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Ground Bison Chili Recipe

I recently got a hookup to five pounds of ground bison at a price of $5/lb which is a killer deal. I love bison. On the rare occasion I have meat, I prefer meat that is humanely raised and as clean as possible. Bison checks that box. Since they are undomesticated wild animals, they need to be raised in huge fields with lots of natural grass and vegetation. This makes their meat lean and nutritious, but without sacrificing flavor.

For ground bison, my go-to way to cook it is in chili. It's a perfect add-in for my already awesome Vegan Chili. All I do is reduce the amount of beans and tweak the amount of sauces that are added since the bison already provides that meaty umami flavor. If you even have access to ground bison, give this recipe a try. Or substitute for ground beef, ideally grass-fed ground beef.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison (or substitute ground beef)
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, diced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning mix
    • 2 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel mild
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 14 oz cans beans drained or 1/2 pound dried beans cooked using my simple instant pot method - any combination of pinto, black, or kidney (my personal go-to for this is 100% black beans)
  • 1-2 cups water depending on how thick or thin you want the chili
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


  • Work your way from the top down on the ingredients list. Start by cooking the ground bison in the olive oil while you chop the onion, peppers, and garlic.
  • When the meat is still a bit pink but majority browned, add the onions and peppers and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and spices and cook 1-2 minutes to open up the flavor molecules.
  • Add the can of Rotel, liquid and all, and cook it down until there is little liquid remaining.
  • Add the can of crushed tomatoes and cooked, drained beans.
  • Add the water, sugar, and liquid flavoring ingredients.
  • Bring everything to a simmer and cook for another 5-10 minutes for the flavorings to come together. Taste to adjust seasonings. If too sour from the tomato or vinegar, you can add more sugar to balance it. If too bland, add more salt. If too thin, allow to simmer longer. If too thick, add more water. If not spicy enough, add cayenne pepper or diced jalapenos. If too salty or spicy, unfortunately not much you can do except adjust the recipe for next time.
  • Serve it as is or doll it up as you would any regular chili.