• Texas Chuck Wagon Chili (with Venison or Beef)

    2 votes
    Texas Chuck Wagon Chili (with Venison or Beef)
    Prep: 15 min Cook: 235 min Servings: 8
    by Amos Miller
    101 recipes
    I originally made this with chuck roasts that I would trim out and dice into 1/4 inch cubes. Yes, you will form a blister or two - but it is well worth it. In 1987, this chili, I'm pleased to say, was judged best by members of the Chicago Fire Department in a Chicago Chili Cookoff. This is truly a Texas Chuck Wagon Chili: no tomatoes no beans. Condiments were served a la carte - (Mexican) cheese, chopped jalapenos, cilantro and (Mexican) sour cream. I garnished the dish with slices of Maple Bacon Cornbread. Blue ribbon. This is not for the faint of heart and requires slow cooking over a med-low heat for a long time. I use venison most of the time now, and my ground venison is mixed with suet. It has the flavor of the finest organic Angus beef. This is based on a Texas ranch recipe. No cattle drive ever had a tomato or celery on the trail. It may sound like a lot of spices, and it is, but you need to let it cook down and the flavors to really marry and mellow, which they will. Beans are a side dish with their own recipe. This chili will get your attention at first, then back away and leave a most pleasant taste that should bring you back for more. This is the ONLY way I make a chuckwagon chili for myself and certain friends. Of course, a great variation is to deglaze the pan and meat with 1 C red wine (like a Merlot) and dry it out a bit, then add the spices. For a milder chili, cut the cayenne - not the chili powder - back to your taste. The last 1/2hr, you may want to add a drained and rinsed 30oz can of black beans, or just add a scoop of heated black beans to each bowl and garnish each bowl with some chopped cilantro. It freezes well. Just sayin'...


    • 3 lbs ground venison with suet (or a 3lb. lean chuck roast, diced into 1/4 bits)
    • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 T chili powder (add more, if you dare)
    • 3 T oregano, dried
    • 3 T cumin, ground
    • 1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp cayenne (this is the heat - adjust up or down)
    • 1 to 2 tsp salt (kosher or coarse sea salt)
    • 1/3 C corn meal (coarse is really good)
    • 1/3 C cold, fresh water
    • 1 to 1-1/2 qt cold, fresh water


    1. Brown the meat - dry it out a bit
    2. Add the chili powder, cumin powder, oregano, cayenne and garlic and mix well
    3. Add 1 to 1-1/2 qt. cold, fresh water just to cover the meat
    4. Bring to a boil for one minute, then turn down the heat and
    5. Simmer for 1-1/2 hrs
    6. Add 1 to 2 tsp salt (taste as you add - the chili will sweeten with the addition of the salt, but you do not want it 'salty')
    7. Make a paste of 1/3 C coarse cormeal and 1/3 C cold, fresh water
    8. and stir until it is smooth
    9. Stir the corn meal paste into the chili gradually
    10. Simmer another 45 minutes
    11. Ladle into bowls
    12. Serve full with the condiments as separates, and let each diner dress their own bowl

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    • Kent
      Great recipe. I use corn flour instead of corn meal though. Two tablespoons is all it takes and it makes a very thick chili.


      • Richard Carpenter
        Richard Carpenter
        Amos.... Great job.... and THANK YOU for not putting BEANS in the chili!!!!!
        REAL TEXAS CHILI NEVER has BEANS in it..... I know how popular beans are in most recipes but in TEXAS it's a No-Go!! Thanks again.... I'll be browning the meat in about 30 minutes..... Can't wait!!!
        • LeahB
          Would you totally object to using ground chuck to avoid the blisters?
          • Amos Miller
            Amos Miller
            I use grand venison almost exclusively. So ground chuck is just fine. (what ever happened to old Chuck... )
          • Amos Miller
            Amos Miller
            Thanks very much, Kent! I appreciate that you tried it and enjoyed it as much as my guests do. It is the real deal and holds to Western tradition.

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