Elk Chili (or Beef, Bison or Chicken)

March 7, 2022  •  Meat & Poultry, One Dish Meals

Someone shared some ground elk with us back in December, and I turned it into chili (you can easily sub beef or bison in this recipe, or even ground chicken). He suggested that it needed some pork or something added to the ground elk because the elk is so very very lean, and fortunately I had some ground pork belly on hand that was perfect.

You’ve maybe never heard of ground pork belly? Well I get my pork from a local farmer friend of mine, and when you get a half hog, it comes with a full side of belly. Sometimes I have them turn that into bacon and sometimes I use the belly to make pancetta. But this year, with both of those still on hand from last year, I asked them to simply grind it for me for use later in meatloaf, meatballs, or chili, like this recipe. Turns out that was a very good idea indeed!

Elk Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
  • 2 pounds ground elk
  • 1 pound ground pork belly
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped roasted peppers (See Notes)
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups stock (I used turkey because it's what I had on hand)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine the elk and pork belly in a large stockpot, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is cooked through and all of the pork fat is rendered. Add the onion, carrot, celery, peppers, tomatoes stock, and spices. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the beans and cilantro. Taste for the seasonings and add more spices or salt and pepper as you'd like.
  3. Serve with grated cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, or other topping of your choice.
  4. Freeze in smaller containers for easy reheating.
A chili recipe like this really can use a variety of vegetables. I had a mixture of roasted peppers in the freezer - some jalapeños, some green and red bell peppers, and a poblano - and I just used them all to use them up. But pick any you like and omit the jalapeño if you don't like heat.


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