Field To Table | Soups & Stews

Chunky Venison Chili, Slow Cooker Version

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This Chunky Venison Chili is so very tender and it was made with one of the tougher cuts of the deer, from the rear leg. The trick is to brown the venison chunks over very high heat, quickly.

Chunky Venison Chili

The slow cooker makes this cut, normally just ground for burger, into a chili that you would never realize is even venison.

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Eric has tricked friends and told them it was filet of beef! 🙂 (and they believed him!)

I know you probably won’t believe me, but if you try this chili, you will not believe it is not filet!

What cuts to use for chili

Use any cuts from the back legs or rump section of the deer. These tougher cuts lend themselves well to slow cooking to tenderize the meat.

Another key to cooking these tougher cuts is to make sure that you remove all of the tendon that has multiple layers between the good meat. The tendon is hard to chew and your chili will not be as tender.

The Origins of Chili con Carne

As with a lot of dishes that we eat here in America, Chili con Carne is not a native dish from Mexico. Even though it is attributed to Mexico, like many dishes, immigrants probably modified an existing recipe to take advantage of locally sourced ingredients.

One account, attributes the dish to Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain. She was known as the Lady in Blue, and is said to have never left Spain. After a trance, she supposedly wrote down the recipe for stew, containing venison or antelope meat, according to What’s Cooking America.

Venison Chili vs. Beef Chili

If you were to compare the 2 chilies with the exact same ingredients, and quantities, one made with venison and the other with beef, according to Outdoor Life, the venison chili would have less than half of the calories and 1/6th of the saturated fat! Thus, venison chili is the healthier choice.

Between Eric and both boys we usually end up with over 300 pounds of meat. It really helps with the grocery bills.

The only drawback, or not depending on how you look at it, is that I have to get creative with my recipes, or we would get very sick of eating venison.

Here are some of the great recipes I have come up with for making different venison recipes!

What you need

  • venison roast or stew meat
  • onion
  • celery
  • peppers; sweet and hot
  • chipotle in adobo
  • assorted beans; pinto, chili, light or dark kidney beans, black eyed peas
  • tomatoes
  • fresh or roasted garlic
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • granulated garlic
  • oregano or Mexican oregano
  • chili powder
  • salt (use our spicy salt for an added kick) and pepper
  • cornmeal
venison chili with cornbread on the sidePin

How to make it

  1. Brown meat in a little olive oil over high heat.
  2. Add celery and onions to same pan. Turn heat down.
  3. Cook until golden colored and vegetables are soft. Add everything to slow cooker.
  4. Add tomatoes.
  5. Chop peppers. (If using fresh peppers, soften them with onion and celery.)
  6. Add spices to chili. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours.
Step by step phots for how to make chili. See details in recipe below.Pin

Let your chili cook for a couple days. I usually start the slow cooker on high, until it boils, then turn it down to low and cook for about 5 hours. Refrigerate it over night.

chunky venison chili up close with beans and green onion and cheese garnishPin

The next day, scrape off any fat that accumulated on the top. Turn the slow cooker on high again, until it boils. Then reduce heat to low. Cook it again for about 5 hours.

The cooling off and reheating, not only improves the texture, it lets the flavors all mingle together.

Who hasn’t said that the soup or stew tasted better the second day? The same goes for chili! I never skip this step, I feel it’s that important!! Of course, it is certainly edible the first day it is cooked, just better day two!

About an hour before serving add corn meal. It thickens up the chili nicely and adds extra flavor.

Chilies are a great place to hide extra veges

venison chili in white bowl with black rim with cheese and green onion garnishPin

I always add lots of veges and beans to my chili. This batch I cleaned out the freezer of all the small bags of roasted sweet and hot peppers and garlic from my garden last summer.

Any vegetable you have on hand is great to add to chili though.

venison chili heaped up in white bowl, close upPin

Tools I Use to Make Chunky Venison Chili

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Want to learn more about How to Cook Venison? Don’t miss our awesome, Ultimate Guide! Complete with 65 FREE Recipes from some of the top venison recipe developers in the world!

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Chunky venison chili in white bowl with black trim.Pin

Chunky Venison Chili – Slow Cooker Version

Chunky venison chili only takes a few minutes to put together but it slow cooks for 2 days! So tender, you won’t believe it’s venison!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: entree
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Slow Cooker: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings +
Calories: 226kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $4


  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb beef we used sirloin steak, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 lb venison remove all tendons and silver skin, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 3 stalks Celery diced
  • 1 Pepper roasted or fresh, diced
  • 2 Chipotle in adobo and tablespoons of juice, minced
  • 2 cans beans assorted
  • 3 28 oz diced tomatoes I used frozen
  • 1 head roasted garlic or mince 3 large cloves fresh
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp garlic, granulated
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tbsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal if the chili has a lot of liquid, I may add up to 1/4 cup


  • Add olive oil to cast pan, if you have one, over high heat. Brown beef first. (The reason I use a little beef is because it adds a bit of much need fat to the chili) 
  • Once beef is browned remove it to slow cooker with slotted spoon. Add a bit more oil, if you need to between batches. Then brown venison, in batches. Add it to the slow cooker when browned.
  • Add a bit more oil and reduce heat on pan. Sauté onion, celery and peppers (if using fresh). 
  • When they are soft, add garlic and soften that until it is fragrant.
  • Add some of the tomatoes to the same pan and scrape the fond (browned bits). 
  • Add all of the rest ingredients to the slow cooker. Turn heat to high until it boils. Turn down and cook on low for about 5 hours.
  • Refrigerate overnight. The next day, scrape the accumulated fat off the top of the chili. Again, turn slow cooker to high until chili boils. Then reduce heat and cook for another 4 hours or so. Then add corn meal and stir in. Cook for another 30 minutes- 1 hour. Serve with cheese, green onions, jalapeño slices, sour cream or whatever other toppings you like.
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This venison chili can be made without the beef, but is far superior with beef. It adds to much needed fat to the dish.
Cooling the chili overnight makes the it so much better! There is no comparison to chili that has been cooked one day.
Perfect garnishes for chili:
  • green onion
  • cheese
  • creme fraiche or sour cream
  • queso fresco or cotija
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • pickled jalapeno
Serve with cornbread. (Mandatory in my opinion!)


Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 539mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 2.9mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 5.6mg
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  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and it’s really good. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try the recipe.

    1. Not only does the cornmeal thicken the chili up, it also adds that nice corn taste. (We love cornbread with our chili.) I just add a few tablespoons. If the chili is really thin, I may increase that to 1/4 cup. Thank you for stopping by! Happy New Year!

  2. 5 stars
    What a great method of cooking venison. Thanks for the tips. This chili sounds soooooooo good! I love all those veggies in the chili too.

  3. 5 stars
    I love that you used a mix of beef and venison for your stew to get a mild gamey flavour! I love hearty stews like this!

    1. I use very little beef and only because the venison is so lean, it benefits from the fat in the beef. It has none of that gamey taste, if cooked properly! Thanks, Kik!

  4. so curious to try this! I had a venison burger a few years ago and it was seriously incredible! It was at my parents best friends house in CT…He’s hunted deer his whole life, I was always afraid to try (Philly girl, lol) it and then I did and it was one of the best burgers of my life.

    1. That’s funny. I get the same reaction from many of the people I talk into trying it! When it is cooked properly, it is seriously delicious! Thank you Colleen!

  5. 5 stars
    This venison looks delicious, I cannot believe you cooked it for days. A great technique to cook it on and off. My sister gets wild boar and I wonder if I can use this recipe with wild boar

    1. I don’t see why not. I make it with pork and beef, as well! It’s always delicious! I never skip the cooling off step. It makes a huge difference. Thank you Laura!

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