Wild Game Chili


This is a takeoff on my favorite chili, Pecos River Bowl of Red. It’s a great chili to make when out in a cabin in the woods, perhaps after hunting game. Lacking game, beef round steak, rump roast or London broil can substituted. Or, buffalo would be good and is increasingly available. I have added lots of spices and seasonings to balance any gaminess from the meat. You can also boost the chili’s flavor by “housebreaking” it with a shot of tequila just before eating. (You serve shots of tequila with the chili for each person to pour over their chili.)

Yield: 6 servings

¼ cup bacon drippings, salt pork, or lard

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

3 pounds boneless venison or antelope meat, cut into ½ inch cubes

6 large cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons pure ground mild red chile

¼ cup pure ground hot red chile, preferably from New Mexico

2 Tablespoons crushed caribe chile, or to taste

1 can or bottle (12 ounces) beer

1 cup beef broth

1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin, divided

½ cup red wine


6 shots tequila (optional)

Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s

6 to 12 flour tortillas, warmed and buttered, for serving

  1. Melt the drippings in a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent , about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the meat, garlic, chiles, beer and beef broth. Stir well, and then add half of the cumin (about 2 teaspoons).
  2. Return the pot to medium heat and bring to the first bubbles of a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, checking the liquid and addingwater as necessary to maintain a liquid broth, for 3 to 4 hours. (At this point the chili can be cooled to room temperature, covered, and refrigerated for serving later, or frozen in freezer bags or storage containers. )
  3. Before serving, stir in the wine and remaining cumin. Cook until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Ladle the chili into bowls, and serve each bowl with a shot of tequila on the side, if desired. Pass the Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s and the hot tortillas at the table.

Note: Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s are small bowls of pickled, sliced jalapenos, sour cream with lime wedges, grated sharp cheddar and Jack cheese and chopped onion.

This recipe reprinted with permission from Jane Butel's Chili Madness, 2nd edition.

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