Dutch Oven Venison Chili

dutch oven with deer antlers


Chili recipes are many, but this one is just the best. Dutch Ovens have been used by New England Settlers for hundreds of years. A flange lid was added to keep the coals of the fire on the lid and out of the food.  (My family has been cooking fish and wild game on the New England shores for 375 years, like you, I am proud to carry on the tradition to cook and serve wild game to family and friends that I killed by my own hands with bow or rifle.) Today Dutch Ovens are also ceramic coated and provide an ideal way to makes stew’s and chili. If you don’t have a Dutch oven use a 4 quart or larger pot with a lid and cook it on the stove-top, that works just fine, no worries, my hunting and culinary friends.

One thing we know about venison, there is almost no fat in the meat. Ground venison is almost 100% lean meat, a good thing for making this chili but some fat is needed to carry flavor so I use bacon as do many chili recipes out there.  I use three or 4 strips of lightly smoked bacon ( hickory smoked works well) and chop it up or slice thin.

The venison is best when rough ground as it has lots of body to the meat. The first time I made this recipe this year I used ground turkey and it came out fabulous, it is hard to screw up this recipe. Of course you can use beef, and I have, just skim off the excess fat if you use 85% lean beef.

2 lbs of ground Venison

3/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Garlic powder or 4 to 6 garlic cloves chopped fine.

2 to 3 medium yellow onions chopped

1 large bell pepper chopped

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Chipoltle pepper Powder (smoky flavor) (optional)

1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper (use 1/2 tsp Cayanne if no Ancho pepper is used)

1/4 tsp Ancho pepper (optional) (sweet, medium hot and smokey)

1 tbsp whole Cumin Seed or 1 1/2 tsp powdered Cumin

1 tsp dry mustard (Coleman’s)

1 tsp Oregano

1 large 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes in pure’ ( not diced, too soupy)

1 tbsp sugar or 2 tablespoons molasses (richer flavor)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.(remember to shake before pouring)

2 cans of red kidney beans. I use a can of light red kidney and a can of dark red kidney for looks. There are other beans that work here too, like navy beans and black beans. Experiment and be creative!


Cook the chopped bacon in the pot until it begins to fry and render the fat. Add 2 pounds venison (more or less)  to the pot with the salt and pepper and cook medium heat till the meat begins to brown. Break up the meat with a wood spatula if it clumps.  Add chopped onion and green pepper and spices and stir. Some recipes toast the spices, mustard,pepper spices,tyme, oregano and Cumin in a separate pan till it smokes. You can do this too if you wish. I find that it makes more pans to wash and does not add much in the way of flavor. The Chipoltle and Ancho spice adds a smoke flavor all by themselves.

Add the crushed tomatoes, Worcester sauce, sugar or molasses, three cups of water, stir and bring to a boil then reduce heat so it is just bubbling on low heat for 1 hour then add the beans or cook on the stove-top (my method with lid on) on low heat for 1 hour so the chili is just bubbling. This is a great camp wood stove recipe too as you can simmer on a wood stove for hours. Simmer for another 30 minutes and check for spice and salt to add before serving. It is the savory flavor of cumin that really makes this dish come alive. Some folks like it really hot, not me so place cumin, salt, pepper and hot pepper on the table to doctor your own piping hot bowl. Garnish your bowl of chili with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro or sliced hot green peppers, and serve with your favorite bread. Great for a cold winter night! Wow! I am getting hungry just writing this…

Enjoy! ©2014



You can use a cup of beer and two cups water to bring to boil instead of just water. Or you can substitute beef stock for the water. It is tough to ruin this dish most you can do is to make the recipe yours!









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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game
such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.