Forget About Pumpkin Spice, It’s Deer Chili Season!

Forget About Pumpkin Spice, It’s Deer Chili Season!
This recipe was sent to us by our Hunt Lift Eat Team Member Jessica Vaughan. We wanted to share to ya'll so you can get it done in the backwoods, and the kitchen! Forget about your pumpkin spice, it's deer chili season! Thanks for reading! 

There's no doubt there's easy ways to make chili, but I LOVE making everything from scratch and letting it cook for several hours so it’s rich and full of flavor. Starting all the way with dried chilis and ground venison, this recipe is worth the little bit of extra work in the end!

This can definitely be modified for your preference! I prefer a thicker, more stock-based chili that packs a little punch. You can always add more tomato paste, beans, more liquid, or take away some of the spice for your own preferences. My favorite part? BEER as the stock! If you haven’t tried this yet – trust me - you won’t go back. Not only are you adding 2-3 to the meal, but you can also enjoy a few while it cooks! If beer is not your thing, beef stock works great, too!


3 pounds ground venison or stew cut

½ pound bacon diced, about 6 slices (optional)

12 dried chilis, I prefer a mix of ancho and guajillo

2-3 cups boiling water

1 cup black coffee

1 medium white or yellow onion, diced

1 elephant ear garlic clove, about 4-5 small cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chipotle powder

1 tablespoon mustard powder

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

3-5 tablespoons tomato sauce

24-32 ounces beer, or beef stock

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Remove the tops and seeds from all of the chilis. Boil 2-3 cups of water, how much you need will depend on the size of the chilis you use and the depth of your sauce pan. If you’re unsure, boil extra to be safe and you can pour out any excess. Once the water is boiling, pour over the chilis and let soak for an hour.

2. Over high heat brown the venison and diced bacon together in a skillet or your chili pot, season to taste (I typically do salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder), and drain if desired.

3. If you cooked your meat in a skillet, transfer to large stock pot and add in diced onion and minced garlic and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft.

4. While the onion and garlic are cooking with the meat - Add chilis to a blender or processor with 1 cup black coffee and 1 cup of the water used to soak them. Blend until pure consistency, no remaining chunks of chilis, and set aside.

5. Add chipotle powder, mustard powder, smoked paprika to pot with meat, onions, and garlic cooking. Stir well to combine.

6. Add the chili mixture and tomato paste (less if you don’t like as much of a tomato-based chili, more if you do), and once again stir well to combine. Then, add beer or beef stock. Water here is also an option but may lack adding any additional flavor. You do want it to be on the thinner side at this point, as it cooks it will thicken. As it starts to cook you will know if you need to add a few more ounces or not, to reached desired thickness.

7. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. You will want to offset the lid from the pot while simmering to allow the stock/liquid to cook down and thicken.

8. Add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

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