The Best Venison Chili Recipe
This chili has claimed two office chili cookoffs and earned numerous mentions at friends gatherings. These meaningless accolades don’t do much for prestige, but we can say with confidence that this chili will steal the show.
This is a nontraditional chili—it does not use grind or tomato paste. It’s also one of our favorite ways to use both garden tomatoes and some of those smaller roasts or large cuts that aren’t quite enough to make a family meal of, but are too good to just toss into a grind pile. The leftovers also are fantastic to make nachos—just reheat on the stove, add cheese and dump over chips. So good.
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Double Smoked Venison Chili Recipe:
1-2 Small venison roasts (3-4 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 TB Tacticalories Bruiser Blend seasoning (or your favorite red meat seasoning)
5-6 cups blanched tomatoes
1/2 TBS red pepper flakes
2 Large green peppers, diced
1/2 Sweet red pepper, diced
3/4 Large onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of dark red kidney beans
1 15 oz. can of light red kidney beans
1/2 cup of BBQ sauce
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS paprika
2 TBS chili powder
2 tsp ancho chili powder
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
Ideally you will prep your meat 24 hours before you smoke it to allow great seasoning penetration, but if it’s the same day, that’s OK, too. Trim your cuts of venison of any and all fat, yes, even including the finer fat layers and silver skin and wash to clean from hair and bone fragments. Coat the meat in your seasoning of choice or the Tacticalories. Depending on the size of your cut(s), you may need more or less seasoning. It’s OK to use various cuts because it’s just going to get diced.
Before smoking your venison, let the meat sit at room temp for at least half an hour. Cold meats and heavy smoke can cause a bitter taste. This is from the smoke's creosote adhering to the meat.
Preheat the smoker to 225º and use an applewood for the smoke. Add your venison to the smoker when the smoke is blue (green smoke means creosote) and using a meat thermometer, cook to 125º. Pull the meat from the smoker, add more wood and bring smoker to 300º.
I find this recipe to be a perfect use of my garden tomato boom that always happens late season. I simply freeze tomatoes throughout the year by tossing them into a gallon freezer bag, and when ready to make chili, I know I need about a gallon or two of tomatoes. I boil water, toss in the tomatoes for about 1 minute and the skins fall right off. Do this while the meat smokes. If you don’t have garden tomatoes, you can use stewed or canned tomatoes in the same quantities.
If your smoker will not hold a dutch oven, you can do this in a crockpot or on the stove. However, the “double smoke” does come from smoking the chili itself. The dutch oven on the smoker continues to pull in smoke. You will not cover the chili at any point.
As the smoker increases to 300º, coat the bottom of your dutch oven with enough olive oil to give a heavy coat to the bottom, and add the red pepper flakes, peppers, and onion. Stir a few times as it cooks for 10 minutes. Then mix in the garlic, stir, and cook for 10 more minutes.
Drain the beans then add them, the tomatoes and BBQ sauce. Stir it up while adding in all of your spices. Cook for 30 minutes, then give it a good stir, then go 30 more minutes. You will stir every 30 minutes for about 3 hours of total cook time. The meat goes in for the final 30 minutes.
While your chili cooks, the meat is ready to cut. Slice it as thin as you possibly can, and always slice against the grain. Pieces should be thin, and also no more than half an inch wide. Add during the final 30 minutes of cooking. You’ll know the chili is getting close to ready when the liquid on top has largely evaporated (some moisture is good—you don’t want to cook it all off).
Serve with sour cream, crackers and sharp cheddar cheese.
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