Venison Chili for Christmas Hot Dogs Recipe

Venison Chili for Christmas Hot Dogs Recipe

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.

  • Yield:4
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:1 1/2 hours


  • 2 tablespoons lard or bacon drippings
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 4 cups stock or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups cherry cola
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1.

    Melt 1 tablespoon lard in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add dry spices and cocoa, folding them into paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. 2.

    Add venison and turn heat to high, breaking up meat with wooden spoon. Once the meat is cooked through (About 15 minutes), add red wine and reduce liquid by half. Add 2 cups water or stock, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.

  3. 3.

    Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook slowly until thickened and flavors have developed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, add cherry coke, and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove cinnamon and bay leaf and serve.