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25 Best Chili Recipes From Alligator to Venison

25 best Chili recipes, which is really the best recipe? Texas-style? Beans or Chili recipes no beans? Chili recipes with ground beef? Turkey? Venison? or something you haven’t tried yet? Next, how do you prepare it? Chili recipes crock pot? Stovetop? Chili recipes instant pot? or an open fire while camping?

25 Best Chili Recipes: A Brief History

If you like Chili, you know that there are almost too many ways to make this spicy dish. Just go to a Chili cook-off and you’ll be amazed at how many different kinds there are. Chili can range from mild to hot, and it can be made with different kinds of peppers, meats, spices, and sometimes even beans or noodles.

Chili, also called Chili con carne (which means ‘Chili with meat’), seems to have come from the American West, especially the State of Texas. An old story says that when people from the Canary Islands moved to San Antonio in the early 1700s, they brought with them a recipe for Chili.

In the 1880s, San Antonio had a lot of Chili stands. Customers were served ‘bowls o’ red’ by women known as ‘Chili queens’, and the popularity of Chili con carne began to spread across the country. The dish was served at the San Antonio Chili Stand at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

25 Best Chili Recipes Today

At Chili cook-offs today, people have fun arguing about which ingredients make ‘real’ Chili. Many Texan Chili purists think that a ‘bowl o’ red’ is just Chili peppers, meat, and spices. In versions from the Midwest, beans and more fat are often added to the mix. Chili from different parts of the country often includes tomato sauce and/or pasta noodles.

In 1952, at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, cook-offs really got started. The now-famous Terlingua Chili Championship, which took place in Texas in 1967, set the tone for the next several decades.

People who enter Chili cook-offs often make their own version of Chili by choosing the ingredients they think will give it the strongest flavor. There are different kinds of meat in Chili, like beef, sausage, turkey, and deer. Chili chefs will also choose a variety of Chili peppers that they think will give their Chili the right amount of spice and heat.

People are still very passionate about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to make Chili. And those of us who just like to eat it can relax and get another helping. No matter what camp you belong to, these 25 best Chili recipes will help you make a bowl that’s good enough to win a blue ribbon. Don’t forget to serve it with tortilla chips or buttery cornbread on top or on the side.

We chose 25 best Chili Recipes using different meats as the featured ingredient. Alligator to Venison, Seafood to Wild Birds, and even Rattlesnake. There is a wide variety of Chili Recipes to choose from. Enjoy the trip.

25 Best Chili Recipes

Our 25 Best Chili Recipes From Alligator to Venison



1. Alligator Chili from Cooking NRT

25 Best Chili Recipes - Alligator Chili

Alligators can be farm-raised and purchased whole or in parts throughout the year. You can purchase alligator tenderloin online or from specialty butcher shops.

Here, tiny nuggets of alligator tenderloin become tender and juicy in this cozy recipe. Try this one of the 25 best chili recipes. You’ll be amazed.

If you can’t find alligator, other ground meat, such as lean pork, chicken or turkey also work.

Serve this chili over spaghetti if you want to mimic a hunting camp meal or eat it with cornbread.

2. Armadillo Chili from CD Kitchen

25 Best Chili Recipes - Armadillo Chili

A recipe for Armadillo Chili made with armadillo meat, olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, celery salt, seasoned salt. This delicious recipe from the 25 best chili recipes is easy to make.

Be sure that your local butcher has hung the meat in his cooler for a few days to cure it. For those of you who don`t know a butcher who can provide `dilla meat, then minced beef or lamb can be substituted.

3. Best Ever Bear Chili from Miss Allie’s Kitchen

25 Best Chili Recipes - Bear Chili

This is the best bear chili you will ever have and is perfect for using up ground black bear meat. It’s balanced with spices, rich tomato, and veggies.

Bear is a wonderful and highly, highly underrated game meat.

It’s fattier (obviously) than elk and venison and I think the ground meat is sweeter and more pleasing than beef.

If cooked properly, it’s one of the most delicious meats ever. Ground meat is really easy to work with because bear has more fat and less of a gamey flavor.

I do find that bear meat is best when balanced by a little bit of acid like vinegar or citrus, like a lot of wild game meats.

I also like it in recipes where the natural mild sweetness can shine, like in this chili recipe here. Out of all of these 25 best chili recipes, which has been your favorite?

4. Bison Chili from The Woks of Life

25 Best Chili Recipes - Bison Chili

Since they were almost hunted to the brink of extinction, the American Bison has made a nice little comeback and is actually raised for the sake of good eats.

Bison is really, really good. It has a certain richness and depth of flavor that your standard beef just doesn’t quite have.

This bison chili recipe serves 6 to 8. So enjoy this delicious, spicy bison chili while it lasts! Is this recipe from 25 best chili recipes one you would try?

5. Spicy Buffalo Chili from Spruce Eats

25 Best Chili Recipes - Buffalo Chili

This spicy chili recipe uses buffalo, or bison meat, instead of the usual ground beef. Have you tried this particular recipe from 25 best chili recipes?

Buffalo chili is lower in fat and calories than chili made with beef since the buffalo is a leaner animal.

A famous legend has it that the all-American chili so regularly served for dinner across the country traces its roots to the Old West of the 19th century.

It’s where cowboy cooks doctored up trail meats, like buffalo, beef, venison, rabbit or even rattlesnake, with spicy peppers to make them more palatable.

6. Caribou Chili from Alaska.gov

25 Best Chili Recipes - Caribou Chili

This recipe was created during the 25 years I lived in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor and relies heavily on canned goods.

Sometimes I’ll substitute fresh or frozen for canned ingredients or include corn or leftover steak, depending on what’s on hand and how much room’s in the crock pot. Try this one of the 25 best chili recipes. You’ll be amazed.

7. Chicken Chili from Sunday Supper Movement

25 Best Chili Recipes - Chicken Chili

Cozy up to a bowl of the best chicken chili recipe EVER! Mexican chicken chili is full of flavor from three kinds of beans, corn, tomatoes with chiles, chicken, and onion.

Top it off with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, and sour cream, and you have yourself a bowl of the most delicious chicken chili soup ever!

Chili is one of my favorite foods. This delicious recipe from the 25 best chili recipes is easy to make.

Flavorful, easy chicken chili is one of my all-time favorite ways to make chili. But this Mexican chili soup… it’s something else!

The seasoning, three kinds of beans, and tomatoes with green chiles really kick this Mexican chili up a notch from your average classic chili recipe.

This is a spicy chili recipe, but not overpowering. Adding corn gives it a nice, sweet crunch, and once you melt the cheese on top, it’s all over!

8. Crab Chili from Grilling 24×7

25 Best Chili Recipes - Crab Chili

Looking for a unique chili that’s sure to please, then you’ve got to try this creamy white crab chili. Take cream of crab to a new level.

I know that making white chili crab might sound strange but I promise you this is next level comfort food that you’ll love!!

If you love Over the top Chili recipes this one is another must try!! Have you tried this particular recipe from 25 best chili recipes?

From big crab flavor, white beans, fresh corn, and a slight jalapeño kick, this chili is an absolute crowd-pleaser.

If you love cream of crab soup you will be quite pleased with this amped-up Chesapeake crustacean creation.

9. Duck Chili from DuckChar

25 Best Chili Recipes - Duck Chili

Duck chili is better tasting than beef chili and better for you since it’s red meat-free.

Moulard Duck Breast adds a profound richness to this dish. That’s not surprising since we’re cooking with duck. The preparation and cooking for this chili recipe are exactly the same as what you’re used to.

Like most meals, the best duck chili recipe is the simplest one. Is this recipe from 25 best chili recipes one you would try?

10. Easy Elk Chili from My Recipes

25 Best Chili Recipes - Elk Chili

Substitute ground venison, buffalo, or lean beef for the elk in this hearty chili recipe. Out of all of these 25 best chili recipes, which has been your favorite?

You can prepare the chili up to a day ahead, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Freeze leftovers in individual freezer-safe zip-top plastic bags for up to two months.

11. Fish Chili Southern Style from Mr. Food

25 Best Chili Recipes - Fish Chili

Everyone has a chili recipe, but not like this one, they don’t! And with everybody into fish ’cause it’s lighter, they’ll reach for seconds and maybe for thirds and fourths!

Try this one of the 25 best chili recipes. You’ll be amazed. It serves 4 and cooks in only 15 minutes.

12. Goat Chili from Farm Fit Living

25 Best Chili Recipes - Goat Chili

One of my family’s favorite recipes to use with ground goat is goat chili. This delicious recipe from the 25 best chili recipes is easy to make.

Goat is a sweet meat and paired with chili beans and tomato sauce, really hits the spot on the cold days!

Goat meat is the most consumed red meat in the entire world. It is also extremely healthy. Goat meat is low in cholesterol and high in protein and iron.

This chili is a great way to try goat meat for the first time. Enjoy with some homemade cornbread, crackers and shredded cheese.

13. Goose Chili and White Beans from Back Country Hunters

25 Best Chili Recipes - Goose-Chili

Geese often create a culinary dilemma for hunters. They are fun to hunt, sure, but most do not enjoy eating them.

Typically, people resort to turning their goose harvest into jerky. I understand that hunters also want to know what to do with a non-cured hunk of breast meat.

This recipe is for just that occasion. It calls for diced breast meat, but ground leg meat will work too (Don’t use diced leg meat, it will be too tough). Have you tried this particular recipe from 25 best chili recipes?

The recipe is an easy one pot white bean chili. Feel free to substitute the bean variety of your choice, however. This could just as easily, and deliciously, be a black bean chili.


Want more ideas to round-out your Recipe Box?
A lot of great options are in these posts!


14. JackRabbit Chili from The Outdoors Forum

25 Best Chili Recipes - JackRabbit Chili

Jackrabbits are a very underutilized source of wild game meat. They are large, abundant, and given the proper care they are delicious. The preparation and cooking for this chili recipe are exactly the same as what you’re used to.

To me it presents one of the greatest challenges to a wild game cook. It’s so simple and comforting it will have the most devout wild game purist swooning.

This recipe does fall back on the wild game cooking crutches of bacon and beer to mask some wild flavor. Is this recipe from 25 best chili recipes one you would try?

Measure or eyeball the weights of the Jack and bacon. Most of the time the meat from a ground Jack and 25% bacon will be over 3lb.

Grind the Jack and bacon separately through the coarse plate on your grinder. Then mix them together by hand. Run the mixture through the fine plate on your grinder.

15. Lobster Chili from Food Schmooze

25 Best Chili Recipes - Lobster Chili

Here’s a recipe I came up with while fantasizing about the Aztec lobster chili that Sahagún sampled in the 1520s.

Granted, the Aztecs weren’t eating Maine lobsters and their maize didn’t look much like our corn on the cob, but you get the picture.

Don’t be too surprised if this ancient/modern chili is the tastiest you have ever eaten. Out of all of these 25 best chili recipes, which has been your favorite?

16. Moose Chili from All Recipes

25 Best Chili Recipes - Moose Chili

This is a chili I have been making for years. I have made it with all kinds of ground meats (beef, turkey, deer, elk) but I prefer ground moose.

The longer you let it simmer the better as the flavors will blend. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Serve with fresh baked cornbread and sweet honey butter. Try this one of the 25 best chili recipes. You’ll be amazed. Men LOVE this meal!

17. Ostrich Chili – Sweet & Spicy from American Ostrich Farms

25 Best Chili Recipes - Ostrich Chili

Ground ostrich steak, a perfect spice blend and a touch of sweetness combine for a unique and delicious chili you don’t want to miss!

This ostrich chilli recipe is a warming, satisfying blend of ostrich mince, red kidney beans, chilli and chopped tomatoes.

The succulent flavors of the mince are brought out by Chicken Stock, cumin, garlic and a hint of brown sugar.

This delicious recipe from the 25 best chili recipes is easy to make.

18. Oxtail Chili from Our Modern Kitchen

25 Best Chili Recipes - Oxtail Chili

This recipe holds special meaning for us as it is the recipe that sparked the initial conversation about Our Modern Kitchen.

The spiced butter, shamelessly borrowed from Heston Blumenthal, brings a fragrant and variable spice, whilst the oxtail gives a rich and unctuous depth of flavor.

Have you tried this particular recipe from 25 best chili recipes? Once tried, it’s sure to become an instant favorite.

19. Pheasant Chili from Up Your Game

25 Best Chili Recipes - Pheasant Chili

A twist on a spicy classic, pheasant chili, is full of flavor, loved by the whole family; a real crowd pleaser.

Cook bird of choice and shred the meat. Cut up onion and peppers and saute. The preparation and cooking for this chili recipe are exactly the same as what you’re used to.

Then just add everything together in a crock pot and you can change ingredients to your liking. . .add something different or more of something, sometimes I use another bag of cheese, take something out, jalapenos for example.

Serve with tortilla chips… makes a great dip or just eat as chili. Is this recipe from 25 best chili recipes one you would try?

20. Pork Chili from Dear Crissy

25 Best Chili Recipes - Pork Chili

My ground pork chili recipe will be the best chili you’ve ever eaten! After discovering how great chili with ground pork tastes, we’re never going back!

When it comes to chili, everyon has an opinion. It’s funny how one person’s perfect chili might not be everyone’s favorite.

Sometimes I’m reluctant to proclaim a recipe my favorite, but, I’m going to throw caution to the wind this time and let you know that this ground pork chili is THE BEST CHILI EVER!

I’m not even kidding, y’all. I need you to make this and then report back to confirm my findings! Out of all of these 25 best chili recipes, which has been your favorite?

21. Quail Chili from Quail Forever

25 Best Chili Recipes - Quail Chili

There are some folks who will tell you there is no such thing as chili that contains cream and isn’t of a red hue.

On the other hand, it’s also worth pointing out any “chili” with beans is also technically not chili,

The International Chili Society defines traditional red chili as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA, which are strictly forbidden.

No matter what kind of game bird is stocking your freezer — from quail to pheasants or grouse — this white chili recipe will do it proud. Try this one of the 25 best chili recipes. You’ll be amazed.

22. Rattlesnake Chili from Kingsford

25 Best Chili Recipes - Rattlesnake Chili

If you’ve ever tried rattlesnake meat, you know those cold-blooded critters are surprisingly tender. You can find smoked versions at some stores, or order deliveries online.

If you can’t find rattlesnake meat in your area, you can order it online, either smoked in a can or from a site like exoticmeats.com.

This delicious recipe from the 25 best chili recipes is easy to make. Alternatively, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which makes things just a tad easier!

23. Reindeer Sausage Chili from Anchorage.net

25 Best Chili Recipes - Reindeer Sausage Chili

Melt butter in large pot and add onions until caramelized. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Follow the recipe. Have you tried this particular recipe from 25 best chili recipes?

Chili will be thick, you can adjust by adding beef stock. Before serving adjust spices and remove fat from top of chili.

Serve alone, in a bread bowl or with elbow macaroni. Top chili with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and fresh jalapenos! Enjoy!

24. Turkey Chili from Ambitious Kitchen

25 Best Chili Recipes - Turkey Chili

Healthy turkey chili made with lean ground turkey, kidney beans and corn. This version is simply the BEST!

Perfectly spiced and packed with plenty of protein and fiber. Can be made on the stovetop or in your slow cooker!

Little did I expect this turkey chili to surprise me with it’s thick texture and addicting flavor. Is this recipe from 25 best chili recipes one you would try?

And I do have to admit that I’ve made it four times in the past month. It’s one of those recipes you can tuck in your recipe box or bookmark on your phone.

25. Venison Chili from Culinary Hill

25 Best Chili Recipes - Venison Chili

This easy Venison Chili recipe is hearty and delicious, perfect for the cold months of hunting season or any time you have ground venison in your freezer.

When you’re lucky enough to have a freezer full of deer meat, or you know someone who does, making a big pot of chili is a no-brainer.

And, this recipe can be made on the stove, in an Instant Pot, or in your slow cooker. Out of all of these 25 best chili recipes, which has been your favorite?


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