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So You Want to Cook Chili
So you want to Cook Chili

First of all - Don't feel bad about asking a question or two, three, four, whatever it takes.  Those who are successful in the chili world, are those who follow the following:
  1. Attend various cookoff's
  2. Talk to other cooks
  3. Don't be afraid to try something new
  4. Listen, Listen, Listen
  5. Oh Yes - HAVE FUN
What better way to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday afternoon than to spend it COOKING CHILI!  It's not as farfetched as it may sound. 

Lots of people make chili.  But cooking chili in a Cookoff is where the action REALLY is.  So let's take a "cooks eye view" of what it takes to compete.

First of all,  It helps if you have 1 or 2 other crazy people to join you!  Remember the more the merrier.  Then, you will have to fill out that entry form and send it in, along with any fees, to the Cookoff organizers.  Entry fees will vary from Cookoff to Cookoff depending on the organizers.  Now you need to start perfecting your secret recipe. Don't try to reinvent the wheel here.  There are thousands and thousands of chili recipes out there.  You can start right here at if you wish.  But Remember, NO BEANS, or fillers in competition chili.  Meat will differ in each chili recipe.  Some prefer "Mock Tender", Chuck or Tri-Tip.  There is also Chili Grind.  Make sure the cookoff you are attending is not a "Chili Grind Only" type of event.  Personally I think cubed beef is the way to go. If it is a "Grind" only event, see your butcher.  Most chili grind you find in the store is just hamburger.  Chili Grind is a larger Grind.  Talk to your butcher.  he really is a chili cooks best friend. 

Meanwhile, your group will probably want to choose a theme for your team and chili, and begin planning costumes and decorations. (there is no rule saying that you have to dress up and decorate. You can just come and cook.  But most of the fun lies in the creativity of the teams, and there are some crazy themes out there.)

You will be provided an area to setup in.  Here are some of the things you will need. 

  1. EZ-UP or other "pop-up" style tent/cover (very handy for keeping the sun off your head)
  2. Pots, Pans, spoons
  3. Spices - according to your secret recipe of course!
  4. Stove - Chili must be cooked on-site - generally electric is not provided so you may want to use a Propane camp stove.
  5. Meat - a very important item in any Cookoff
  6. Cooler a good way to keep the meat cold
  7. Drinks, water etc..


This page will be added to often.  if you have specific questions, please drop us a line! 


:: Hot Tip ::
Make sure that your cooler has enough space in it for cold drinks and snack items.

:: Another Tip ::
Although some chili cooks swear by cast iron.  Using Cast Iron while cooking Chili can give your chili a metallic taste.

:: Hot News ::
Pop-up shelters are the easiest way to go for keeping the sun and rain off your head during a cookoff.

:: Spice Tip ::
Keep your cookoff spices in a cool dry space - rotate them out frequently to keep them fresh!
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