Aubrey’s Lucky Venison Chili

by | Feb 2, 2017 | Just Me | 0 comments

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I would say I’m sorry about that, but it’s been either write books or blogs, I figured y’all would prefer me working on the former rather than the latter. 😉

At any rate, here I am today, which something that’s kind of totally off-topic and yet very much on-topic (stay with me, folks–you’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute). Today at work we had our second annual chili cook-off, and guess who took home first place?


chili cookoff 1

So how is this even remotely on-topic, you ask? Well, of course my chili was venison chili. Because, venison. See? Totally on-topic, because my Devils Ranch boys (and girls) love them some venison. At any rate, for anyone else who loves venison and loves to cook, I figured I would share the recipe with y’all (I mean, why not?). I got the original recipe from Hank Shaw over at Hunter, Angler, Gatherer, Cook, and modified it because, well, I tend to do that. And I’m calling it Lucky Chili, because our ranch (where the venison came from) is called The Gross Luck Ranch.

Lucky Chili


  • 12 dried chilis, mix of ancho, pasillo, gaujillo, and cascavel
  • 1 lb. chorizo
  • 2-3 pounds ground venison
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 TBS smoked paprika
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup black coffee (I used a Columbian bean)
  • 3 TBS molasses (I used Brer Rabbit Blackstrap molasses, but use whatever you want)
  • 1 qt (32 oz) beef broth
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 TBS turbinado sugar (to taste–if you like your chili pretty spicy, you may not need the sugar at all since I used it to balance the spice from the peppers)
  • Lawry’s Season All to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cans diced, stewed, or sliced tomatoes


  1. Break up and seed the chilis. Be sure to wear gloves or coat your hands in olive oil. And even after you think you have all of the chili juice off of your hands, be prepared for your eyes to burn like a mother when you take out your contacts a few hours later (ask me how I know). Cover the chilis with boiling water and let stand for an hour or so. Grind to a puree with the consistency of gravy, adding about one cup of the soaking water AND the coffee to do so.
    chilis chilis in water
  2. Heat chorizo in Dutch oven over medium heat. Once browned, remove and set aside. Add venison and brown over high heat (this is so it actually browns rather than steams). Stir occasionally. Salt it as it cooks.
  3. Once the meat is done, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Return chorizo to pot. Add garlic, stir, and cook for one minute. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir well to combine.
    diced onionvenison and onion
  4. Add chili puree and tomato paste. Stir to combine well. Add molasses. Stir. Add cocoa and sugar. Stir well to combine (there’s a theme, here).
  5. Add tomatoes. Stir well to combine (say it with me now).
  6. Transfer from Dutch oven to Crock Pot. Add beef broth and Lawry’s.* Stir to combine (shocking, I’m sure).
  7. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours and try not to sneak too many bites.

*Note, the original recipe calls for it to be a little soupy, but it doesn’t boil down a whole lot in the Crock Pot on low heat. If you don’t mind a thinner chili, this is fine. If you like a thicker chili, you can either omit some of the broth (which will make your chili a little spicier since the broth helps dilute the spiciness of the peppers) or use flour as a thickening agent.

chili in truck

Me trying to transport the chili from my house to the day job without getting it all over the truck.

If you try it, let me know what you think! And if you would be interested in other venison recipes, feel free to let me know; it’s a feature I’ve thought about doing as kind of a Devils Ranch “extra.” 🙂




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