Blackened Venison Chili

This blackened venison chili recipe is made with chopped roast or steaks, rather than burger meat. It’s a robust meal that is made to warm sportsmen after a winter day in the woods or on the water. (Photo by Jerry Dilsaver)

Sportsmen chasing rabbits, squirrels or fish will find this blackened venison chili warming, filling, and delicious.

Chili usually calls for burger meat, but this one uses chopped and sauteed venison roasts or steaks. Blackening it offers a slightly different taste that is a winner in my book, and now you get to see for yourself.

This is a staple in my hunt club and I believe it’s a lot like spaghetti, getting better every time you reheat it. It’s a hearty chili, made to warm up folks after being outdoors in cold weather. With some bread, cornbread or crackers, it will satisfy man-sized appetites.

I like to make this with black beans, but several of my friends use chili or red beans, saying it tastes good with them too. One friend said the chili seasonings and blackened flavor of the venison would make it good with any type of beans. Regular readers know I suggest experimenting to suit your personal tastes, and using different beans is an easy way to do it.

If you prepare this for a Saturday lunch at the hunting club, at least double (and possibly triple) the recipe. Your hunting buddies will like it and want seconds, and maybe thirds. Several may ask for the recipe and some may offer to provide the ingredients if you’ll cook it again.

This recipe warms you from head to toe, it’s filling and it tastes great too. That’s a trifecta that’s perfect for a cold winter day. Enjoy!

Blackened Venison Chili

Chili is a dual-purpose meal. It fills you up and warms you up. If you think about the naps it often brings shortly after eating, it also works as a sleeping potion. I like chili and have been fortunate to have enjoyed it prepared in a variety of different ways. I can’t remember one that I wouldn’t eat again.

This is a little different take on chili. First, it’s made with venison. Second, it uses pieces of venison, rather than ground meat. Third, the pieces of venison are lightly blackened before becoming part of the chili. This recipe also uses Rotel instead of tomatoes, and calls for adding jalapenos and green chilies. So it’s a little different, but still makes a great chili.

I suggest using the original or mild Rotel the first time you make this. The blackened seasoning and a little hot sauce, along with the Rotel will spice things up nicely.

I also suggest that if you want this a little spicier, drain the liquid from the black beans and use the liquid from the Rotel.

When cutting the venison steak or roast into pieces, make them large enough that they’ll hold a little of that blackened flavor, but remember something else will be on the spoon. Be careful to not overdose the venison with blackened seasoning. When so many different flavors are involved, as they are in this recipe, it’s important that one of them isn’t overpowering.

Anyone who likes chili – especially if you’ve considered cooking it a slightly different way – should try this. It will warm you from head to toe and taste good doing it.


  • 1 pound venison steak or roast
  • 1 Cup sweet onion chopped medium
  • 1/4 Cup sweet onion chopped small
  • 2 Cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Can black beans (undrained)
  • 1 Can Rotel tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 Can tomato sauce
  • 1 Can green chlies (drained)
  • 1 TBL Texas Pete Cha Sauce
  • 1 1/2 TBL blackened seasoning
  • 1 1/2 TBL chili powder
  • 2 TSP ground cumin
  • 1 TSP Garlic salt
  • 1 TBL vegetable oil
  • 1/2 TSP oregano leaves
  • Sour cream, saltines, oyster crackers, tortilla chips, cornbread or other bread


  1. Cut a pound venison steak or roast into chunks roughly fingertip size.
  2. Sprinkle the venison chunks with the blackened seasoning and set aside.
  3. Chop onion and jalapeno.
  4. Add the oil to a large cast iron pot and sauté the venison chunks, the larger chopped onion and jalapeno on medium-high heat until the venison is lightly browned.
  5. If there are any drippings, drain them.
  6. Stir in the spices, Cha Sauce, beans, chilies and Rotel, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Garnish the chili with the finer chopped onion, a dusting of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
  9. Serve with saltines, oyster crackers, tortilla chips, cornbread or your favorite hearty bread.
  10. Have more Cha Sauce or other hot sauce available to add.


Chili is generally considered a meal in itself. However, I like salads and often accompany it with a nice green salad or lettuce wedge. Chili isn’t a meal that is usually followed by dessert, but if you like to add a little something sweet to finish off a meal, bread pudding goes with this well.

To make the chili spicier, add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper or pepper flakes. Or add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

If cooking for a group with milder palates, reducing the amount of chili powder to 1 tablespoon will tone the spiciness down while still keeping the recipe plenty flavorful.

This recipe began when one year, the venison burger was running low, but several roasts and steaks were still hiding in the freezer. I chopped them up, sauteed them a bit in salt and pepper, and it worked. I like the taste of blackened meat and decided to try it using blackened seasoning on the venison chunks instead of salt and pepper.

This recipe is good any day of the year, but preparing it to eat after spending a day outdoors in cold weather makes it extra special.

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About Jerry Dilsaver 145 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., is a freelance writer, as well as a former national king mackerel champion fisherman. Readers are encouraged to send their favorite recipes and a photo of the completed dish to possibly be used in a future issue of the magazine. E-mail the recipes and photos to Jerry Dilsaver at

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