Award-Winning "Texas Red" Venison Chili Recipe

3 min read

Award-Winning "Texas Red" Venison Chili Recipe

Ask five people for a chili recipe, and you'll get five different recipes. Much like there are hundreds of species of dog, all called "dog" despite their vast differences, there are thousands of chili recipes out there that don't look at all alike. Some of them don't even resemble chili, but a soup that's been adapted six times to accommodate the tastebuds of the one making it. 

This chili recipe seeks to end your need for all those other chili recipes. It's inspired by the minimalist recipes of chili's humble origins. Over the last ten years, it has evolved with little tweaks here and there, before arriving at the final version you're about to cook. The simple addition of beer and a couple of aromatics only enhance the simple flavor, without muddling it.

And in case you were wondering, It won a large chili cook-off with a unanimous decision. So, we think you'll appreciate it as well.

It's a milder chili, although you can crank up the heat if you wish. For that, you can increase the number of chipotles and jalapeños, and/or leave the ribs and seeds in them. However you choose to spice it up, we recommend trying little changes over time, rather than switching to a five-alarm variation overnight.

We are honored to publish this personal recipe of Professional Chef Luke Shaffer, with his permission. You can read more about him at the end of this recipe. Without further ado... 

Texas Red Chili Recipe

Table array of ingredients for Texas Red Chili, next to a bowl of the finished chili with cheese and corn chips on top

**​Note: "If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans!​"**


Chili Ingredients Needed:

2ea dried ancho chili, stemmed, seeded 

2ea dried chipotle chili, stemmed, seeded

2ea dried guajillo chili, stemmed, seeded

1ea 14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes

2c beef stock/broth (low/no sodium preferred)

2T bacon fat/lard/tallow/ or canola oil

2lbs ground venison

½ea yellow onion, very fine dice

1ea jalapeno, stemmed and seeded (or leave seeds in for more heat), very fine dice

2ea garlic clove, pasted

1T Mexican oregano

1T cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

½ea 12 oz beer, nothing too hoppy or malty (you know what to do with the other half)


Let's Make The Best Chili You've Ever Had:

  1. Place chilis in a heat proof bowl, cover with hot water to rehydrate (15 minutes)
  1. Remove chilis with tongs to a blender, add canned tomato and 1 cup of the beef broth
  1. Blend until super smooth
  1. Heat fat in a heavy pot (dutch oven preferred)
  1. Add onion and jalapeno, saute until translucent

onions and jalapeños being sauteed in a pan for chili
Almost makes me want to cry

    1. Add garlic
    1. Add venison, oregano, cumin, salt*, and pepper

    venison meat and spices being mixed for chili
      1. Saute until very well browned, but not burned
      1. Add beer and reduce liquid almost completely
      1. Add pepper/tomato puree from the blender and remaining cup of beef broth

      Add tomato and pepper puree to chili recipe

        1. Bring to an aggressive simmer, stir to prevent scorching

        Venison chili being stirred in saucepan to prevent scorching
        Always have a spatula on hand when you cook your chili. Nobody likes it burnt. Keep it nearby on one of our silicone trivets

          1. Turn heat down low and simmer for about an hour with the lid on (stirring occasionally)
          1. Remove lid and simmer to reduce until desired consistency
          1. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary
          1. Enjoy with Fritos and cheese! Other accoutrements may include: sour cream, cilantro, diced red or yellow onion, saltines, or cornbread.

          Finished axis meat red chili with cheese and frito chips on topI wish I still had some left, as I post this. I want to eat it.


          *remember that you can always add more salt later, but you can never take it out*

          Cooked in my trusty Camo Apron:

          Recipe shared with permission from Luke Shaffer. Luke is a passionate culinary artist with a love for the outdoors, and prefers to make this with wild venison he's hunted himself. When he's not cooking, hunting, or fishing, he's talking about it on the Camo and Hooks Podcast.

          When you try this recipe, let us know! Send your review and pics to

          Did you love this chili, or what? Save it on Pinterest!

          Collage of pictures from making Texas Red Chili with Axis deer meat, with text overlay describing it.

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