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Favorite Venison Chili Recipes of Outdoor Channel Stars

With cool temperatures invading weekend football tailgating and deer camps across the nation, try these comfort food recipes from Outdoor Channel celebrities to keep you warm and in good spirits

Favorite Venison Chili Recipes of Outdoor Channel Stars
Gregg Ritz's Venison Chili with Cornbread Chive Belgian Waffles (Photo courtesy of Gregg Ritz)
Print Recipe

No one truly knows the origins of chili. The earliest reference belongs to American Indian legend, which dates back to the 1600s when the Jumano Indians of present-day western Texas saw visions of a “lady in blue,” "La Dama de Azul," who taught them how to cook a spicy red stew of venison, onion, tomatoes and chili peppers.

Food historians attributed this mysterious lady to Sister Mary of Agreda, a nun who actually never left her convent in Spain but would plunge into religious rapture for days, during which angels transported her spirit to spread the word of God in the New World, all the while bestowing to the natives a recipe that would later become known to Texans as chile con carne.

Other hypotheses exist concerning the origin of chili, but I found this one to be most interesting; it credits the first chili made to venison.

A quintessentially American dish, with influences from south of the border and possibly across the sea, chili has played an important role in nourishing cowboys, adventurers, and outlaws on the Western frontier. Its popularity took off by the end of the Civil War, and by World War II, family-run chili parlors existed all over Texas and other states to provide cheap meals for the poor during the Great Depression.

One hundred fifty years later, the dish’s identity has not changed. Today, chili recipes remain easy, inexpensive and unassuming — a dish that is still enjoyed by many. Though typically cooked with beef, venison chili is a no-brainer among hunters. It’s every bit as delicious as beef chili and healthier, too — at least before all the shredded cheese and sour cream is added.

Take a look at these delicious venison chili recipes from the Outdoor Channel stars. Save them in your recipe box; you’ll need them when the weather grows cold.

Venison Chili ‘Crush’ Cornbread Cupcakes

Recipe by: Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, Crush

Venison Chili CRUSH Cornbread Cupcakes
Venison Chili “Crush” Cornbread Cupcakes (Photo courtesy of Lee and Tiffany Lakosky)


  • Cornbread mix
  • Ground venison
  • Chili seasoning packet
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Green onion, chopped


1. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups, and using your favorite cornbread recipe, bake six cupcakes.

2. In a pan, brown ground venison and add preferred chili seasoning packet, one can of diced tomatoes and one can of black beans. Combine and let simmer for 20 minutes. Quantities may vary depending on size of your crowd.


3. With a spoon, scoop out the center of each cornbread muffin. Place a dollop of chili into each center. Add desired toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped green onion. Enjoy!

Venison Chili with Cornbread Chive Belgian Waffles

Recipe by: Gregg Ritz, Hunt Masters

Venison Chili Cornbread Chive Belgian Waffles
Gregg Ritz's Venison Chili with Cornbread Chive Belgian Waffles (Photo courtesy of Gregg Ritz)


  • Venison steak
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Chili seasoning packet
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Belgian waffle mix
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • Extra ½ cup of milk
  • Chives, chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Green onions, chopped


1. Slice a venison steak into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a sauté pan and brown venison. Add a packet of your favorite chili seasoning, one can of diced tomatoes and one can of black beans.

2. Mix your favorite Belgian waffle mix accordingly, adding a cup of cornmeal and an extra 1/2 cup of milk, and stir well. Add a handful of chopped chives. Using a Belgian waffle iron, cook as directed.

3. Place two Belgian waffles on a plate and top with venison chili. Add sour cream, cheese and green onions. Enjoy!

Holder’s Venison Chili

Recipe by: David and Karin Holder, Raised Hunting


  • 1 pound of your choice meat (venison, elk or antelope)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Peppers or green chilies, chopped (optional)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 beef bouillon cube (e.g. Knorr’s)
  • Canned beans (optional)
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, chopped peppers, corn chips, etc.


1. Sauté the meat, onions, garlic, and if you like spicy, peppers. Add a can of stewed tomatoes— any variety. Add 1 can of tomato juice and 1 tablespoon of chili powder; add more chili powder if desired. Add 1 beef bouillon cube.

2. Optional: Some people don’t care for beans. If you do like beans, any variation of would be good. I add chili beans and/or kidney beans. I also like black beans, too. Simmer chili for one hour, and then take off heat and let sit until ready to eat. Top with shredded cheese, chopped peppers, or a favorite in our house is corn chips.

Drury’s ‘Always Different’ Venison Chili

Recipe by: Miranda and Matthew Drury, Drury Outdoors

drury always different chili
Miranda and Matthew Drury's ‘Always Different’ Venison Chili (Photo courtesy of Miranda and Matthew Drury)

“My wife wanted to add that she never follows this recipe directly, but this is more or less the basic recipe. You’ll notice she doesn’t use beans—that’s because I’m a baby and don’t like them :) LOL. Her chili is always different and always TASTY!”


  • 2 pounds of ground venison
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of diced tomato (the kind with chili seasoning)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can of Rotel
  • 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar


1. Brown the meat and season with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder to taste. Drain grease off and return meat to pot.

2. Dump in tomato sauce, diced tomato, Rotel and tomato paste. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar and season again with onion and chili powder to taste.

3. Allow chili to simmer for 45 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of dark bottle beer (any kind) for optional flavoring.

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