A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 13, 2007
Venison Chili (Deer Chili; Deer Meat Chili)

Deer can be seen in many parts of Texas. Chile con carne is the official dish of Texas, so it’s no surprise that deer meat would be added to chili.

In 1953, the governor of Texas, Allan Shivers, contributed his own “venison chili” recipe to the newspapers (featured below).


Cooks.com
TEXAS VENISON CHILI
2 lbs. coarsely ground venison
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg. green pepper, cut in strips
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. sugar
3 1/2 c. whole tomatoes
1 c. tomato sauce
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. kidney beans

Brown venison in vegetable oil. Add onions, garlic, and green pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chili powder, sugar, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and salt. Simmer 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, add kidney beans. Serves 6-8.

All Recipes
Texas Deer Chili
SUBMITTED BY: Donna Walters
“This recipe was given to me by a friend at work, who is an avid deer hunter. It’s very different, but delicious! You would never know you’re eating venison.”

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds venison, cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook venison, onion and garlic in oil until meat is browned. Transfer to a slow cooker and stir together with chiles, beans, broth oregano, cumin, salt and paprika. Cook on medium 4 to 5 hours. 

Cooks.com
DEER CHILI
1 lb. deer burger
1 med. onion, diced
1 pkg. chili seasoning
2 qt. tomatoes
1 bell pepper, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground red pepper
2 (16 oz.) cans chili beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
Fritos

Brown meat and onions in large Dutch oven. Salt and pepper to taste. Add chili seasoning, tomatoes, green pepper, beans and seasonings. Let simmer about 1 hour. Serve over Fritos and top with cheese. Depending on the age of your deer, you may want to use garlic salt instead of regular salt.

22 January 1940, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 10, col. 1:
The Judson class of First Baptist Church is sponsoring a venison-chili supper at 7 o’clock tonight at the church. 

4 January 1942, San Antonio (TX) Light, American Weekly, pg. 17, cols. 2-3:
VENISON CHILI
10 pounds of red Mexican beans
8 to 10 good sized onions
1/2 cup garlic
3 large green peppers
6 fresh red peppers (sweet)
1/4 pound cumin seed
Hot chili peppers to season to taste
1/3 pound Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons of chili powder
20 pounds of lean meat
6 pounds of suet
1 1/2 gallons of tomato juice
Salt to taste

I soak the beans over night in plenty of water, next morning put on to cook and cook until beans are pretty well done, but whole. Then I add all ingredients except tomato juice and meat. Onions, garlic and peppers must be ground. Braise the meat and suet in the oven until brown, stirring occasionally. After chili is thoroughly blended add meat and tomato juice. Mix well and put in hot sterilized jars. Place in a hot water bath and boil for three hours. This will make about 35 quarts.
Mrs. Cal Eaton
Eugene, Oregon

20 December 1950, Abilene (TX) , pg. 3, col. 5:
Chili Made With Deer Meat Is
Served All Year in Gracey Home
By Betsy Battle
(...)
Ingredients: Two onions, 1 button garlic, 1 pound kidney fat, 3 pound lean meat, 1 small bottle chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, 2 tablespoons camino powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, salt to taste, 1/2 cup flour to mixture.

Method: Melt kidney fat, add onions, garlic. Cook until brown, add three pounds deer meat. Add two cups boiling water. Brown 1/2 cup flour. Add to mixture and cook about three hours. Meat should be soaked overnight in salt water to take out wild taste.

19 March 1953, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Allan Shivers Gives Venison Chili Recipe” by Gaynor Maddox, pg. 15A, col. 3:
AUSTIN, Tex.—The governor of Texas, Allan Shivers, invited us to the executive mansion for a dish of chili. 
(...)(Col. 2—ed.)
Governor Shivers’ Venison Chili
(Serves 6)
Two pounds venison, 4 tablespoons chili powder, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 4 tablespoons flour, 4 tablespoons fat, 2 tablespoons chopped suet, 1 large onion (chopped), 2 tablespoons salt, 1 quart hot water.

Cut meat in small chunks (do not grind). Mix with chili powder, garlic, flour. Melt fat and suet in deep pot; fry onion until tender; add meat mixture. Cook 15 minutes; add salt; gradually pour on hot water. Simmer one hour or until meat is tender.

This recipe is also good using cheaper cuts of lean beef. Omit suet with beef. If chili con carne with beans is desired, add Mexican-style beans with chili gravy. Serve over tamales, allowing two cans of tomato for 6 persons.

6 December 1953, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, pg. 13C, col. 3:
VENISON CHILI
1 pound ground venison
1 cup minced onion
1 clove of garlic minced
4 tablespoons fat or drippings
1 Number 2 can tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 Number 2 can plain kidney beans (if desired)
2 tablespoons chili blend

Brown the ground meat, onion and garlic in the hot fat or drippings. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and chili blend and cook slowly for about an hour.

21 November 1957, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Conversational Cooking—West Texas Style” by Louise Womble, pg. 6B, col. 5:
Venison Chili
Ingredients: 2 lbs. finely diced uncooked venison, 2 medium onions, diced, 2 tblsps. shortening, 2 tblsps. chile powder, 2 cups water, 1 tblsp. cumin seed, 2 tsp. garlic salt, 2 cups cooked pinto beans, one 12 1/2 oz. can tomatoes or more if you desire, salt and pepper to taste.
Method: Fry venison and onions together in melted shortening in a heavy pot. When well browned, add all other ingredients except beans. Cover and let simmer slowly for 3 hours adding beans the last 30 minutes of cooking. Add more water if it gets too thick. If not thick enough add 2 tablespoons cornmeal and cook 10 to 15 minutes.

14 December 1961, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Tolbert’s Texas” by Frank X. Tolbert, section 4, pg. 1:
If there is enough demand will also supply copies of a recipe for venison chili, authored by Mrs. Buck Marryat of Dallas.

24 September 1964, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 4B, cols. 2-3:
DEER CHILI
2 lbs. coarse ground deer meat
4 tbsps. fat
2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
3 tsps. salt
4 tsps. chili powder
6 tbsps. tomato paste
4 tbsps. flour
6 cups water
Brown meat in fat. Add chili powder, tomato paste, flour. Cook until onions are clear. Add water and cook 1 1/2 hours. Served about 8.

Google Books
The Texas Cookbook:
From barbecue to banquet—an informal view of dining and entertainment the Texas way
by Mary Faulk Koock
Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press
1965 (2001)
Pg. 49:
Venison Chili (to serve 18 to 20)
5 lbs. venison ( or 3 lbs. venison, 2 lbs. beef) coarsely ground
Vegetable oil
20 dry red chili pods (chilis Colorado)
Beef stock
1 tsp. (approx.) oregano
Ground cumin
Salt
5 or 6 cloves garlic

Saute meat in oil until light brown. Clean seeds out of chilis, rinse in cold water. Cover with a little water and bring to a boil; cook for about 30 minutes, or until they peel easily. Keep water; remove chilis, scrape pulp away from skin and mash pulp into paste. Add sauteed meat and mix together. Cover with beef stock and season to taste with oregano, cumin, salt and garlic. Let simmer slowly 5 to 6 hours.

21 February 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Some Inquiries on City of Noodle” by Frank X. Tolbert, section D, pg. 1:
SOME DEER MEAT chili, powerfully peppered from one of Wick Fowler’s “4-alarm chili” spice packages, was served to members of the Texas congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., recently by Rep. Earle Cabell of Dallas.

19 November 1967, Port Arthur (TX) News, pg. 2B, col. 1:
VENISON CHILI
Brown 1 pound ground venison in pan. Add 1 medium onion and 1/2 cup celery, chopped. Cook (illegible—ed.). Chop and add 1 clove garlic. Blend 2 Tablespoons chili powder with 2 Tablespoons cold water and add. Then add 1 Tablespoon guar and 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.

Add 1 can stewed tomatoes, cut up, and salt and pepper. Using a 5-quart pan, add 2 cups pinto beans with the liquid in which they were cooked and sufficient water to fill the pan. Cook all day.

19 June 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Rabbit Pepper, Prairie Onion in ‘Deer Recipe’” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 25:
In my next general book on Texas I’m going to have a section on recipes for entrees made from deer meat, although unless it is cleverly prepared I don’t care for venison except in chili. Venison and jackrabbit can’t be beat for chili meat.

10 November 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Chili Braggarts Run Page Ad in L.A. Times” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 15:
THE MOST “explosive” chili con carne was cooked at Terlingua by a fellow who wasn’t a formal contestant. He is Hondo Crouch, the goat rancher from Fredericksburg, Texas, who was making armadillo chili and serving it on the armadillo half shells. (Actually I got Hondo to confess the he was making the chili from “half armadillo meat and half deer,” probably using one deer to one armadillo.)

3 January 1971, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “On Border Tangerines and Bea Holmes’ Chili” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 31:
it turned out, though, that the Briscoe’s No. 1 chef, Mrs. Bea Holmes, is a real virtuoso with venison. The chicken fried venison, just faintly floured and very juicy, was excellent.

Now I’ve never had any prejudice against venison when used as the base for chili con carne. And Bea Holmes’ chili was so great that I urged her to enter the state chili con carne cookoff at San Marcos next autumn. The deer meat had been cut into rectangular, bite-size chunks and there was just the proper sting of the chillies without overpowering the meaty flavor. I won’t tell Mrs. Holmes’ secrets, and yet her chili recipe is very like the formula for the old Lang’s restaurants in Dallas as printed in my book on chili, “A Bowl of Red.”

14 December 1972, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section E, pg. 5:
VENISON CHILI
2 1/2 pounds ground venison
1 1/2 pounds bacon cut into pieces
4 No. 303 cans kidney
4 No. 303 cans tomatoes (8 cups)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt

Brown bacon pieces and drain partially. Add venison and brown. Combine remaining ingredients with the meat in a large pot. Add water to cover. Simmer for 2 hours. Serves about 20-24 people/

11 December 1975, Commerce (TX) Journal, pg. B2, cols. 5-6:
DEER CHILI
Grind 3-4 lbs. chili meat. Brown and add chili mix, spices or your own. Put in a big pot, simmering 4 hours, adding water and stirring. Beans can be added.

Google Books
Texas Highways Cookbook
by Joanne Smith
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
1986
Pg. 47:
The strong flavor of venison lends itself to chili. If you have some on hand, make this recipe from scratch, the way Mrs. Milton H. Thomas, Jr., a good, old-fashioned Dallas cook, does it.

Venison Chili
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup salad oil
6 bay leaves
3 15 1/2-ounce cans tomato sauce
4 teaspoons salt
4 pounds ground venison, hamburger grind
1 quart boiling water or chicken broth
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic

Saute onions in salad oil until soft and yellow. Add bay leaves, tomato sauce, and salt. Simmer 1 minute. Crumble meat into this. Add water, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. Add more boiling water if too dry. Serves 8-10.

Google Books
Cooking Texas Style
Tenth Anniversary Edition
by Candy Wagner and Sandra Marquez
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
1993
Pg. 97:
Venison Chili

In Texas, meat for chili is usually in the butcher case labeled as “Chili Grind” and is a much larger and rougher grind of meat than regular ground beef. Venison Chili is best made with this “chili grind,” and again here in Texas, the locker plant where the deer is processed will know what you are talking about.

Venison chili mea can be substituted for the beef in Basic Chili or Lone Star Chili (see this chapter for recipes). But with chili, like tacos and tamales, the variations are endless. Here is another recipe that works really well with venison, but you can also substitute beef in this recipe. (...)

Google Books
A Cowboy in the Kitchen:
Recipes from Reata and Texas West of the Pecos
by Grady Spears and Robb Walsh
Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press
1998
Pg. 40:
Venison Chili
Chili cook-off winners all have their secret recipes, and many cooks swear that venison makes the best chili. Whether that’s true or not, chili is a great way to use tougher game cuts like venison shoulder. be sure to cut the meat into very small chunks (about the size of the last joint of your little finger). Serve with hot tamales or Yaller Bread with Pintos (page 98).

Texas History Page
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Texas Independence Day Celebration & Chili Cook-Off
Come join the San Jacinto Chapter, DRT and CRT as we celebrate Texas Independence Day with the Texian Army.
(...)
If you are interested in having a Chili Team please contact Eron Brimberry Tynes @ 713-851-0520. It is time to dig out Uncle Bob’s old chili recipe and start chopping those red-hot chili peppers. Prizes will be given for the: Best Authentic Texian Chili, Best Deer Meat Chili, Best Armadillo Style Chili, Best Roadkill Chili, Best Trailriders’ Chile, Best Rattlesnake Rattle Chili, Best Red Hot Pepper Chili, Best Possum Chili, Best Squirrel Chili and more. Last year we had to add two new categories - Best Buffalo Meat Chili and Best Chocolate Chili. Come see how many you can win.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, October 13, 2007 • Permalink