What Does Venison Taste Like?

Venison meat chopped up in bowl

Venison tastes a bit like beef, but is smoother in texture and slightly firmer.

In my opinion, it is the best meat out there, but you need to ensure it has been culled and prepared correctly – just as you would with any other animal.

Flavour wise it tastes a little like beef, but with less fat, and slightly more gamey.

Whether you like gamey flavours is down to your personal preference, but I and many others do, although, if the meat has prepared correctly, then venison should no be too gamey at all.

Does venison taste better than beef?

This will depend on a lot of factors, but if cooked and prepared correctly, then yes, venison can taste better than beef.

Whether venison tastes better than beef will very much depend on your own tastes and how the venison has been cooked.

As beef is likely to have been part of your diet from an early age, then you will know that beef can taste amazingly good, and well as rather bad, depending on how it has been prepared and cooked.

The same goes for venison.

If it has been prepared and then cooked correctly, depending on the cut etc, then as a meat eater you will likely love it.

However, if it has not, then you will either find it too chewy, or dry.

If this is your first experience of venison, then it’s not going to win you over.

So please, make sure it’s of a decent quality and has been correctly cooked so you will likely enjoy it.

I will link up to a recipe I use further down the page.

Is venison chewy?

No, venison is not chewy if it’s cooked correctly.

If pan frying venison fillet for example, it is easy to over do it and make it chewy, just like if you were cooking a beef steak.

Knowing your cook times is essential.

I usually cook mine to around medium rare, so they are cooked through, but still slightly pink in the middle.

I would also recommend not crowding the pan, to allow steam to escape etc, other side you can end up boiling the fillet instead of frying it.

Stick to 3-4 pieces at a time.

Why is venison so popular?

Venison’s popularity has increased massively in recent years.

This is largely down to the public being more aware of intensive farming practices and looking elsewhere to more sustainable options.

There is nothing more sustainable on the meat front than wild venison.

The deer have normally been living a very clean and wild existence, grazing on wild plants and shrubs.

This is reflected in the flavour of the meat.

And the main reason for its popularity… it tastes great!

Is venison more expensive than beef?

Venison is far more popular than it once was, and as such, the supply has increased and prices reduced.

In reality though, venison is still likely to be more expensive than beef, due to it not being a commodity product.

It’s not always the case though, and can actually be really good value if you find a good supplier.

Even better, befriend a keen deer stalker and they should hopefully have a steady and regular supply for you.

Or better still, take up stalking yourself!

As a comparison, shop bought venison mince here in the UK comes in at approx £17.50 per kilo.

Good quality organic beef mince from the same supplier comes in at approx £12.60 per kilo.

Price per kilo
Good quality organic beef mince£12.60
Good quality venison mince£17.50

Is venison gamey?

If the animal has been correctly killed, gralloched and then stored correctly, then the venison should not taste ‘gamey’.

Like all game, the key is the preparation and ultimately how the animal (or bird) has then been stored.

Venison has its own flavour, and if cooked correctly, is a truly delicious meat.

If you have concerns over whether you might not like the flavour, then I would recommend trying some venison burgers to start with, or venison sausages.

Your local butchers or supermarket should stock these.

Or, if you fancy having a crack yourself, try my delicious venison burgers recipe.

Can you eat venison rare?

Whilst it is technically possible to eat venison rare, it is not recommended.

You should always cook venison to be on the safe side.

How Long Does Venison Last in the Fridge?

Red Deer Stag standing side on

As a hunter and someone who enjoys the taste of venison, it’s essential to know how long venison can last in the fridge.

This knowledge not only keeps your meat fresh and tasty but also ensures it is safe for consumption.

In this article, we will discuss the shelf life of deer meat in the refrigerator and some factors to consider when storing it.

Venison, or deer meat, lasts in the fridge for about 2-3 days at 40°F (4°C) before cooking or using it.

However, it can last up to 5 days if stored properly.

To maintain freshness, keep the meat in an airtight container to minimise exposure to air and bacteria.

Additionally, aging deer meat in a controlled environment for 3 to 7 days, though not necessary, can improve its flavour and tenderness.

To dry age venison, place it on a rack in a refrigerator set at 34-37°F (1-3°C) with good airflow.

Understanding how to store venison is essential to help you enjoy your meat to its fullest potential.

By following the guidelines mentioned above, you can keep venison flavourful, tender, and safe to consume.

Happy cooking!

Storing Venison in the Fridge

Optimal Refrigeration Conditions

To ensure proper storage of venison in the fridge, maintain an optimal temperature between 1°C and 4°C, which helps maintain the quality and safety of the meat.

A refrigerator thermometer comes in handy to accurately monitor the temperature inside the fridge.

When it comes to the storage container, I prefer using airtight containers or sealing the meat tightly in plastic wrap to keep out excess moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria and mould.

Storing the venison on the lowest shelf of the fridge helps prevent cross-contamination with other foods.

The shelf life of venison in the fridge varies depending on its freshness.

In general, raw venison should last between 3 to 5 days under optimal conditions, while cooked venison can last between 3 to 4 days if properly stored in airtight containers (source).

Identifying Freshness and Spoilage

Keeping a close eye on the venison’s freshness is crucial when it comes to safe consumption.

Knowing how to identify spoilage in venison is essential and prevents consuming unsafe meat.

Here are a few indicators that venison has spoiled:

  • Colour: Fresh venison has a characteristic deep red colour. If it becomes dull or dark brown, it might be a sign of spoilage.
  • Odour: A distinct off-putting odour usually indicates bacterial growth and spoilage in venison.
  • Texture: When touching the surface of the venison, if it feels slimy or sticky, it’s likely that it has spoiled.

In summary, when storing venison in the fridge, I always ensure optimal temperature and storage conditions to maintain its quality and safety.

Additionally, keeping an eye on the venison’s freshness by checking for any signs of spoilage is vital for safe consumption.

Freezing and Thawing Practices

When it comes to preserving venison, freezing and thawing practices are of utmost importance.

In this section, I’ll discuss proper freezing techniques and safe defrosting methods to ensure high-quality venison and food safety.

Proper Freezing Techniques

The first step to freezing venison is to ensure it’s cooled quickly after processing.

Quick freezing helps maintain the quality and freshness of the meat.

Before freezing venison, I recommend using high-quality packaging materials, such as vacuum sealer bags or freezer paper.

This prevents freezer burn and allows the meat to maintain its freshness.

A vacuum sealer is especially useful, as it removes air from the packaging and seals in freshness.

Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Trim excess fat from the venison, as it can turn rancid in the freezer.
  2. Wrap the meat in individual portions using freezer paper.
  3. Place the wrapped meat in vacuum sealer bags or zip-top freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Seal the bags tightly.
  4. Label and date the packages to keep track of when they were frozen.
  5. Store the venison in the coldest part of the freezer, typically at or below 0°F (-18°C).

With proper freezing techniques, venison can last up to 6-9 months in the freezer with minimal loss in quality.

Safe Defrosting Methods

When it’s time to enjoy your venison, it’s important to use safe defrosting practices to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and maintain the quality of the meat.

There are three common methods: refrigerator thawing, cold water thawing, and microwave defrosting.

  1. Refrigerator thawing: To defrost venison in the fridge, place the frozen package on a plate or tray, and put it in the refrigerator. It’s best to allow about 24-72 hours for the meat to thaw completely, depending on the size. For added safety, place a paper towel under the meat to catch any excess liquid.
  2. Cold water thawing: To defrost venison using cold water, place the sealed package in a large bowl or sink and fill it with cold water. Submerge the package completely, and change the water every 30 minutes. This method typically thaws the meat at a rate of 1 pound per hour.
  3. Microwave defrosting: As a last resort, venison can be defrosted in the microwave, but this method may partially cook the meat and result in uneven thawing. Make sure to cook the venison immediately after microwave defrosting to ensure food safety.

Overall, refrigerator thawing is my preferred method as it’s the safest and ensures the best quality venison.

Try not to refreeze thawed venison, as it will decline in quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

For how many days can raw venison be safely stored in the refrigerator?

Raw venison can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to five days.

It is crucial to keep the temperature below 4°C (40°F) to maintain its freshness and quality.

What is the maximum period for aging venison in a fridge before it spoils?

Venison can be dry-aged in a fridge with good airflow and a temperature set at 1-3°C (34-37°F) for a period ranging from three to seven days, depending on your preference.

Aging the meat enhances its flavour and tenderness.

How many days will venison sausage retain its quality when refrigerated?

Similar to raw venison, venison sausage will retain its quality for about three to five days when refrigerated at temperature below 4°C (40°F).

Be sure to check the packaging instructions for more specific information.

What are the signs that venison is no longer fit for consumption?

When venison is no longer fit for consumption, it might exhibit a sour smell, slimy texture, or discolouration.

Trust your senses; if you notice any signs of spoilage, it’s best not to consume the meat.

How long can one expect venison jerky to last when kept in a fridge?

Venison jerky, when properly stored in a sealed container or vacuum-sealed bag, can last for one to two months in the fridge.

However, ensure to check the packaging for specific storage instructions and expiration dates.

Is it safe to refreeze venison that has previously been thawed?

It is generally safe to refreeze venison that has been previously thawed, provided it has been thawed in the refrigerator and not at room temperature.

However, keep in mind that refreezing can impact the meat’s texture and quality.

To retain its best quality, ensure proper thawing methods and don’t exceed the recommended storage time.

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Enjoyed this??? Why not take a look at how to freeze deer jerky
>>>>>>>

Can You Freeze Deer Jerky?

Deer jerky strips

Deer jerky, also known as venison jerky, is a delicious and nutritious snack enjoyed by many.

One common question that arises is whether or not it is possible to freeze deer jerky to ensure its freshness and longevity.

I am here to confidently confirm that yes, you can indeed freeze deer jerky.

Freezing venison jerky can be an effective method for preserving the tasty treat for up to 12 months.

This is mainly due to the low moisture content found in jerky, which makes it difficult for bacteria to grow.

However, it’s worth noting that freezing jerky might slightly affect its flavour and texture.

When freezing, it is recommended to portion the jerky into smaller servings and use airtight freezer bags for optimal storage.

To enjoy your frozen deer jerky at its best, simply thaw the required portion in the refrigerator before consumption.

By following these storage techniques, your deer jerky will stay flavourful and enjoyable for an extended period.

Preparing Deer Jerky for Freezing

Before freezing deer jerky, it’s essential to prepare and marinate the venison properly.

Using a sharp knife, start by slicing the meat thinly and with the grain.

Cutting with the grain ensures the jerky has a pleasant, chewy texture.

Slicing the meat thinly allows it to absorb the marinade better and makes the cooking process more efficient, tenderizing the meat as well.

When it comes to selecting the right cut of venison, I prefer to use either top round or bottom round.

These cuts have a good balance of tenderness and flavour, with minimal connective tissue and silver skin which can lead to a tough and chewy jerky.

Before marinating, make sure to trim all visible fat and any silver skin, as this can spoil the taste and texture of the jerky.

To marinate the meat, I mix the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Feel free to adjust and make your marinade to your taste.

Once the marinade is ready, place the venison slices into a zip-top bag, pour in the marinade, and ensure all the pieces are evenly coated.

I then let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, up to 48 hours.

The longer you marinate the meat, the more flavourful the jerky will be.

After marinating, it’s time to cook the jerky.

I recommend arranging sliced venison on oven-safe racks, placing a sheet pan beneath to catch any drippings.

Preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature, approximately 170°F (75°C).

Cook the venison jerky for 4-6 hours, checking periodically after the 4 hour mark.

When the jerky is cooked, allow it to cool completely before preparing it for freezing.

To store the jerky properly, remove it from the racks and place it into clean, airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags.

Properly preparing and storing the deer jerky will ensure it maintains the best flavour and texture when it is later thawed and consumed.

Freezing and Storing Process

Selecting Containers for Freezing

When freezing deer jerky, it’s essential to choose the proper storage containers.

I recommend using airtight containers, such as vacuum-sealed bags, glass jars, or mason jars, to preserve the jerky’s flavour and prolong its shelf life.

A proper seal will help prevent freezer burn, oxygen exposure, and moisture buildup, which could lead to bacterial growth and spoilage.

The Freezing Procedure

After marinating and dehydrating the meat, it’s time to prepare it for long-term storage.

Be sure that your freezer’s temperature is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).

To keep your jerky organised, consider dividing it into portions and placing each portion in a separate vacuum-sealed bag or airtight container.

Label each container with the date it was made and the type of marinade used, if applicable, for later reference.

Then, lay the sealed containers flat in the freezer, making sure they don’t stack on top of each other.

This will aid in maintaining the jerky’s texture and allow for even freezing.

Thawing and Rehydrating Frozen Jerky

When you’re ready to eat your frozen deer jerky, it’s vital to thaw and rehydrate it properly.

I find it best to remove the jerky from the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly and safely.

Thawing at room temperature is not recommended, as it can lead to fluctuations in texture and an increased risk of foodborne illness, such as E. coli.

After thawing, you may notice that the texture of the jerky has changed slightly due to moisture loss during the freezing process.

To rehydrate the jerky and enhance its flavour, try dipping it in warm water for a few seconds before consuming.

Tips for Maximising Shelf Life

To ensure your deer jerky stays fresh and delicious, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:

  • Store your jerky in a cool, dark place away from light, heat, and moisture.
  • Use a food dehydrator rather than oven drying for a more consistent, safe drying process.
  • Add natural preservatives to your marinade, such as brown sugar, ground black pepper, or garlic powder, to enhance the longevity of your homemade jerky.
  • Check containers for damage or potential air leaks before freezing.
  • To avoid cross-contamination or spoilage, always wash your hands before handling your deer jerky and keep surfaces clean.

By following these guidelines, you can safely store and enjoy your protein-packed deer jerky for up to 12 months while maintaining its flavour, texture, and food safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should homemade deer jerky be stored to maximise its shelf life?

To maximise the shelf life of homemade deer jerky, choose lean cuts, marinate carefully, and store in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag.

Keep the jerky in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

For extended storage, consider refrigerating or freezing the jerky.

What is the recommended duration for keeping deer jerky in the refrigerator?

When stored in a refrigerator, deer jerky can last for up to three weeks.

Ensure the jerky is in a well-sealed container or vacuum-sealed bag to prevent moisture from entering.

Can vacuum-sealing extend the longevity of deer jerky when stored?

Yes, vacuum-sealing can significantly extend the longevity of deer jerky when stored.

By removing the air from the packaging and sealing it tightly, vacuum-sealing helps prevent the growth of bacteria and mould, thus prolonging the jerky’s shelf life.

What are the implications of not refrigerating homemade deer jerky?

Not refrigerating homemade deer jerky could lead to a shorter shelf life, and the jerky might become susceptible to bacterial growth or mould, causing spoilage.

If you’re not planning to consume the jerky quickly, it’s better to refrigerate or freeze it to maintain its quality and safety.

How long can deer jerky remain edible when stored in a freezer?

Deer jerky can last up to six months in a freezer when stored in a well-sealed container or vacuum-sealed bag.

The low temperature helps to deactivate bacteria and other microorganisms, thus preserving the quality of the jerky over an extended period.

What is the proper procedure for defrosting frozen deer jerky?

To defrost frozen deer jerky, move the package to the refrigerator and let it thaw slowly for several hours or overnight.

This gradual thawing prevents the jerky from becoming too moist and helps maintain its texture and flavour.

Once thawed, consume the jerky within a few days and avoid refreezing it.

>>>>>>>
Whilst you’re here, why not also take a look at our amazing venison chilli recipe here
This one’s a real winner.
>>>>>>>

Grilled Venison Burgers Recipe

Grilled Venison Burgers Recipe

Here is my time-tested favourite grilled venison burgers recipe. I’m confident that these will be the best venison burgers you have ever tasted.

JUMP TO RECIPE CARD

I believe venison is one of the all-time best and most underrated meats out there, which is why I am trying to encourage more people to try it. It’s incredibly healthy and delicious.

You can find more of my venison recipes here.

Venison is a very lean meat with a low meat-to-fat ratio and as such, you’ll usually need to add in a little extra fat to help with the flavour and to ensure the meat binds together.

This will be the same for any other wild game burger.

There is no reason why you can’t swap the venison meat in this recipe for ground beef if you wanted and make some amazing beef burgers.

You could also use another ground meat, such as turkey etc.

How to cook venison burgers on the grill? What is the secret to grilling burgers?

The secret to grilling a burger is to make sure you have created two heating zones on your grill.

First off, make sure you are using some decent lump wood charcoal, and let it burn for approx 20 minutes so that it has a decent covering of ash over it.

Scrape all the charcoal over to one side of your grill. Place your grill grates on top and get to cooking temperature.

You now want to cook your burgers on the side with no coals underneath.

This indirect way of cooking allows the burgers to cook more slowly and evenly, without flare-ups burning the outside of your burgers.

If your grill has a lid, put it on and let the smoke build inside to add more flavour.

Assuming you have a good medium-high heat, turn the burgers after approx 4-5 minutes and give the other side another 3-4 minutes.

Don’t overcook your burgers.

Undercooking is always a worry, especially when serving to family and friends, but as long as you follow the indirect cooking method (and maybe sample one yourself), then your burger should be thoroughly cooked through.

For extra reassurance, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should be at least 160°F (70°C).

The above method should give you a perfect venison burger every time.

How long should you grill venison burgers?

For a standard-size venison burger, grilling on medium-high heat, using the indirect method, you should grill for approx 4-5 minutes on one side, then turn and grill for approx 3-4 minutes on the other side.

This very much depends on the size of your burgers, as well as the heat that you are cooking.

To check your burgers are fully cooked through, use a meat thermometer and ensure the internal temperature is at least 160°F (71°C), or 165°F (74°C) if they contain any pork.

This very much depends on the size of your burgers, as well as the heat that you are cooking.

What do you mix with venison to make a burger?

You can mix a variety of different ingredients into your venison burgers, depending on your taste and what you have available in the pantry.

For some standard ingredients through, go with egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, butter, salt and pepper.

What is a good binder for deer burgers?

Venison is very low in fat and you therefore usually want to add some fat back in to allow for a more juicy burger and to also allow it to bind together to form the burger shape and stop them from falling apart.

On top of adding bacon to the venison burger, you should also add in egg yolk, as this helps the burger mixture to bind properly.

Egg yolks help this to happen while adding extra flavour and nutrients to your burgers. Go for organic free-range eggs if you can.

Do venison burgers need a binder?

Yes, you should use a binder when making venison burgers.

One of the best binders is a free-range egg yolk.

Adding an egg yolk helps you to properly form the burgers into their shape and also helps to stop them from breaking up when cooking them.

Can venison burgers be pink in the middle?

Yes, venison burgers can be slightly pink in the middle, as long as the internal temperature has reached at least 160°F (71°C).

If you are unsure, use a meat thermometer to confirm this.

If you have used pork in the mixture, such as bacon, then the temperature should be at least 165°F (74°C).

What is the best fat to mix with deer burger?

The best fat to add to a deer burger is either beef fat or pork fat.

Beef dripping is good for this, or for the pork option, go with chopped bacon. Either of these will increase the flavour of your deer burgers.

How do I make my venison burger not taste gamey?

Use well-prepared venison and as fresh as possible.

Generally speaking, if you use good quality venison, for your ground deer meat, then once combined with the other burger ingredients, you will not notice any gamey taste.

Not everyone likes the taste of venison, but when put through the meat grinder and mixed with the other ingredients, most would think it is beef they are eating.

Grilled Venison Burgers Recipe Card

Grilled Venison Burgers Recipe

Grilled Venison Burgers Recipe

My time-tested venison burger recipe – that that just works every time.
Use good quality ground venison for this and you won't go far wrong.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, bbq, European
Servings 6

Equipment

  • 1 Chopping board
  • 1 large bowl, for mixing
  • 1 cast iron pan / skillet, or baking tray

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground venison meat
  • 1/2 pound smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 large burger buns
  • Toppings: sliced cheese (either american cheese, or cheddar) garlic mayo, normal mayo, lettuce, mustard, onion, pickles.

Instructions
 

  • Using your hands combine the ground venison, egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, butter, salt and black pepper, in a large bowl.
  • Once mixed, using your hands, form 6 even balls with the mixture. Then shape each ball into a burger pattie.
  • Place onto a baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper (greaseproof paper).
  • Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and put in the fridge for approx 20 minutes to help firm up the burger patties.
  • If cooking on the grill, preheat to a medium-high 450-500°F (232-260°C). If frying, preheat your cast-iron pan/skillet to a medium heat before cooking.
  • Using your thumb, make an indentation in the middle of one side of each patty. This indented side will become the top and the reason for doing this is that it will help stop the burgers from puffing up while the cook.
  • If grilling: brush some olive oil on the indented side of each burger and place on the preheated grill, indention side down. Cook for around 4-5 minutes. Flip the patties over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165°F (71°C).
  • If frying: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter to the preheated pan. Add 2-3 burgers (thumb indention side down), and cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Flip over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (71°C). Cook the remaining burgers in the same way.
  • Place the cooked burgers onto a clean chopping board and place a slice of cheese onto each one while they are still hot.
  • Assemble your burgers: Slice each burger bun crossways (if not already done). Butter the top and bottom of each. Spread mayonnaise and/or mustard inside each. Add lettuce, sliced onion, sliced tomato and pickles.
  • Serve with french fries. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips:

  • If cooking on a skillet, make the burger patties a bit flatter (thinner) so that they cook more evenly.

Storage:

  • Refrigerator – Uncooked burger patties can be prepared in advance and then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking. You can also use cling film (plastic wrap), but I try not to use this stuff, as it’s not great for the environment.
  • Freezing – Wrap each burger patty in parchment paper and place them in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
Keyword venison burger recipe

Venison burger toppings

Some great venison burger toppings include:

  • Cheese slices – either American cheese or cheddar
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced tomato
  • Pickles
  • Crispy bacon

The best cheese for venison burgers

This is a matter of opinion, but in general, slices of American cheese or cheddar work best with venison burgers.


Want more goodness? Check out my famous venison chili here.


The Best Venison Chili Recipe

The Best Venison Chilli Recipe

Are you looking for the best venison chili recipe out there? Well, here it is…

I love all kinds of chili, beef, mushroom, or otherwise, but this venison chili recipe is simply delicious and my hands down favorite.

Feel free to adjust ingredients to your taste, but I would recommend following the main steps.

The Best Venison Chilli Recipe

The Best Venison Chilli Recipe

James
This is quite literally my favourite venison chilli recipe of all time.
It's easy to make, has massive depth of flavour and is truly delicious.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 450 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large cooking pot
  • 1 Chopping board
  • 1 Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound smoked back bacon, chopped into mouth-sized pieces
  • 3 inches chorizo, chopped into small cubes
  • 3 pounds venison – minced (ground) or cubed
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree / tomato paste
  • 1/2 pint good quality beef broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans (optional)
  • 1 can pinto beans (optional)
  • 1 can black beans (optional)
  • 2 large squares 90% cocao dark chocolate
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat up a large dutch oven or large skillet. Add the bacon and chorizo and gently fry on a low heat until both are lightly browned.
  • Remove the bacon and chorizo from the pot and set to one side.
  • Now increase the temperature on the hob to a medium-high heat and add the venison.
  • Stir until the meat starts to brown.
  • Add the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.
  • Now add the rest of the ingredients – garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, chipotle powder, chili powder, tomato paste, beef broth and beans (drained).
  • Add the bacon and chorizo back in.
  • Add chocolate squares.
  • Stir thoroughly.
  • Reduce to a medium heat, place lid on pot and simmer for approx 3 hours.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • If the chilli has a little too much liquid, you can remove the lid for the last part of the cook and allow to reduce down.
  • You can use minced venison (ground deer meat) for this, but my preference is to have cubed. Cubed venison makes for a more substantial dish in my opinion and is also more authentic.
  • Serve with either rice, tortilla chips, baked potato, fries (yes fries), or just have it straight up. I also like it with freshly buttered bread.
  • For toppings, go with some grated cheddar cheese, some sliced green onions, a dollop of sour cream and corn chips.
  • I like to make extra so I can also have it for lunches in the week. It always tastes even better the next day and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days! Store in an airtight container if you do this, or freeze for future use.
  • Swap chipotle powder for 2 chopped chipotle peppers if you have them.
  • This chili works equally as well with ground beef, elk meat, other wild game or indeed any other lean meat that you can get your hands on. If it’s fresh and good quality, it should be good in a chili. You can also make a vegetarian version out of mushrooms.
  • If you don’t have tomato puree/paste to hand, you can use tomato sauce, just be aware that it will make it taste a bit sweeter.
  • The beans are all entirely optional.
Keyword Chilli, Cubed, Slow cooker, Venison

Can I cook venison chili in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can cook venison chili in a slow cooker.

Simply do the initial fry in a large skillet or dutch oven and then transfer to the slow cooker when it’s ready for the final cook.

If cooking this way, make sure to not have too much liquid once at the slow cooker stage, as it will not be removed.

Reduce the amount of stock (beef broth) you add and you should be fine.

A slow cooker venison chili is amazing and a great way to cook chili once the main prep work has been done.

It also means you can get on with your day.

What gives chili a rich flavor?

A chili’s rich flavour comes from the ingredients you add, as well as reducing down the liquid to form a more concentrated depth of flavor.

Personally, I think a chili tastes even better once it has had time to sit for a day or so in the fridge.

The flavours just seem to improve.

A good slow cook also helps.

What enhances the flavor of chili?

This is somewhat a matter of opinion and largely comes down to personal taste, but generally speaking a good beef broth or stock is a great way to enhance the flavour of your chili.

Some recipes also call for coffee to be added and molasses.

Chili seasoning is a highly debatable subject, with many strong opinions on the matter.

Some other alternatives include cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, adobo sauce, green chilies and even a bay leaf.

It’s your chili, so do as you wish and experiment a little until you find what works for you.

Should I leave the fat on venison?

Yes, you should leave the fat on venison.

Venison is a very lean meat as it is and if it does have any fat, then this will only help add to the flavour of the dish.

Due to venison being so lean, it is quite common to be adding fat back in, such as some bacon or chorizo.

Simply put, you want some fat in a hearty venison chili, so stop worrying and crack it in.

Does chili get better the longer it sits?

Yes, the longer chili sits the better it gets.

It gives a chance for all the flavors to mix and combine and increases the flavour massively.

Obviously, there is a limit. 1-2 days in the fridge is about max.

If you intend to keep longer then you should freeze.

Does venison chili taste gamey?

No, venison chili does not taste gamey.

In fact, if you are concerned about gameness, then this is probably one of the best venison recipes to try.

The combination of flavours in this easy venison chili recipe takes over and is a guaranteed hit.

Give it a try and you will see.

What is the best thickener for chili?

The best way to thicken a big pot of chili is to leave the lid slightly off while cooking, so that the liquid can evaporate off.

This reduces the chili down to a thicker sauce.

Another method is to add cornflour to the chili, but I would only do this if you have to.

Try reducing it first though.

Does chili taste better the longer it cooks?

Yes, chili tastes better the longer it cooks.

Cooking it for longer gives the flavours more of a chance to develop fully and will improve the dish.

Good chili toppings

There are many toppings you can add to your venison chili.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Green onions (sliced)
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sliced chili pepper to taste

Looking for more venison goodness? I would highly recommend trying my venison burgers