Grit Blogs > Arrows and Minnows

Venison Chili Delicious Despite Methods

By Caleb Regan, Managing Editor

Tags: hunting, cooking, whitetail, deer, Caleb Regan,

Venison Chili Trial One went over well last night. It’s hard to say if it was more the quality of the meat or the mixture of ingredients I used, but the combination of the two made some dang-good chili. I do know this: Even though I didn’t shoot a big, old buck this year, last night’s meal – and today’s lunch, actually – made me very thankful for doe meat in the freezer.

Simmer for an hour

I’d planned on using a Southern Venison Chili recipe, but once I got into the grocery store, the amount of green pepper – it calls for one large green bell pepper, cut in strips – and the inclusion of 2 tablespoons of sugar kind of turned me off to it.

So I kind of combined that recipe with another one to arrive at the one below. The only problem is, I estimate and add a little of this, a little of that when I cook – no matter my intention – taste as I go and make adjustments, so this is only my best guess as to what was in that chili.

The Amateur’s Venison Chili

1 ½ pounds ground venison
½ large white onion, diced
½ large green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons cumin seed spice
3 tablespoons chili powder
8 ounces tomato sauce (I went with the Kroger brand, inexpensive, and already peeled and in juice – “Chili Ready”)
8 ounces water
½ cup light-red kidney beans
½ cup ketchup

Some of the ingredients

Now bear with me.

First, you obviously brown the meat.

Browning venison

You can sauté the onion and green pepper while you do this, but mine turned out tender and cooked enough in the end without doing so. The reason I didn’t is because I forgot – kind of a shaky start – and was in too big of a hurry to see how much grease the meat would make. It was very lean ground meat … just what I’d hoped for. After I diced the onion and green pepper – I didn’t have a knife for dicing so I was using my skinning knife that I hadn’t used since the GRIT sharpening experience – I added it to the halfway-browned venison.

Onion and green pepper

Sometimes I feel like I get into some intense situations when I’m cooking.

After the meat had completely browned, I added the cumin spice and chili powder. Then I emptied tomato sauce and water in, added the kidney beans and hoped for the best (i.e., hoped the vegetables would cook to tender). On medium heat, I let the mixture simmer for 1 hour, tasted it, added some ketchup and somehow it turned out really good. Gwendolyn Marie did say she snuck in some more of the spices.

Just need Saltines

The whole thing was rather fun, despite my methods.

I’ve got plenty more meat, so the next venison-cooking experience for me will either be another chili recipe, or Lori’s homemade Summer Sausage recipe. Her recipe can be found at the bottom of this blog post. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

Anybody else this hectic in the kitchen? I feel like I’m in the weeds most times.

Bottom photo by Gwen Salmon.

Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .

caleb regan
1/23/2009 4:57:24 PM

Hank- A buddy of mine makes chili with jalepenos, and it sounds great. I'm just reluctant to use them out of fear they will overwhelm the taste of the meat. That's something to keep in mind though, and I might try that with ground beef chili first. Lori- I'd like to try tomato paste. I feel a little cheap and putting ketchup on meats, but it sure gives chili a great taste. I bet tomato paste would have the same effect and make me feel a little better about it. I've decided I'm definitely making my own summer sausage with your recipe, so I'll be sure to keep you posted on that.

1/23/2009 10:06:44 AM

Hi Caleb! Looks like you came up with a winner! Don't let the kitchen scare you! I usually always end up modifying a recipe in some way when I'm cooking. In most cases, things will not fall apart if you break the rules. You used a lot of the same ingredients I do in my chili. One difference is I never used ketchup. I usually add tomato paste to thicken mine up a bit. I like to have it so that it will make a nice clump on the spoon when lifted from the pot, and go PLUNK when dropped back into the pot! How's that for a description! :^) I will have to try using ketchup next time! I'll be anxious to here what you think of the summer sausage!

hank will_2
1/22/2009 4:56:20 PM

That venison chili looks positively delicious, Caleb. I am glad you didn't load it up with too many beans and tomatoes. You might try my favorite recipe for chili sometime: sauté the meat and a diced onion or two in the pot add about a half cup of diced jalapeno pepper add sufficient water to cover all the above add salt, cayenne ground cominos, fresh smashed garlic cloves and chili powder to taste Simmer until done. Serve with fresh hot cornbread baked in an iron skillet.