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Venison Chili for Christmas Hot Dogs

This recipe was developed for Christmas Hot Dogs but tastes great on its own as well. Spiked with cocoa and cinnamon, it's similar to a Greek or Cincinnati-style chili but not as aggressively spiced. I wanted to keep the spice in the background so you could really taste the venison, but feel free to double up on the cayenne and paprika if you want more heat. The red wine and cherry Coke add a touch of sweetness—delicious with the slight gaminess of deer meat.

Venison has almost no fat, so it's best to add lard (most Mexican groceries carry it) or bacon drippings. If cherry Coke is too sweet for your taste, feel free to leave it out, or reconstitute about a half cup of dried cherries in some of the red wine, blend into a puree and add that to the chili for a touch of cherry flavor without all the sugar.

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