Make your Thanksgiving table conversation a little dirty this year.

My very good friend makes dirty rice using a box of Zataran’s, and swears that no matter what spice blend he uses or how much he tries, homemade never tastes as good. This recipe is it, the homemade dirty rice recipe that kicks the pants off a box of Zataran’s, and it’s surprisingly simple to throw together. The hardest part of the whole thing is finding the chicken livers. (I found them at Whole Foods, a 1 pound tub for $5 which is a little expensive for organ meat but they were also organic.) I was told at Sprouts that they only carry them around the holidays, so maybe this holiday season you will have a little more luck in finding them.

wild game recipes

Let me tell you, this recipe is awesome for several reasons. First, it makes A TON of food. So much food, in fact, that my husband’s eyes light up at the mere thought of how much food is actually being made. Secondly, it’s soooooo easy. I think it’s adapted from a Paula Dean recipe. There is none of this cooking the rice and meat together nonsense, or having to adjust the liquid if you want brown rice. You make four cups of rice. As that’s steaming away, you sauté the veg, add and brown the meat, throw in the chicken livers and then mix in the already-cooked rice once it’s done steaming and that’s it. Easy. Freaking. Peasy.

What you get is a wonderful giant mass of food with little bits of meat and liver in it that’s somewhat akin to a Thanksgiving stuffing. You could totally use this in place of stuffing, which could be good if you have gluten free guests or maybe you just don’t want all that extra bread. And, since the recipe makes so much you shouldn’t need to double it unless you’re cooking for more than 8 or so.

wild game recipes

A few recipe notes here. I made this two ways: one with breakfast sausage and one with plain ground venison. I will say the breakfast sausage version tasted better, although that could also be because when I did it with the plain ground meat I didn’t chop up the chicken livers enough. Which brings me to my next point: make sure you really get those chicken livers to a small dice. Get your rice cooking, and while that is bubbling away take the time to really cut the livers small. You have to wait for the rice to finish cooking anyway. I have it pictured here topped with cheese, but honestly it doesn’t even need it.

Dirty Rice


  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (or other really flavorful fat, or butter than you let brown a little)
  • 1lb ground venison (or venison sausage, out of the casings)
  • 1lb chicken livers (chopped into very small pieces)
  • 1 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 4 cups rice (cooked)
  • salt and pepper to taste

for garnish (Optional)

  • grated cheese
  • snipped chives


Step 1
First, set your rice to cook and make sure it's almost finished before starting everything else. Then, heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium high heat and add your fat (or strips of bacon if you're rendering it out) until hot. Then add the venison and brown with some salt and a heavy dose of pepper. Once the meat is brown, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Finally, add the chicken livers and cook until cooked through.
Step 2
Add the cooked rice and mix well, making sure the rice is warmed through if using leftover rice from the fridge. Serve warm.

Non game substitution: Any ground meat or ground sausage will do here, just keep in mind that if you’re using something heavily spiced (like Chorizo) it’s going to come across in the dish.

Posted in Venison
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