The chili Liz and I have tweaked over time is a combination of a classic chili and a smoky, outdoor flavor. If you are curious, our recipe is posted as a video at www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay. In the “search videos” box enter “chili.” Some of the unique ingredients we use are beer, smoked pulled pork and a little chocolate, along with normal things like beef, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and spices.
I called the organizer and learned that there were really no parameters on the competition, meaning almost anything could qualify as “chili.” A little deterred having learned that information, I decided I would still enter.
Traditional chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA, which are strictly forbidden.
The only exceptions are canned or bottled tomatoes, tomato sauce, peppers, pepper sauce, beverages, broth and grinding and/or mixing of spices. Meat may be treated, pre-cut or ground. The ICS does not prefer one over the other. Meat may not be pre-cooked, in any manner. All other ingredients must be chopped or prepared during the preparation period.
How did I do? I didn't place, which explains the title of this column. But, there is always the opportunity for joyful redemption right around the corner in the world of food. I noticed there is a “Derby Burger Challenge” presented by the organization that promotes beef. It is in search of the “perfect burger” for The Kentucky Derby. Do I prepare the perfect burger? I think so, but I suppose we will find out soon enough. More than likely another humbling experience.
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.