To start off, here's what we tell the judges:
● Chili should have a nice red color ... stroganoff is brown.
● The heat level is your decision, but chili should have a nice level of spiciness...heck, it’s made from chili peppers.
● Chili is not soup...nor should it appear as such. Will your spoon stand alone in the bowl? It should.
● The meat used when chili was created was from cattle-on-the-drive that just didn’t make the grade. So, it wasn’t your best cuts. In my humble opinion, a cook should be able to use whatever the meat he wanted to - the old cowboy cooks used whatever the heck they had. The meat should be tender, tasty, palatable and have a spicy finish. Can Armadillo give you those qualities? If so, it should be allowed.
● Chili should smell like chili... right? What else would you expect?
● This is not a spaghetti sauce cookoff so watch out, the taste should not be over-powered by tomatoes... that only occurs in California.
● If you like the taste, give it a good score... you’re the judge. If it doesn’t appeal to you, score it accordingly... you’re the judge.
● Chili cookoffs are a time of celebration! It should be fun and so should judging... enjoy the opportunity, and, don’t take yourself too serious... no one else is. Remember... it’s Chili!
The above is a direct quote from Mr. Tom Nall, long-time Chili Ambassador Extraordinaire and Head of the Cowboy Camp in Terlingua.
* If you are new to competition chili, the best advice we can give you is to volunteer to judge. It is a sure fire way for you to acquaint yourself with what competition chili should look, smell and taste like.
Judging is fun and filling, but more on that later...
2 to 4 ancho chiles
4-8 small dried red chiles
(or 2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds lean beef chuck, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 to 2 cups beef stock or water
1/3 cup finely chopped garlic
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1/2 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
1 or 2 fresh cilantro sprigs
If using chiles, trim the stems and remove seeds. Place in a small saucepan and add water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles and their soaking water to a blender or a food processor fitted with metal blade. Purée until smooth. Set aside.
Brown half of the meat in a large skillet in the vegetable oil over high heat for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat and juices to a heavy pot and add the puréed chiles or chili powder, if using. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, brown the remaining beef in the same manner, then transfer it and the juices to the pot. Add enough stock or water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Add the garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, salt to taste, paprika and cilantro and continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, another 30 minutes. Add a little liquid if the mixture begins to stick or looks too dry. When the chili is ready, using a large kitchen spoon, skim any fat from the surface. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Brown 2 lbs. of chili grind meat in 1 Tbsp. Crisco in a medium to large Sauce Pan.
1 can Swanson beef broth
½ .can Swanson chicken broth
1 - 8oz. can tomato sauce
Bring to a slow boil for 30 minutes
2 tbsp. granulated onion
½ .tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. beef granules
1 tsp. chicken granules
¼ tsp. season salt
2 Tbsp. Festa Light Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. McCormick Dark Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Gebhardt Chili Powder
float 2 Serrano peppers and 1 Jalapeno pepper
Cover and cook at a medium boil for 1 hour.
Squeeze pepper juice into chili (be careful not to spill any seeds into chili)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. green Jalapeno Powder
1 Tbsp. Gebhardt Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Fiesta Light Chili Powder
½ tsp white pepper
1 packet Sazon Goya (Orange package)
Add liquid using remainder of chicken broth as necessary.
Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
1 Tbsp. Gebhardt Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. cayenne
½ .tsp black pepper
½ tsp Hot Stuff
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp. brown sugar
Reduce heat to a slow boil. Cook for 20 minutes.
3 -4 lb.“Mock Chuck Tender” beef roast
1 Country Style pork rib
Hot pepper oil
1-8 oz. Can tomato sauce (unsalted)
Wyler’s chicken bouillon crystals
Wyler’s beef bouillon crystals
4 cans low sodium beef broth
onion powder or flakes
granulated garlic (dry minced is okay)
sazon (or MSG)
Ft. Worth Lite chili powder (Penderey’s)
Gebhardts chili powder
Extra hot chili powder
Bistro powdered beef gravy mix
Prepare the Spices: Remember!! Always use the freshest!
Dump #1 2 T onion powder
1 T paprika
1-1/2 tea cayenne
1 T chicken crystals
2 T beef crystals
1 tea granulated garlic
Grind in coffee grinder and place in sealed container. Thoroughly brush out any remaining powder in grinder before mixing another batch of spices.
Dump #2 1 T plus 1 tea cumino
1 tea garlic powder
1 tea sazon or MSG
2 T Ft. Worth Lite chili powder
2 T Gebhardts chili powder
2 T Extra hot chili powder
½ tea white pepper
1 T onion flakes
Grind in coffee grinder and place in sealed container.
Dump #3 Fifteen minutes before turn in, combine in small jar:
½ Cup beef broth
1 T Bistro beef gravy mix
½ tea cumion
pinch cayenne pepper
Prepare turn in cup:
Cut up a clove of garlic and rub sides and lid of judging sample cup. Leave garlic in cup, seal and set aside while chili is cooking. Keep it safe and unmarked in any way.
Three hours before turn in:
Using a large, heavy Dutch oven with just enough Hot Pepper oil to cover bottom, brown Country style pork rib on all sides. Remove and set aside. Brown cubed chili meat, sprinkling 1 T of Extra Hot chili pepper during process. When browning is completed pour into a colander and drain well. Rinse with water. Return to hot pan. Add 1-8oz. can tomato sauce and enough canned beef broth to cover. Stir well and put rib back in. Bring to boil. Remove rib and add Dump #1. Stir thoroughly. Put rib back in, turn down and simmer for about two hours. Add broth (or water) as needed.
One hour before turn in:
Remove rib. Add second batch of spices. Bring back to boil. Turn off. Eat rib.
Fifteen minutes before turn in:
Reheat chili and add Dump #3 as a kicker. Taste for salt.
Retrieve judging sample cup, throw away garlic. Spoon in several tablespoons of cooked chili, replace lid and rotate to evenly cover inside of cup with chili. Discard. Shake 3 shakes of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt into cup and add chili. Stir thoroughly and seal Wipe off any chili that may have gotten on the outside of your cup before taking to judging station.