Venison Chili Recipe

I love chili. If I had to eat it every day for the rest of my life, I’d be ok with that. This recipe is one of my favorites. The ingredients are simple, but the recipe holds complex flavor. Enjoy!


  • 2 pounds venison that’s at least 15% fat.
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ounce tortilla chips (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (14.5 – ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


  • Lime juice
  • Chopped red onion
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese

Instructions: Typically, I do not add pork fat when I grind my game meat. For this recipe, I like to use 1.5 lbs of venison and ½ pound of bacon. It’s really important to have some fat in this recipe because a lot of the spices are fat soluble and require a good dose to reach their full potential. Also, how much chipotle you use depends on how spicy you want it. The chili tastes great without it if you want to keep it super mild.

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine venison with 2 tablespoons water, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and baking soda, and set it aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Toast the anchos in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat on the stove top. Stir frequently. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes. Don’t let them smoke). Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Add anchos, tortilla chips, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, thyme, and 2 teaspoons pepper to food processor or blender. Process until finely ground (there shouldn’t be any pepper chunks). Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Puree the tomatoes and their juice.
  5. Heat oil in empty Dutch over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add venison and stir with a wooden spoon to really break it up. Cook until it’s browned. Add ancho mixture and chipotle. Cook, stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups water, beans and their liquid, sugar, tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on desired thickness. Stir occasionally.
  8. Remove chili from the oven, take off the lid, and let it stand for 10 minutes.