Maple Venison Slow Cooker Chili – Forget What You Know About Wheat(c)


  Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Maple Venison Slow Cooker Chili is a fabulous recipe a foodie Sugar Maker friend of mine shared.  At the very start of this year’s maple run, Melissa Sargent-Minor of L&J Sweet Stuff Makers of VT Pure Maple Syrup & Maple Cream, shared with me her slow cooker recipe for Maple Bacon Venison Chili.  She mentioned this during my interview with her while working on one of this season’s first Raw Maple Sap Boil.  She said she had put together the chili for the family, because everyone would be working hard that day.  Vermont State has a beautiful and old culture of planting, bartering and buying local ingredients and cooking delicious whole food meals.  This past summer, Melissa canned her tomatoes and recommends home canned tomatoes as the best addition for this recipe. 

     I used Venison a local hunter friend of mine recently gave me.  Venison is Deer meat and here in Vermont there is a strong, ancient and humane hunting culture. Deer fat needs to be trimmed away for the best Venison flavor, but cooking the game in fat yields the most delicious and delicate results.  Common Vermont cooking tradition is to cook the venison in butter, lard or bacon fat.  In this recipe, partially cook the bacon in a sauté pan and then partially cook the venison in the bacon fat.  All will get tossed in the crock pot with a few additional ingredients.  I chose to use some humanely harvested bacon from my farmer friend, Shawn Sweet of Sweet Happy Farms.

     I amended Melissa’s recipe slightly.  The genetic Southern Italian inside of me demanded the inclusion of garlic and heat. I chose to use a few dashes of habanero hot sauce that I make as well as home canned tomatoes I put together at the end of last summer. 

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The chili I made was created in Vermont’s Buy Local tradition using habaneros and tomatoes from Tejanus Herbs, Wild Edibles & Vegies NOFA Certified Organic Greenhouses in St. Albans, VT.   


     The addition of the VT Pure Maple Syrup further tenderizes the meat and provides slightly sweet and amazing sauce for the chili.  Quick to assemble, go to work and return home to a meal that will feel like a feast.  Thanks to the Melissa for the amazing L & J Sweet Stuff VT Pure Maple Syrup used in this recipe.

Yields approximately 8 cups of Chili

1 pound humanely harvested ground Venison

12 ounces “Uncured” humanely harvested guten free Bacon

½ cup dry Cannelini or Black Beans

1 medium Onion

2 cloves Garlic

(optional)   A few dashes Habanero Hot Sauce (to taste)

1 quart (32 ounces) whole canned Tomatoes in their liquid

¾ cup VT Pure Maple Syrup

My apologies for the lack of prep pictures resulting from a terrible and unfortunate technical problem with my camera.

Prepare the Meat:  Cut bacon in thirds, partially cook in a large sauté or frying pan.  Remove bacon and place in crock pot of slow cooker.  Crumble the ground Venison in the still hot pan and partially cook until the fat is absorbed.  Place the venison into the crock.

Chop the onion and garlic, stir and combine with the meat.  Then mix in the dry beans, stir to thoroughly combine.  Add the tomatoes in their liquid and stir.  Finally pour in the VT Pure Maple Syrup.  Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.  Serve alone or with rice and Enjoy!


“Maple Venison Slow Cooker Chili” by Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2017

Interviews with Local VT Pure Maple Sugaring Families:


Melissa Sargent-Minor of L & J Sweet Stuff

Brenda Potter of Potter Family Farms

Check Out Maple Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Recipes:


Maple Ricotta Pancakes



Maple Snow Drop Biscotti


Maple Mustard


Click, Scroll Down & Read Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup

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the Abenaki Legend of Maple Syrup

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