This venison chili recipe is full of flavor and spice from poblano peppers, jalapeno, and chili rojo powder. Simmered low and slow until all of the flavors meld together creating a hearty chili recipe that will keep you warm and satisfied.
My husband shot his first deer this past season and now our household deep freezer is overflowing with all kinds of cuts of venison.
My father in law was a meat cutter many years ago and kindly processed all of the meat for us (so much work!). We are super grateful.
Venison, or deer meat, is lean, with a slightly gamey taste to it. Venison chili is a great starter recipe using ground venison. It doesn't have to vary much from traditional chili, if at all. This deer chili recipe calls for a few tweaks to really make it shine and is perfect for novice and seasoned venison chefs.
Tips for making the best venison chili
- A little but of acid! Acid helps cut through the gamey taste they venison can sometimes have. Whether this be citrus, vinegar, or even red wine, adding a bit of acid is a great addition to any chili recipe. I went with straight white vinegar here to keep it simple.
- Another thing that will help take your chili to the next level to make sure there is enough fat. This recipe has a decent amount of oil when sauteeing the peppers and onions at the beginning. Venison is naturally a very lean cut of meat. When my father in law processes the meat, he actually adds fat into the ground venison to help it from drying out and make it more flavorful. When cooking with ground venison you want to use a little more fat than you normally would in whatever recipe you are making, to keep it nice and moist!
Ingredients for venison chili
- Ground venison meat: You can also use venison stew meat.
- Poblano peppers: Poblanos add a touch of heat, but nothing crazy. I often freeze poblano peppers because they grow well in our garden and are great in chili and Stuffed Poblano Peppers.
- Jalapeno: Jalapeno adds some heat, but cooking it mellows it out. Like poblanos, I like to keep frozen jalapenos on hand.
- Chili powder: I used chili rojo, but any chili powder will work.
- Kidney Beans: I only add one can, but feel free to double it if you like a lot of beans in your chili or leave them out if you prefer none at all.
- Beef stock: I like to add stock instead of water when possible to add extra flavor. Use venison stock if you have it!
- White vinegar: Vinegar is my secret ingredient to venison chili. A little acid complements deer meat really well.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients.
Substitutions and Variations
- No beans. Some places, like Texas, do not traditionally put beans in their chili. Feel free to omit them.
- Other beans. Instead if kidney beans, try pinto beans or black beans.
- Sweet Bell Pepper. Poblano peppers (along with diced jalapeno) add a little bit of heat to this ground venison chili. If you would like, you can swap in any color bell pepper instead.
How to make ground venison chili
Step 1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in diced poblano peppers, minced jalapeno, and diced onion.
Step 2. Saute for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Step 3. Add ground venison and brown, breaking up the deer meat with a wooden spoon periodically. Continue browning until meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Step 4. Add in canned diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, chili rojo, cumin, and salt. Cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer chili on low heat for 30 minutes.
Step 5. Remove lid and add kidney beans (drained and rinsed), along with the vinegar. Simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
How to serve venison chili
Serve venison chili with your favorite traditional chili toppings! We love small pasta noodles, avocado, cheese, and sour cream! Some other chili toppings to try:
- hot sauce
- diced onion
- add it to crock pot chili cheese dip
You can serve sour cream cornbread on the side. I have even heard of some people serving chili with a side of cinnamon rolls! Who knew?
Storage and Reheating
- Refrigerator: Store chili in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Chili freezes very well and can be kept for several months that way.
- Thaw: Thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge.
If you tried this Venison Chili Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love to hear from you.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lb. ground venison meat
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced
- 2 poblano peppers diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 ½ tbsp. chili powder I used chili rojo
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 24 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup beef stock or venison stock if you have it!
- 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in diced poblano peppers, minced jalapeno, and diced onion. Saute for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add ground venison and brown, breaking up the deer meat with a wooden spoon periodically. Continue browning until meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Add in canned diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, chili rojo, and salt.
- Cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer chili on low heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and add kidney beans (drained and rinsed), along with the vinegar. Simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite chili toppings.