Venison Chili

Today I want to share with you a chili recipe I’ve been making for years. I will give you the base recipe, but I probably do not make it the same way twice. That is the beauty of it, though! If you don’t have one of the ingredients, substitute something similar and it will still come out great!

This recipe has always been a crowd pleaser, so be prepared to have frequent requests for it! Chili is an interesting meal, because most people have their “favorite” chili, whether they ate it as a child or have been making their own for years. It has this way of being etched in our minds and everyone has an opinion! Most keep their chili recipe a secret so it cannot be duplicated. You would not want someone copying yours for the next chili cook-off! Haha! To be honest, I considered not sharing mine, but being the generous person I am, I decided to let my secret be known!

So, again, this is the base recipe. I will give you some ideas for changes or extras at the end!


  • 4 T butter
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I usually double this because I love garlic!)
  • 4 T dark brown sugar
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 4 T red wine vinegar
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth (find out how to make your own HERE)
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 2 lbs ground venison
  • 2 cups black beans, cooked and drained


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the onion and garlic and saute for several minutes, until softened. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for a couple more minutes. Next, add in the red wine, vinegar, tomato paste, broth, tomatoes, and all the seasonings. Let this simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
  2. Put parchment paper on a rimmed cooking sheet and place the bacon on top. Cook the bacon at 400 until cooked, but not crisp. Once you have drained off the grease and it has cooled, you will then rip the bacon into small pieces. While that is in the oven, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain.
  3. Once the liquid mixture has simmered for 30 minutes, then add in the ground meat, bacon, and beans. Mix everything together and let it simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Extra Ideas:

  1. If you don’t have diced tomatoes, you can used stewed tomatoes or even omit this completely.
  2. I usually do 1 tsp of cayenne for a little more heat. You can adjust the amount to your liking.
  3. I also up the chili powder to 1 tsp.
  4. If you have jalapenos on hand, you can dice them up and add them in with the onions and garlic.
  5. Don’t have black beans? You can easily add in your favorite OR if you are not a bean person, you can leave them out as well.
  6. As far as the ground meat, you do not have to use venison. Ground beef will work just fine! Depending on who I am cooking it for, I will sometimes use ground chuck instead. But…for people who say they do not like venison because it has a gamey flavor—with all the flavors going on in this recipe they will never know. LOL

I told you this recipe was versatile! Now, you can modify it to your liking and make it YOUR secret recipe! Enjoy!!

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