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Spicy Venison Chili Con Carne

Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Johan Johansen


Meaty bits:

  • 150 grams of quality bacon from the butcher diced
  • 750 grams of ox tails
  • 500 grams of cubed venison stew meat

Aromatic vegetables for braise:

  • 2 carrots cut into large chunks
  • 2 onions peeled and cut in quarters
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into large chunks
  • 1 bulb of garlic root sliced off
  • 1/2 Habanero chili seeds removed (optional)

Aromatic vegetables for Chili con Carne:

  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 medium-sized onions finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 Green Jalapeños seeds and membranes removed, finely diced

Chili spice blend:

  • 4 dried Ancho chilies
  • 2 dried Chipotle chilies
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 teaspoons of corriander

Dried spices:

  • 1 one-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 juniper berries lightly smashed
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 5 long peppers see note

Other necessities:

  • 140 grams of concentrated tomato paste
  • 500 grams of Chili Beans see note
  • 400 ml of red wine
  • 25 grams of quality dark chocolate 80% cocoa content
  • 100 ml of Bourbon I used Bulleit Kentucky Straight Whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Ox tail braise:

  1. Preheat your oven to 120C
  2. Season ox tails generously with salt and pepper
  3. Pour a tablespoon of oil and the bacon into a cast iron pot set over medium heat
  4. Cook bacon for a few minutes until fat renders out and bacon bits turn golden brown
  5. Evacuate the bacon bits and turn heat to high and let pot come up to temperature
  6. When pan is hot, brown the ox tails a couple of minutes on all sides
  7. Add bacon back to the pan along with the roughly chopped carrots, onions, celery, the entire bulb of garlic and Habanero (if using)
  8. Also add half of the tomato paste, bay leaves, juniper berries, star anise and long peppers
  9. Pour over about 300 ml of the red wine and put the lid firmly on the pod
  10. Put pan in the oven and leave ox tails to braise for at least five hours

Spice blend:

  1. Snip the stems off the dried Anchos and Chipotles, then shake out any seeds
  2. Put a dry, empty skillet over low heat and place the chilies in the pan
  3. Toast chilies for a few minutes until warm and fragrant, be careful they don’t burn
  4. Using a knife or a spice grinder, chop the chilies roughly into smaller pieces
  5. Put toasted chilies in a bowl, then mix in the red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, ground cumin, oregano and coriander
  6. This is your Chili spice blend


  1. Grab a cast iron or stainless steel pan large enough to hold all ingredients for the finished chili
  2. Set said pan over low heat, add a tablespoon or so of oil
  3. Add in all your finely diced aromatics: onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper and the Jalapeños
  4. Cook aromatics low and slow for about an hour until tender and fragrant, there should be no hissing or frying sounds
  5. Tip in all of the spice mix from the step above and stir to distribute evenly, continue to cook at low heat


  1. Season venison generously with salt and pepper
  2. Grab a cast iron or stainless steel skillet and put it over high heat
  3. Once hot, add a generous amount of oil and brown your venison meat thoroughly in 2-3 batches
  4. Once meat is seared, dump it into the pot containing the aromatics and spices
  5. When all the meat is seared, put the rest of the tomato paste in the skillet and fry for about a minute
  6. Turn off the heat under the skillet and pour in the remaining red wine to deglaze the pan
  7. Scrape thoroughly along the bottom of the pan with a spoon or spatula to get any brown goodness unstuck, then pour wine and tomato mixture in with the aromatics and meat
  8. Put a lid on the large pot and turn heat up to medium-low, cook low and slow for about three hours


  1. You may now take a break until the ox tails have braised for at least five hours
  2. Watch a movie, drink a beer, clean the kitchen, take a nap, read a book. Whatever your heart desires

Putting it all together

  1. After the five hours of braising time is up evacuate your pot of ox tails from the oven.
  2. Put a large strainer or colander over a fitting bowl and strain the braising liquid into the bowl
  3. Carefully pick out the ox tails and set aside on a cutting board and allow to cool slightly
  4. Squeeze whatever liquid you can from the vegetables into the bowl, then discard the vegetables
  5. Remove lid from your simmering pot of venison and aromatics and pour the braising liquid into the pot
  6. Leave the pot to simmer gently with the lid off
  7. When the ox tails are cool enough to handle, shred the meat using a fork or your fingers and discard the bones
  8. Add the shredded meat to the large simmering pot along with the chocolate, cinnamon stick, the chili beans (liquid and all), Bourbon and Worcestershire sauce
  9. Stir carefully and allow the now fully assembled Chili Con Carne to simmer for at least an hour
  10. When time is up, remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and star anise, then taste for seasoning. It shouldn’t need any, but you can add salt, pepper and/or more heat or spice to your liking
  11. Once happy, serve immediately over rice with a dollop of sour cream

Recipe Notes

Long peppers are curious, long, fragrant whole peppers. They're sort of like black pepper but with a cinnamon-like note to them. They're readily available online or at specialty spice stores.
Chili beans are pre-cooked beans (usually kidney beans) packed in a sweet/spicy tomato sauce with chilies and other spices. They add sweetness, warmth and tomato goodness to the finished product.