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Recipe: Crockpot Elk Chili

Question: What's better---and more reminiscent of autumn---than a hot bowl of chili that's been cooking all day in the Crockpot? Answer: Nothing! Although our temperatures in Idaho have still been in the 80s and 90s for most of elk season, we had a random cold front for a few days, and it really made me crave some chili.

Chili is one of those foods that is completely customizable for your tastes. There are so many possibilities: beans, noodles, spices, chilis, beer, etc. Personally, chili isn't chili if it isn't spicy. And sugar has no place in it! I consider my recipe somewhat standard, but it did win 1st place in the "spicy" category of a chili cookoff!


1 lb ground elk burger

2 tbsp chili powder, divided

2 tbsp cumin, divided

1 whole yellow onion, diced

2 tsp minced garlic

2 quarts stewed tomatoes (home-canned if possible!)

2-15.5 oz cans dark red kidney beans

1-15.5 oz can light red kidney beans

2 tbsp dried, crushed peppers (I use a mix of cayenne and habanero)

Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar, sour cream, crackers, corn chips, etc.


In a large skillet, saute onions until slightly translucent. Then add the elk burger, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, and all minced garlic. Mix ingredients together in skillet and brown the burger until done.

While the meat is cooking, empty tomatoes into Crockpot. Drain and rinse beans and add to Crockpot. Add burger mixture. Add remainder of spices: 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp crushed peppers. Mix until well blended.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Taste occasionally for spice level. The more, the better!

Serve topped with shredded cheese and your favorite toppings!

Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting elk, deer, turkey, pronghorn, and waterfowl. She is a team member at Huntress View, Pro Staff for Browning Trail Cameras, and Brand Ambassador for the GoWild app and BaseMap app. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.

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