Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

Smoky Slow Cooker Venison Chili

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about comfort food, and who doesn’t enjoy some good old soul-satisfying food? This Smoky Slow Cooker Venison Chili is the very definition of comfort food.

For me, comfort food is nostalgic. It warms your heart and evokes memories of childhood, loved ones, past events, triumphs, and “the good ol’ days.” It’s the spaghetti pie my great-grandmother used to make, my mom’s pot roast, or my Grandmom’s sugar cookies. It’s all the food I grew with as a child and still look forward to as an adult.

My brother recently murdered his very first deer. I know, “murdered” sounds harsh, but either way you look at it, the deer is dead. Personally, I don’t have the heart to kill Bambi. One look from those big doe eyes, and I’m no more good. The deer would end up with a hug and a pat on its fluffy little deer tail. What can I say, I’m a lover.

In honor of my brother’s first deer, I made Smoky Slow Cooker Venison Chili. It’s hearty, filling, and loaded with chunks of tender venison. This chili is, to quote my brother, “Amazing!”

This chili screams comfort food. It’s full of tender chunks of venison, smoky chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, creamy kidney beans, and a generous helping of bell peppers and onions.

I may not suit up and go all caveman-style and fetch my own food, however, I will let my little brother do the dirty work for me. Eh, that’s what boys are for, right? My job is to cook the food and feed the hungry. That’s it. Besides, stilettos and mud don’t mix.

Ready for the best part? This chili is made in the slow-cooker. All you have to do is brown the venison, then dump all the ingredients in the crockpot. Viola, delicious chili made easy.


Smoky Slow Cooker Venison Chili

Yield: 6-8 servings

Total Time: 16 hours 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours



  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons. chipotle in adobo (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 2 and 1/2 pounds venison or beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (40.5-ounce) can kidney beans
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (see note)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Few dashes Tabasco
  • Salt & pepper



  1. In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, canola oil, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, chipotle in adobo, smoked paprika, and ancho chili powder.
  2. Add venison or beef and toss in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


  1. Add a few tablespoons of canola oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the venison or beef and brown on each side.
  2. Add the browned meat to the crockpot, then add the remaining chili ingredients to the pot. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours. If you want a thicker chili, add more tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Place an entire can of chipotle in adobo in the food processor and pulse to create a paste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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79 Responses to “Smoky Slow Cooker Venison Chili”

  1. #
    veronica gantley — October 14, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Who says stilleto and mud do not mix? You just need to make sure the stilletos you are wearing are camouflage. So the deer cant see you creeping up on them.


  2. #
    CCU — October 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Big bowl of warmth and flavour – definitely comfort food :D

    Choc Chip Uru


  3. #
    CCU — October 14, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Big bowl of warmth and flavour – definitely comfort food :D
    Love the photos!

    Choc Chip Uru


  4. #
    [email protected] & Trinkets — October 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

    No. Stilettos and mud don’t mix. I’m coming over your house for dinner, ‘mkay?


  5. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — October 14, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I have NEVER cooked with venison, what a cool idea!!


  6. #
    Jen @JuanitasCocina — October 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Okay, I needed a bit of warning this early in the morning for the deer pic. LOL. But, go him! I’ll eat two bowls please!


    • Laura Hunter replied October 15th, 2012 at 7:06 am

      I agree, it took my by surprise as well. :)


    • Audra replied March 24th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      Had this for supper tonight (from the 10-point buck I harvested). C’mon ladies, get out there & do the dirty work yourself!


  7. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen — October 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

    My dad´s a hunter so I understand the feeling Jennie! Slow cooking the venison sounds perfect, since it´s a tough meat to cook. All those chilies sound wonderful!


  8. #
    Renee — October 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I very much enjoy venison but have no way of getting it. My husband nor any of our family or friends are hunters. I would have to make this with beef, especially on a cold winter day.


  9. #
    Katie — October 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Oh boy…I was not prepared for a picture of the deer this morning… :(

    When I lived in WI and MI a lot of my friends’ parents were hunters, and there were definitely a lot of times when venison was served at their houses! Chili sounds like a nice creative twist!


  10. #
    Anne @ Webicurean — October 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I come from a long line of hunters, so I can relate! As a kid, I really didn’t care much for venison, except in stew, but now that I’m older, I love it. Unfortunately my cousins aren’t so much into hunting now, pfft! If I get my hands on some, I’ll definitely give this a try–or maybe I’ll sub in some of that elk meat my brother-in-law has been promising!


  11. #
    diabeticFoodie — October 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    My dad was a hunter too (still is). Venison is comfort food for me too!


  12. #
    Tara Noland — October 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I have never cooked with venison but your chili looks so good!


  13. #
    Carla — October 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Everyone and their brother hunts here. Well, everyone but me haha but I wonder if I get bargain for some deer meat if I promise this chili? Hmmm I’ll be over for a bowl!


  14. #
    Megan — October 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    One of the only ways I will eat venison. Thanks for sharing!


  15. #
    Lane @ Supper for a Steal — October 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This looks delicious. Maybe I can bribe my uncle to share some venison with me and give this recipe a try.


  16. #
    Heather @girlichef — October 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Mmmm…chili is definitely comfort food. This sounds so satisfying! I don’t know any hunters anymore, so means I haven’t had venison in many, many years. I need to change that. Start hanging out with some new folks, I think…


  17. #
    Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) — October 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    My Daddy is a hunter, so I end up with a few packages of ground venison each winter. I even made some backstrap loin earlier this year. It is much lower in fat than beef, so it is healthier. I love a good spicy chili…


  18. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Yeah, I won’t be actually the one taking the deer out, but I will cook him up in a delicious chili! Looks gorgeous!


  19. #
    Alaiyo Kiasi — October 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I respect anyone who has hunts for his or her own food. It’s a sustainable way of eating. The venison chili looks great amazing.



  20. #
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom — October 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Oh my goodness! Was that the actual deer that you cooked up?!


  21. #
    kita — October 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Love me some fresh venison. I don’t get nearly enough any more now that my family stopped hunting. I have to wait til a friend gets an extra. This chili looks perfect and sounds even better!


  22. #
    Amber @mamapoolecooks — October 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I love that you’re an animal lover and that you honored your brother in your post. Your dish, as always, looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing!


  23. #
    Bea — October 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Your chili looks so good!


  24. #
    Baker Street — October 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Big bowl of comfort! I can’t begin to tell you how much this would be appreciated in my house! Consider it bookmarked.


  25. #
    Kim Bee — October 15, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Love chili. It’s just the be all and end all for comfort food in the winter.


  26. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 15, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Amazing! I need to get my hands on some venison ASAP!


  27. #
    Laura @ Family Spice — October 15, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Oh, wow! What a great chili! I need to find me a hunter so I could get some venison!


  28. #
    Anita at Hungry Couple — October 15, 2012 at 6:41 am

    OK, I’ll be honest and say I really, really didn’t need to see a man smiling with joy and pride over a dead animal. That being said, I don’t object to hunting for food, I only object to hunting for sport alone. And I’m aware that it is hypocritical to only want meat presented in packages that help you forget the source of your food. I’ve never had an opportunity to eat venison chili but it looks good and I would eat it.


  29. #
    Laura Hunter — October 15, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Yikes the dead deer photo was a bit of a shock this morning. I love venison, but I come from a world of absolutely no hunters so venison isn’t easy to come by. But I my crockpot is on over drive this Autumn so if I do find some I will have to add it to my list. :)


  30. #
    Liz — October 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Such wonderful chili…pure comfort! I have prepared some venison steaks provided by my BIL…and I think I’d rather have had the meat in chili :)


  31. #
    Stephanie Zielinski — October 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Luckly, I have family members, friends and neighbors that all hunt (I live in Michigan) so getting some venison this season should be no problem! Can’t wait to try your recipe!!


  32. #
    Jennifer B — October 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I love chili, but have never tried venison before. I might need to!


  33. #
    Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) — October 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Love venison, but have never cooked with it. Love all the heat in this chili!


  34. #
    Martin D. Redmond — October 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Love chili. I made some yesterday. I used some Chipotle Chili powder, but no enough to get it smoky! Great recipe!


  35. #
    Conni Smith — October 16, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Venison! You are speaking my language :) Congratulations to your brother! That looks a lot like my first deer :)


  36. #
    Sarah — October 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I must admit I have never had venison. But you can make me this chili anytime and I’ll try it. It sounds fantasitc!


  37. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    My husband loves to hunt…… me not so much haha, but only because I don’t like being cold or having to sit still so much LOL. I’m pinning this now! I’m always looking for ways to use the deer meat he brings home!


    • Jennie replied October 17th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      I’m not a huge fan of sitting still, either. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and say no, so I take the deer meat, cook it up, and feed the hunters. I hope you enjoy it, Angie.


  38. #
    Arlene @FlourOnMyFace — October 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I haven’t cooked venison in many years. My husband and son are hunters but the girls in the family feel the same way as you even though they were raised along side of the hunters. Well actually they won’t eat venison at all.


  39. #
    Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel — October 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Haha! My hubby just “murdered” his first deer last week as well. He wanted me to post the deer picture soooo badly, but I refused… so I’m cracking up at some of your shocked comments. ;) Glad I found this recipe, I will have to try it now that I have more venison than I know what to do with!


    • Jennie replied October 17th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Congrats to your hubby! Yeah, I expected some shock and awe at the deer picture, but, hey, I figured why not. I hope you like the recipe. It’s so easy to make.


  40. #
    sunithi — October 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Yummy ! Getting my venison ( murdered by my friend :) next week. Will be trying this ! Thanks Jenn :)


  41. #
    Amanda — October 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I’m not a huge fan of venison but this is a great and easy recipe!


  42. #
    Amber — December 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    This looks fantastic! And I just happen to have 100 lbs of deer in my freezer.. :) It amazes me how many people have not been exposed to venison. I grew up on it, and it’s a great way to save money on your meat! Thanks for the recipe!!


  43. #
    Mary — November 4, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I love this picture of the deer and hunter, it shows whete the food is coming from and I bet he had more respect for that animal than the big meat corporations do. That being said, this recipe looks delicious and I’m making it today. Will let you know how it turned out. Would post of a pic of my husband getting our deer meat if I could. :) mmmm



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