Jan. 8, 2016

What Makes An Award Winning Chili Recipe?

With the annual Mountain Park Lodges Chili Cook Off coming up on January 19th, we set out to find the secret to award-winning chili dishes. Some former winners of the cook off, Rob, Paul, David and Kristen shared some of their secrets with us. 

NOT A CHILI RECIPE, BUT A CHILI EXPERIENCE

The former champions emphasized that their tactic is less about defining amounts and more about finding amazing ingredients and constantly taste testing. They found that that they were tweaking their chili right up until judging started. 

Trusting your own intuition about what spices you need more of is the true secret to an extraordinary chili.

Trusting your own intuition about what spices you need more of is the true secret to an extraordinary chili.

TIMING IS KEY

There can be a short timeframe for when your chili is at its ultimate tastiness. As it cooks down and the flavours start to change, you might not be able to recreate its original taste. Testing your chili multiple times beforehand and determining its optimal timeframe ensures that the judges will be tasting your chili at its best.


MAKE IT SPICY

At a chili contest, judges are tasting tons of different chilis. It's likely that your chili's flavours will get lost in the crowd. Having a spicy chili helps wake up tired tastebuds and ensures the flavour is strong and memorable. 


USE THE BEST INGREDIENTS

Last year's team used some pretty awesome ingredients in their chili that set them apart. They made sure everything was high quality and didn't shy away from more expensive items. 

Here's a peek at their grocery list:

  • Premium Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Premium Ground Beef
  • Premium Uncooked Spicy Sausage (Chorizo, Bratwurst, or Italian)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Roasted Poblano Peppers
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Ghost Pepper Salt
  • Fresno Peppers
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper


ADD SOMETHING UNEXPECTED 

Another thing that set their chili apart was the finishing touches: chipotle and avocado foam. These airy, creamy sauces were made with whipped cream dispensers and soda chargers.

The chipotle added an extra spicy kick, and the cooling avocado helped create a much needed balance. This consideration of flavours and extra attention-to-detail took their chili to the next level.


BE YOURSELF

You know what you like. Being creative and trusting your own instincts will help you create a chili that you can be proud of. Chances are, other people will like it too!


Get Cooking!

Share this post