Bison Chili
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Bison Chili

Bison chili (also called buffalo chili) is a healthier twist on traditional beef chili. It’s made with bison meat, black beans, and bacon. Plus, it’s flavored for fall with the unique addition of spiced apples and apple cider!

This chili recipe is perfect for fall tailgating and chili cookoffs.

Apple Pie Chili
When I last made this recipe, my family and I sat around the table eating bison chili and talking about deep things – like how much we liked the chili. We talked about how it’s made in a similar way to more traditional chilis, but with chopped apples instead of tomatoes and with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in addition to the chili powder.

We debated over whether the chili was spicy enough – Jonathan would make it spicier, but my son and I thought it was perfect. We ruminated on the sweetness – with a touch of brown sugar, this chili is ever so slightly sweet, not dessert sweet. We then moved on to talking about last year’s neighborhood chili cookoff and how I really wanted to enter this chili in this year’s contest. I believe that it’s a winner!

Why Bison Chili?

Buffalo roaming in a field

Why make the switch from beef to bison in your chili?

  1. It’s considered healthier. According to The National Bison Association, Bison has only 2.4 grams of fat and 143 calories in 3.5 ounces once cooked, compared to 8 grams of fat and 200 calories in a piece of “select” beef.
  2. It’s often more humanely raised. According to the National Bison Association, “Bison are handled as little as possible. Bison are not domesticated, they spend their lives on grass, with very little or no time in the feedlot. They are not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals or hormones.” The association bylaws oppose the use of these substances in the production of Bison for meat.

What Tools Do You Need to Make Bison Chili?

To make bison chili, you’ll want a large pot or a dutch oven. Other than that, you don’t need anything special!

How to Make Bison Chili

The first step is to cook the bacon. Add oil and bacon to a pot on medium heat and cook until bacon is cooked but not crispy (about 4 minutes).

Next, you’ll need to cook the onions. Add finely chopped onions, stir, lower heat to medium, cover and cook until onions are translucent (about 7 minutes).

Uncover, add in minced garlic, and stir for about one minute.

Add ground bison, break up, and cook until browned (about 7 minutes).

Rockcrock
Add spices and sugar. I use salt, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and brown sugar.

Add peeled and finely chopped apples and apple cider and bring to a boil.

Apple Peeler Corer
Cover and cook for thirty minutes.

Uncover, add canned black beans and tomato paste, stir, and cook for five to ten more minutes or until the beans are hot.

Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese.

More Bison Recipes to Try

Other Recipes to Complete Your Meal

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Apple Pie Chili
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5 from 1 vote

Bison Chili

Bison chili (also called buffalo chili) is a healthier twist on traditional beef chili. It's made with bison meat, black beans, and bacon. Plus, it's flavored for fall with the unique addition of spiced apples and cider!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bison chili
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10
Calories 435kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon diced
  • 2 cups yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 28 ounces peeled and finely diced apples I used small Jonathan apples and this was about 14 apples
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 30 ounces black beans, drained 2 cans
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • shredded cheddar cheese to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot or other Dutch oven on medium-high heat.
  • Add oil and bacon.
  • Cook until bacon is cooked but not crispy, about 4 minutes.
  • Add onions, stir, lower heat to medium, cover and cook until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.
  • Uncover, add in garlic, and stir for about one minute.
  • Add ground bison, break up, and cook until browned (about 7 minutes).
  • Add salt, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and brown sugar.
  • Add apples and cider and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and cook for thirty minutes.
  • Uncover, add the beans and tomato paste, stir, and cook for five to ten more minutes or until the beans are hot.
  • Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Bison Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 435 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 722mg30%
Potassium 797mg23%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 9g36%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 304IU6%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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7 comments on “Bison Chili”

  1. Laurasays:

    This sounds really interesting – I particularly like the sound of using apples instead of tomatoes for a change. I’d like to make it just as you have made it but I can’t get bison near me so I’ll have to try it using plain old minced beef but I will definitely try this recipe instead of just adding it the the other thousands of pins I have!

    • Stefsays:

      Glad you like the idea! Let me know what you think. I’m sure it will be great with beef too! Maybe cut back to two pieces of bacon instead of three since the beef is much more fatty than bison.

  2. Kittishsays:

    I kind of have to question calling this ‘chili’, due to the almost complete lack of any sort of, well, chili peppers. One part I have a big problem with, bringing it to a boil with the meat in it. Ugh, no. Simmer sure, but don’t boil meat, especially not expensive stuff like bison. If you make it again, try just bringing it to just a gentle simmer and see if that doesn’t improve the flavor.

    The recipe has potential, and I’m sure I’ll be playing with it, mainly with adding sweet chili peppers and some spicy ones.

    • Stefsays:

      Kittish – Let me know how your version came out. Many chilis have chili powder and not chili peppers (I think that still qualifies as a chili). Also, I did not find that boiling the meat affected the taste. It was quite good.

  3. Melodysays:

    My signature chili is a bison chili, and my not-so-secret ingredient is chocolate squares. I am almost sure you did a chocolate chili cupcake on the way way back which was the reason I originally added it. Just putting that out there. (PS I also use chili powder instead of chili peppers, but I add two jalapeños.)

  4. Yummy!!
    That’s a hot DX
    Need more for my weekend. :D

  5. Glad you like the idea! Let me know what you think. I’m sure it will be great with beef too! Maybe cut back to two pieces of bacon instead of three since the beef is much more fatty than bison.

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