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Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

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Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Slick Willy » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:13 am

I've been making chili for quite awhile now, and, over the years, I feel that I've crafted a really good recipe, but I'd like to see how it stands up to others. Anybody here know of any local competitions that I could enter?

Are chili secrets highly protected like secrets in the world of BBQ competitions? I keep hearing that beer and chocolate are good in chili, but I've never used them. My secret ingredient is love, lots of love :wink: No, actually, I use a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby eriedasch » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:59 pm

You missed the East Side (Businessmen) Club's annual cook off by less than a month.
http://www.facebook.com/events/198259726858309/

I put habanero peppers in a batch one year and won a cook off at work. But that is not a secret ingredient.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby rabble » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:30 pm

eriedasch wrote:I put habanero peppers in a batch one year and won a cook off at work. But that is not a secret ingredient.

Well not any more, no.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Sandi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:46 pm

I think a secret ingredient can be anything, and whether it is something popular, rare, known or unknown in general has nothing to do with it: commercially available or not. What makes it secret that you are not telling what you used to get the desired flavor.

It has been years but I used to enter chili cook-offs around Janesville. I took one 1st and placed in a few. One thing I never put in chili is chili beans. They add little flavor of their own, but do a good job of hiding the tomato taste.

For meat, whatever you do, don't use hamburger. You will get much better flavor with a small to medium chuck roast. I slow cook it, pull it apart with forks, then add juice and all to the chili sauce.

For hot peppery I use Dave's Insanity sauce out of season ( which is usually in winter when I make it ). In summer fall I beg some red peppers from my brother.

Edit: My secret ingredient used to be a bottle of beer.
Last edited by Sandi on Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Slick Willy » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:47 pm

rabble wrote:
eriedasch wrote:I put habanero peppers in a batch one year and won a cook off at work. But that is not a secret ingredient.

Well not any more, no.

Hey, a secret amongst friends can still be considered a secret, right?
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Slick Willy » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:56 pm

Sandi wrote:I don't a secret ingredient can be anything, and whether it is something popular, rare, known or unknown in general has nothing to do with it: commercially available or not. What makes it secret that you are not telling what you used to get the desired flavor.

It has been years but I used to enter chili cook-offs around Janesville. I took one 1st and placed in a few. One thing I never put in chili is chili beans. They add little flavor of their own, but do a good job of hiding the tomato taste.

For meat, whatever you do, don't use hamburger. You will get much better flavor with a small to medium chuck roast. I slow cook it, pull it apart with forks, then add juice and all to the chili sauce.

Did you have to cook on-site, or were you able to bring your chili already prepared?
As far as beans, you're right that they don't add much in the way of flavor, but I do enjoy their texture in chili.
I'm glad that you mentioned slow cooking some beef and then shredding it versus using the standard ground beef. Ground beef (or ground sirloin in my case) is good for a pot of chili that I'm going to eat at home, but I think I would take it up a notch, too, and cut up some beef like I would for beef stew, and slow cook it. I thought about shredding it like you, which I think sounds great, but I keep reading about how people will cut their beef into small cubes, which sounds too tedious for me.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby penquin » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:37 pm

Not only do I put beans in my chili, but I put a couple different types.
I'm also kinda fond of mixing meats. Last time a batch was made ground beef & ground pork was mixed together (2 parts beef, 1 part pork), but turkey and chicken is also a good combo. And, in keep with the theme of variety, a couple different kinds of hot peppers are thrown into the pot.

Sandi's idea about a small roast sounds great. I think I'll get a couple of those next time. I've also been thinking about making a sea-food stylish chili before winter leaves us. Does anyone happen to know if Jim's on the Northside still carries alligator in their freezer?
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby hellogoodbye » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:46 pm

Great topic and timely as I just finished a batch of "a bowl of red" this weekend. Although mine is not technically red because of my not so secret ingredient: Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. Not a lot, and it really pulls the flavors together and adds a meatiness to the overall finished dish. The dark color is cool too.

My other secret is time. There is absolutely a noticeable flavor distinction between quick and slow chili. My quick chili is done in 20-30 mins. My slow chili takes 2 & 1/2 - 3 hours. Add spices in two batches: beginning and 1 & 1/2 hours. Bean/no bean, now this is getting into competition chili distinctions. I like black beans, they do seem to bring some flavor. I would not use beans in competition chili and most request that you do not. The diced meat does produce the best flavor; it is not really that much work. If you use ground beef, don't break it up too much.

Have you noticed the macaroni pasta in chili that is common in mid & northern WI? It took me a while to get used to it.

Now lets talk Cincinnati chili, where can I get a Five-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans in Madison?
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby msnflyer » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:48 pm

Rules vary, some require all cooking to be done at the cookoff. Many ban non-inspected ingredients, secret or not (game meat, home canned things.)

A food processor is great for chopping raw meat, gives a different texture than ground meat and you can vary the texture in the same pot of chili.

I think Monona Businesspeople's Club has a chili cookoff late in the summer (August?)
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby clyde » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:52 pm

Take a little drive down to historic downtown Monroe, WI in October. They develop the event a little more each year.

http://www.facebook.com/Monroe.WI.Chili.CookOff
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Sandi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:03 pm

Slick Willy wrote:Did you have to cook on-site, or were you able to bring your chili already prepared?


No we weren't required to cook on-site. These were local chili cook-offs in bars and very informal. Volunteer tasters rated each on a list, and at the conclusion picked the they thought best. They were tallied and the top three announced.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Detritus » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:15 pm

I only use these babies in my chili:

Image
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:17 pm

A few things I've tried and liked as additive(not always all together):

Beer(dark ale works best)
Hominy
Corn chips(they break down and add nice texture and flavor)
Carrots
Pork, Lamb, and Beef Chili with no beans
Good Penzy's spices(take your pick), and I think this is the key to flavor which to me is what chili is all about.

I tried the Whiskey thing and I just ended up getting drunk after I poured some in and didn't notice a difference(except that I was drunk).

I recently tried a chili recipe that called for pre-made bloody mary mix. It Suuuuucked. Don't try that.
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby Sandi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:00 pm

This is a good no bean recipe ( Arizona Desert Chili ). Mine is a variation with some differences in the spices.

http://www.recipeselect.com/arizona-desert-chili/
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Re: Local Chili Competitions & Secret Ingredients

Postby chainsawcurtis » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:19 pm

I've been cooking chili in restaurants and taverns for decades and won a couple of small time cook-offs but have never done anything like Edgerton's Chilimania (but it might be fun).

Hamburger - ok but chunks or cubes of beef is much better.

When I make chicken chili I use skinless boneless thighs cut up. Everything goes into the pot at the same - onions, peppers, meat, tomatoes, garlic, spices etc. Start at medium heat turn down to simmer when things get bubbling. Add moisture - beer, tomato juice, wine whatever as needed so it doesn't dry out.

My secret ingredient (not so secret because the recipe got published in the Jburg Gazette) - raisins. They plump up and soak up the spices and it's like a little flavobone explosion.
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