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Chili Meltdown!

The first annual chili cookoff was a success! Thanks to all our chili chefs, apologies to those I couldn't cram into the house, and holy crap does eating 9 different chilis wear a person out. Lessons were learned: for instance, that everyone brings sour cream. I do in fact, despite the 4 tubs we went through, still have 3 tubs in the fridge. Also: the upstairs fuses can, in fact, handle 7 crock pots. The plastic tablecloths were a stroke of genius and the trip to the dollar store wherein my car was messed with was worth it, as the funny sectiony plates were the BOMB.

And on this day in the year aught five, we did indeed crown traceracer the queen of chili cooking, forever to be hailed. We may place a bust of her in the chilitarium. I also promised to make her a meat crown.

For the scans of the scorecards, you can look here and here. Warning: they are HUGE. You can see that every chili was loved by someone or another, which just goes to show... that um, people like to eat chili.

I won a bet with Jack that no one would bring up the question of what to do in case of a fire seeing as how the front door was blocked by the guest couch. (We have two other doors, hello.) I also won 287462635 beers as virtually everyone brought beer. Seriously though, mad fun.

Chefs please feel free to use this post to communicate about recipes and such. Tag it in memories for review next year when we do it allllll over again.



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 23rd, 2005 05:31 am (UTC)
Hooray for chili!

If you really aren't going to eat the sour cream, I will happily take it off your hands for my own chili-related festivities next week. However, it keeps quite well unopened in the fridge for months--maybe you can make dip. The one time I froze some, though? Don't ever do that. Wow. Nasty.
Oct. 23rd, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
My first thought was indeed: onion dip!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 23rd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
Re: In Absentia
I'm so sorry I didn't get to say goodbye. :( I hope all's well!
Oct. 24th, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
Re: In Absentia
We were all like, "Wha? How did we lose a 6'5" Dutchman?"

Sorry you couldn't stay longer!
Oct. 23rd, 2005 05:47 am (UTC)
Winning Recipe
Now I made a big batch of this, so you can scale as you see fit


3 pounds ground beef (I tend to like the lean)
chopped garlic (Here, I tend to use the jar stuff, so alter away)
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion (I used Mayan sweet this time)
1 12 oz can jalapenos (again, go ahead with the fresh stuff, I just fear spice)
2 cans dark red kidney beans
2 14 1/2 cans diced tomatoes
3 14 1/2 cans tomato sauce
2 itty bitty cans of tomato paste
4 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 C honey (I used three varieties: clover, thistle and Killer Bee, whatever that one means)

Brown ground beef in pan
Add onions, peppers and garlic
Put in crock pot with all the ingredients except the honey
I cooked it on high for a few hours and then transferred it to warm
Right before leaving, I added the honey
It warmed for a bit at the cookoff and got much sweeter. I might use less honey next time.
Oct. 23rd, 2005 06:02 am (UTC)
Re: Winning Recipe
That's my kind of chili! From the ingredients, I'd reckon it's about halfway between my Mom's recipe and my recipe. So, I guess that'd be Mid-Atlantic chili. :)

If any of the Texas purists raz you about the beans, or anything, you should whack them upside the head with a pound of beef!

Aussies, by the way, loooooooooooooooove chili, and have a hell of a hard time finding stuff that isn't just spicy sloppy joe. I think someone could make an absolute mint opening up Hard Times Cafe locations down here.

I hope that this becomes a long-standing annual event, because I'll be heartbroken if I never get to participate. Chili is just about my favorite food!
Oct. 23rd, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Winning Recipe
I hope it becomes a long standing annual event too!
Sep. 25th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Winning Recipe
Maybe it can be again?
Sep. 30th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Winning Recipe
Thanks for reminding me!
Oct. 24th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Winning Recipe
Thank you! I will definitely make this sometime.

Possibly not that soon. Ate rest of my chili yesterday with my parents, it was even better the second day, but really? Um, I cannot look at chili right now. I need a few days off.
Oct. 23rd, 2005 05:50 am (UTC)
I may have actually used more or less onion. It was a really big one and I chopped it in half then chopped it up. So.. I'm a very bad judge. I'm just glad I wrote this recipe down since normally I just throw things in.
Oct. 23rd, 2005 11:11 am (UTC)

Heh. I want one!
Oct. 23rd, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
Had so much fun...and was soooo full.

(Deleted comment)
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC)
I never used to eat sour cream with anything until very recently. I still don't eat the indian food with yogurt because... well I like yogurt in only one context. The main thing I put in chili is cheddar, the sharper the better.
Oct. 23rd, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
This post is making me crave chili! I think I will make some this week! :)
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC)
We have done well then. :)
Oct. 24th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
Crikey. After years of always wanting to attend a Chili cook-off, I finally went to my first one over Labor Day holiday. I'm hooked!

It was neat. And I kept laughing as scrump would taste one and we'd both ooh and aaah over it and then he would end up saying, "good, but not as good as yours." Too bad, you all aren't on the West coast! :P
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
Too bad you guys aren't on the east coast! :)

I had no idea so many people would be so into the chili contest.
Oct. 24th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
Runner up Recipe
The original recipe is at:

Changes I made:

1) I used a pan and transfered everything to a pot. I tried doing it all in the pot the first time and just ended up really annoyed. Use the pan /and/ the pot. You'll be happier. Just transfer everything to the pot when you get to the point where you add the coffee+water+stock.
1a) At the point where you transfer everything to the pot, take the now empty pan, and use some of the water to deglaze the pan, then add the water w/ yummy brown bits into the pot with the rest of the coffee/water/stock. You'll get some extra flavor, and cleaning that pan just got /alot/ easier.
2) I skipped the olive oil entirely and just used bacon fat instead.
3) I used pork loin instead of shoulder meat. Don't overcook the meat, it will have /plenty/ of time to cook during the 2+ hour simmer. Just get two sides browned.
4) 2-3 hours of simmering is generally better.
5) I added in a half teaspoon of ground chipolte pepper.
6) I subbed beef stock for the beef broth because beef broth is crap.

Changes I want to try next time:
1) Add in some cinnamon (thanks fred and christie)
2) make it 2 onions instead of 1. throw in some chopped red and orange peppers at the last minute with the kidney beans.
3) Take some of the kidney beans or some extra kidney beans and puree them to add thickness to the chili. (thank you Lars!)
4) Only had a 1/2 cup of water. You can add more later, no problem if it ends up needing it. I think the chili ends up too thin with the full cup.

I will probably re-write this as my own full recipe once I try out the changes as I now realize it's pretty different from the original :)

Oct. 24th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Runner up Recipe
aha!! i don't know why i didn't know before that it was pork. that also explains some of the joy i was experiencing at the texture of the meat.

people, this one was my favorite, and i'm not afraid to say it.
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Runner up Recipe
not that they weren't all good, because they were.
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Runner up Recipe
you can always use masa harina to thicken.
Oct. 24th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)
Hopefully next year I can attend and participate! :)
Oct. 24th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
rock on!
Oct. 24th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
Second Place Recipe
Here's what I did for the second place batch - that was pot 8:

(this is a double batch - cut portions in half for regular serving)

2 cups chopped vadelia onion
2 cans green chopped chilis (mexican taco chilis)
2 tablespoon minced roasted garlic
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
4 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth added over time
16 tablespoons Emeril's Essence seasoning
4 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons adobo seasoning blend
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
3 pounds beef tri tip, cubed
8 ounces pork sausage
4 tablespoons mild chili powder
6 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoon hot chili powder
4 teaspoons lime juice

In the chili pot throw together the onion, green chile, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, 12 tablespoons Essence, salt, 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning blend, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 1 hour. Also remember to stir and not leave it on the burner uncovered while going back upstairs to play WoW. If you forgot to skip that last step, endure mockery from wife, clean mess and move on to step 2.

After chili has simmered for 1 hour, add the remaining 2 tablespoons Emeril's Essence. (I chose to use this over a medium chili poweder as it cut back the spice a bit but kept a very rich, flavorful taste)

In a large skillet, brown the beef and sausage together over medium-high heat. This is a shit ton of meat, so be sure to have puppy on hand to catch the bits that fall out onto the floor.

Add beef and sausage to chili and simmer for 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth as needed. This stuff reduces quickly to a paste, so it'll get thick -use best judgement.

Add the mild New Mexico chili powder and 4 tablespoons cumin and simmer another 45 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning blend, 2 tablespoons cumin, 2 tablespoons hot chili powder and the lime juice. Cook for another 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth as needed.

I then let the sucker simmer in the crock pot on low all night. This had a destinctive drying effect that brought out the salt a bit much, so I suggest adding a bit more broth before going to bed.

Come morning, or if you skip the crock pot step, add in 2 cans chopped tomato I prefer the chopped tomomato and garlic blend and 1 can of chili beans. Stir them in for about 15-30 minutes on a low simmer. It's important to add the tomatoes in last as they'll just turn to paste if you add them in during the reduction process.

Anyway, that's the gig. For those who thought it was too salty, I'd suggest less salt and a bit more broth. If you skip the slow cook, the meat will not fall apart as much as it had with mine, so be sure to cube the steak fairly small, into more bite-sized chunks.

Oct. 24th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
Chili #4
Copied from my recipe wiki... I've done this one about eight times now, and the cookoff got yet another iteration on the fine-tuning.


* CrockPot
* Measuring spoons and cup


* Ground beef (1-2 lbs depending on "meatiness" desired), browned and drained separately
* 1 jar of medium salsa
* 1 can of diced tomatoes
* 1 6oz can of tomato paste
* 1 red pepper, diced
* 1 yellow pepper, diced
* 1 green pepper, diced
* 1-2 onions, chopped
* 1 can of (dark) red kidney beans
* 2-4 cloves minced garlic
* 2 teaspoons white sugar
* 1/4-1/2 cup tequila (proportional to beef)
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon dried basil
* 2 tablespoons dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon (saigon) cinnamon


Brown ground beef separately, draining off the fat. Combine with other ingredients in a hot pot. Cook High for 3-4 (you can double this and go low, but the flavors blend almost too much, and our experience with it is that the high method works best). Serve, eat.


First time trying this, I'm going for a double batch. Used two medium-sized jars of El Paso medium salsa. -- FredHicks - 28 Jan 2004

For the SlowCooker chilis I've done, I found that Giant's store brand Salsa, specifically their garlic Salsa, works out really well for chili. -- RobDonoghue - 28 Jan 2004

Well, it's about 5 hours later on a mixture of Low and High and damn it smells good. -- FredHicks - 28 Jan 2004

Changed the all green pepper approach to a mix of red, yellow, and green. Also strongly recommended cooking a shorter time on High. High is very key, as it keeps the flavors more distinct and "bright". Usually I double everything listed above, and go for about 2.5 pounds of ground beef on the doubled batch; this just about fills either of my slow cookers. -- FredHicks - 25 Jun 2005
Oct. 25th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
proper fire exits..
i would have asked..i am paranoid about fire escapes...Whew! Maybe it was good that I was unable to make it..LOL
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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