To Bean, or Not to Bean: That is the Question

By Brianna Botine

The First Annual Cordillera Chili Cook-off was a huge success! With 12 varieties of delicious chili to taste, members and guests had a great time enjoying the atmosphere at the Outfitter Center. There were three different prizes for the event: Andra McConnell and Mandi Pease were awarded the Showmanship Award. Their “Make Chili Great Again” booth was very patriotic with American cookies, Chili Beads to wear and more creative attire for the girls. The People’s Choice Award went to the “Six Shooters,” the team of Kerry Fisher, Justin Kuehler, Kurt Pennington, Mac Northington, Benjamin Pena and Steven Farris. Their flavorful chili not only tasted great, but we all were serenaded by festive Mariachis to boot. Last but not least, the winner of the Chili Cook-off Belt and Chef’s Choice Award went to Shane Reynolds! His venison chili was picked by the judges for Texture, Flavor, Color and Smell. To answer the question of the day … according to Shane, an emphatic, “NO BEANS!” We want to thank all of our cooks for making this event the place to be and we hope to see you all at the 2019 Chili Cook-off.

Brianna Botine is the Member Relations Director at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at or 830.336.9177.

Shane’s Venison Chili Recipe


• Two pounds of axis venison with a 70/30 venison/beef ground mix

• One pound axis deer sausage 

• Two spoons of ancho chili powder

• One spoon of chili powder

• Four spoons of bacon grease (from 4 pieces of fried bacon) 

• One box of beef stock (32 oz, but I only use about half the box)

• One-third cup of diced garlic

• One yellow onion diced finely

• Two spoons of ground cumin

• One spoon of ground dry cilantro

• One spoon of ground dry oregano

• Two spoons of course salt

• Half spoon of garlic salt

• Half spoon of cayenne pepper

• Three spoons of course crushed black pepper

• Two finely chopped dry ancho peppers

• One chopped jalapeno pepper

• One chopped yellow bell pepper

• One can of tomato sauce (8 oz can…basil, oregano and garlic…but I only use 5-6oz)

• One can of fire roasted diced tomato (14.5 oz)

• One can of fire roasted diced tomato with jalapeno (14.5 oz)

• **NO BEANS**


Brown the ground venison/beef mix in the bacon grease and transfer all contents of the skillet into a large pot (or crock pot is what I prefer), including the bacon grease. Add the chili powder and ancho chili powder. Add the cubed venison sausage. Set to simmer. 

Once simmering, add just enough beef stock to cover the meat. Bring to boil. Reduce from boil and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Simmer uncovered until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom of the pot clear. 


This serves about eight. Garnish with shredded cheese, a bit of Mexican sour cream and sprinkled chives on top. To kick up the spice a bit, you can add either some Achiote hot sauce or traditional Tabasco.

Chef's-Choice-Award---Final-1218 Showmanship-Award---Final-1218

Chef’s Choice Award – Shane Reynold


Showmanship Award – Andra McConnell and Mandi Pease


People’s Choice Award – Kerry Fisher, Justin Kuehler, Kurt Pennington, Mac Northington, Benjamin Pena and Steven Farris

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