That Incorporate Wild Game