Deer chili. A little help?

So I got my hands on some ground deer meat. I intend to make chili with it. The recipe itself; I’m not worried about. My question is should I mix some ground round (beef) with it?

I was thinking 2lbs deer and 1lbs beef. The reason I ask is because I’m worried that the deer meat doesn’t have enough fat content in it to make it taste good.

I’ve never made deer chili before and I appreciate all the help I can get.


You’re pretty much on the money as far as ground venison not being as fatty as ground beef. However, I’m not sure it really matters in chili. If you were making burgers or meatloaf, for example, it’d really make a difference, because they require a bit more fat in order to not just dry out and crumble.

Chili, on the other hand, has enough liquid and other strong flavors in it that I don’t think you’ll need to doctor your venison up with fat to make it work. You could certainly throw in some hamburger, but I doubt you’ll notice much difference. In fact, I’m guessing that even without the hamburger, you won’t notice the venison flavor much at all. Face it, in chili, the flavor of the meat is not the first thing you notice.

I’ve made venison chili a few times with no added meats. I make mine with beans and plenty of spices, so it works out just fine. Athena is right about wanting to add something with some fat if you’re making burgers, sausage, or anything like that - it holds together better and boosts the flavor. But with chili that’s unnecessary, to me. As in all things, your tastes may vary.

What they said. The only reason to add beef is if you want more fat in the chili, for some reason. Otherwise you won’t even notice, especially at the spicing levels I tend to use in chili.

Deer burger often already has fat mixed into it during the grinding. There’s no reason to mix hamburger in anyhow. My best chili uses chunks of venison roast. It’s supposedly “authentic” because cowboys would eat more deer ant antelope than their own livestock.

I seen a 1/2 stick of butter added to deer chili to add some fat.

Personally, if I wanted to add more fat, I’d go with bacon. Actually, I use bacon in my chili anyway, even with beef and pork for my meat. But it’s not strictly necessary.

If you want to roast a chunk of venison, traditionally you would put some bacon on it. For that matter, I’ve seen meatloaf recipes with a couple of strips of bacon on top, for flavor and for the added fat. I wouldn’t bother adding fat for chili, though. If you want to sweat the onions and peppers, you can use any sort of vegetable oil, or lard if you have it in the house.

Well, yeah, I don’t add the bacon for the sake of the fat; I do it for the flavor. But if you’re going to add some fat anyway to saute the onions, I don’t see much point in using a fat that doesn’t have much flavor.

I won an office chili cook-off with my venison chili, and I didn’t add any beef. We did throw some whiskey into the pot and that helped the flavor profile a great deal, but I definitely think venison doesn’t need beef to back it up.

Just some good spices is all you need.

If you can get it easily, a nice bit of mutton in the pot could help. You certainly don’t need the added fat but a bit can help. Mutton also adds a depth of flavor in the profile that I find appealing. YMMV

I use sausage as a base to get my fat into the chili. I also use that fat to saute the vegetables (onions, peppers), and get the spice’s flavors extracted, prior to adding the ground venison.

I don’t add fat to my venison grind when I butcher myself, nor do I have the butcher add it in if I’m paying someone else to do the butchering.