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A Smoky Twist on Chili: Try Our Recipe for Smoked Venison Chili

It’s that time of year! The bucks are starting to move across the country, and you know what that means—it’s time to fill your tags, and also your freezer.

If you’re normally a grind-it-up-and-fry-it-up kind of guy, we have a little something different for you this year. Save the roasts from your deer (really, you should do that every year because Hank Shaw’s barbacoa is as good as it gets), and try our very own recipe for Smoked Venison Chili. It’s fantastic in a bowl with some crackers, or served as an appetizer at your football parties.



1 Venison Roast (3-5 pounds works fine)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 TB Meat Church© Holy Cow (or your favorite steak seasoning)
2 TB Finely Ground Good Coffee
1/4 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 honey
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar


4-5 cups blanched tomatoes (frozen from the garden work great)
1 cup tomato pizza sauce
Red pepper flakes
2 Large green peppers, diced
1/2 Sweet red pepper, diced
3/4 Large onion, diced
4 Jalapeños
1 15 oz. can of dark red kidney beans
1 15 oz. can of light red kidney beans
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 TB cumin
1 TB paprika
2 TB chili powder
2 tsp ancho chili powder
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp hot sauce

Roast Instructions

Remove your roast from the freezer at least three days before you intend to cook it. We like to pull it from the fridge a good half an hour before it goes on the smoker. Preheat the smoker to 225º. While it gets rolling, run the roast down with olive oil. Then, mix your Meat Church and coffee together and give the meat a decent coating. Don’t feel obligated to use all of the seasoning. The seasoning should not cake up.

We like to smoke our roasts over a fruit wood like apple, orange and cherry wood. A harsh wood like mesquite might be perfect for your steaks, but it can give the meat a bitter taste for venison. We’re only going to smoke the roast for a few hours for a subtle taste. Once your smoker hits 225º, add your wood and close the smoker. Let your smoker come back to 225º, and let the wood burn until your smoke is white—not a heavy green.

Add your venison to the smoker. While the meat smokes, mix the apple jelly, cider, honey and dark brown sugar in a small bowl until you have a blended consistency.

Use a meat thermometer to check your internal temp—when you hit 100 to 110º, it’s time to remove it. Using two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, partially wrap the roast, forming a bowl around it. Pour your jelly/cider mixture over the whole roast. Wrap the meat tightly, one sheet at a time. Leave your thermometer in place. This process of wrapping keeps your meat moist and avoids it being chewy. Place the wrapped roast back on smoker and cook to about 140º.

When you hit 140º, remove it from the smoker and take inside. It will keep cooking in the foil. Let it rest while you prep your chili.


Bring smoker temp to 300º. You can use a dutch oven and smoke your chili on the smoker. If you’re not really setup for that, the stovetop with a stock pot works just fine.

In the dutch oven or pot, add a little olive oil, red pepper flakes, peppers and onion. Stir a few times as it cooks for about 10 minutes. Mix in your garlic and continue to stir it so your garlic doesn’t burn. Do this for 10 more minutes before adding the kidney beans, tomatoes and BBQ sauce.

Stir all of your ingredients as you add your spices and hot sauces. If you’re using the smoker method, you can leave it exposed to pull in some smoky flavor. If you’re using a stock pot, you can cover it.

While that’s simmering, your roast is ready to cut. Slice it very thin, into bite-size cuts. After a half an hour has passed, stir in the meat. You can simmer exposed over the smoker for several hours, or cap it sooner if you want to hold back on the smoky flavor. Typically you’ll need two or three more hours on the chili. Keep in mind it will thicken up if you’re eating it the next day.

Serve with sour cream, crackers and sharp cheddar cheese. This recipe reheats really well—just throw it in the oven for a bit and you’ll be good to go.

If you have any suggestions for recipes we should try, give us a shout on Instagram.

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