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Jester
12-04-2011, 12:33 AM
Tomorrow, for the first time, I am defending my title as a chili cookoff winner. While I have won a few other cookoffs, I seem to have an obsession for chili cookoffs, and according to more than a few people, a knack for it. (My buddy Popcorn said, and I quote, "His wings are crap, but his chili is fantastic!" Since I am from the Southwest and not from anywhere near Buffalo, I guess I'll accept both comments!)

Earlier this year, after a few years of competing in various local chili cookoffs, I finally won one. And I was thrilled with the fact that the one I won was not, as many cookoffs down here are, based on the number of votes you get from the crowd, but from an impartial panel of judges. I prefer the panel, for the very simple reason that most of the "crowd votes" cookoffs are fundraisers, and while I have nothing against fundraisers, they use the crowd votes method to pick a winner so they can raise the most money, as each vote generally costs money. Which means that some cooks can "buy" a win (or attempt to), which I have seen done, and some are just popularity contests....who had the most friends show up. As many of my friends work during these things (and several are out of town tomorrow), this puts me at a disadvantage for such cookoffs. But then, I would rather win a cookoff on merit than popularity or "buying" a win. Which is why, as I said, I prefer the panel of judges method, and hope that that is what the bar uses tomorrow, as they did earlier this year.

All of the above being said, in the last four chili cookoffs I have been in, with whatever method they used to determine the winners, with never fewer than 14 entries in the mix, I have placed 4th, 3rd, 1st, and 4th. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

And I am calmer than I have ever been before a cookoff, probably because my signature "Devil's Gold" chili was finished on Sunday, and my evilly hot "Devil's Ass" chili was finished Wednesday. All I have to do now is prepare a little cooling "cure" for anyone who dares the Devil's Ass and can't handle it, and in the morning, bring the chilis up to heat and then transport them to the cookoff with the appropriate equipment (ladles, heating element, etc.) and get them set up.

And then I'll sit there, watch football (GO RAIDERS!), drink beer, and hopefully collect yet another win. Perhaps, maybe, two, as this time I did not burn the onions in the Devil's Ass chili...but I did greatly increase the heat level, so I may injure people more than garner votes with that one! :lol: (I won't even try it myself. Seriously.)

And as I was typing this, I just realized I still have not printed up the signs I wanted for the chilis, which sucks, since I don't have a printer, so I'll have to go somewhere to print them up. Dopey me. Oh well....one more thing to do in the morning. After all, I'm never happy if I don't leave anything to the last minute!

So, wish me luck, for tomorrow is the day!

Becks
12-04-2011, 01:27 AM
Best of luck!!!!!!!

Eisa
12-04-2011, 01:54 AM
Good luck! :D

I think if you lose, you should have to try your own devil chili. :roll:

42_42_42
12-04-2011, 01:56 AM
Kick ass!!!!

Akasa
12-04-2011, 07:10 AM
Good luck Jester! I have faith in your chili cooking abilities

Victory Sabre
12-04-2011, 01:49 PM
Good luck, and keep us informed.

(also send some Devil's Ass my way)

Jester
12-04-2011, 02:39 PM
I think if you lose, you should have to try your own devil chili. :roll:

I assume you mean the Devil's Ass chili? Since both chilis have the word "devil" in them.

That being said, what do you mean by "lose"? As in, not win outright? Not place with either chili? Come in dead last? I promise you, that last one is NOT going to happen.

(also send some Devil's Ass my way)

You are clearly deeply disturbed and mentally unstable.

Victory Sabre
12-04-2011, 03:08 PM
You are clearly deeply disturbed and mentally unstable.

You just figured that out now?

Eisa
12-04-2011, 09:37 PM
By lose, I mean...whatever it takes for you to have to try your own devil's ass chili, really... :lol:

MoonCat
12-05-2011, 01:30 AM
Can't wait to hear what happens!

Jester
12-07-2011, 08:50 PM
Sunday...sucked. On multiple levels.

There was the chili cookoff. In the traditional category, of 12 entries, my Devil's Gold chili did not place in the top 3. I actually happened to see one of the judge's scorecards at one point, and he did not have my chili in the top EIGHT. Now, I have no problem losing to dishes that are as good or better than mine. And the chili that took third place was excellent. I thought mine was better, of course, but clearly I'm biased. But the second place chili was only fair, in my opinion, and the winning chili was a joke. I have no idea what the judges' criteria were, but it boggled my mind that, not only didn't I place, but a bland, underseasoned, and somewhat weird tasting chili WON.

In the hot division there were 6 entries. My Devil's Ass chili was not nearly as hot as I had anticipated (or advertised), but it still was pretty damn hot, with a lingering heat that wouldn't get off your tongue. But people really seemed to love it. (Which means, of course, I am going to have to go back into the laboratory and reconfigure that chili, as my whole goal with it is to make it ridiculously hot. This time, it was not even as hot as the first draft, though I used more ghost peppers. I'll have to figure it all out.) And yet, out of six, the Devil's Ass did not place in the top 3. The one that one, made by a friend of mine who I adore, was dreadfully underseasoned, and was not really all that hot. Which made me really believe that the judges were looking for bland and boring, rather than flavorful and exciting. Someone should tell them that this was a CHILI cookoff. But then, this is what I get for making a Southwestern dish in a cookoff in the Southeast.

And no, I didn't get Crowd Favorite either....but that is as often a popularity contest as anything, and many of my friends were out of town or working. And while a lot of people loved my chilis, I wouldn't have faulted them for voting for their friends' chili over mine. It's the nature of the beast, after all.

And the day got worse. My Raiders got their asses handed to them by the Dolphins. At one point it was 34-0. Disgusting.

And as they say, bad things come in threes. The girl I've been pursuing (http://customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?t=83929) showed up to the cookoff, and I thought this would be a good thing. Until, in conversation, she continually dropped the "my boyfriend" phrase.

Well, fuck.

Yeah, I was in a piss-poor mood Sunday. :lol:

42_42_42
12-07-2011, 11:14 PM
Sounds like the organizers forgot to find out if the judges actually liked chili before making them judges. That's like having people who don't like chocolate judge a chocolate cake competition.

Jester
12-07-2011, 11:49 PM
The organizers failed in other ways, as well. For example, in past cookoffs at this same bar (I have been involved in chili and wings cookoffs, though not ribs, as they require you to bring your own grill, and I don't own one), they have always had prizes....last year, for coming in fourth, I got a nice little crock pot; earlier this year, for winning, in addition to my shittly little trophy that I prize VERY highly, I got a bottle of vodka...which I promptly traded to my friend who won a bottle of rum. We both thought we got the better end of the deal.

But this time, there were NO prizes. At least, none that I saw. Perhaps there were gift certificiates included in the ribbons they gave out, but I never saw them, nor did they ever announce the existence of such things.

To be fair, the organizers this time around were far more ORGANIZED than in previous cookoffs, making sure they had plenty of extension cords and power strips for everyone's crock pots and hot plates, an issue that had not been adequately addressed in prior cookoffs there.

But yeah, the judges didn't seem to like spice or flavor, which of course are two of the main features of chili. Go figger.

MoonCat
12-08-2011, 12:07 AM
Well, that's just wrong. What's the point of bland chili?? Even I know that, and I've never lived in the Southwest (traveled through...does that count? :D)

I love hot chili. I've had a few that could strip wallpaper at 30 paces. Ouch. And a lot that were nothing but meat sauce. I mean, you have to have SOME spiciness or it's not chili.

Sorry about the girl, Jester. I'm confused. I thought she knew you were interested. You'd think sometime in the past conversations (I know there weren't that many), she would've mentioned a BF.

Eisa
12-08-2011, 12:36 AM
Well, that sounds like a shitty day. :( I don't really like lots of spice. Which is how I know I would not make a good chili judge. :lol:

And yeah, damn, you'd think she would have mentioned a boyfriend. :confused: That sucks.

Victory Sabre
12-08-2011, 01:56 AM
That's terrible. Your chili sounded so good, as you described it. I guess the "judges" didn't like flavor.

Jester
12-08-2011, 02:49 AM
Sorry about the girl, Jester. I'm confused. I thought she knew you were interested. You'd think sometime in the past conversations (I know there weren't that many), she would've mentioned a BF.

I'm confused too, as I also thought she not only knew I was interested, but was herself interested. Clearly I was mistaken.

And apparently any interest there might have been seems to be completely gone, as I have yet to get a response to a generic friendly text I sent her earlier this evening. Though I guess she might be working. Ah, well. Fuck it. Not that it matters. Since, as stated, she has a boyfriend.

Well, that sounds like a shitty day.

A veritable trifecta of shittiness.

That's terrible. Your chili sounded so good, as you described it. I guess the "judges" didn't like flavor.

My chili sounds good because it IS good. And that's not merely my own clearly biased opinion, but that of pretty much the vast majority of people who have tried it. Hell, I had a couple virtually beg me to make a batch for their going away party!

And again, I don't really have a problem with not winning, or even not placing, if the other dishes are better or even really good. Two of the three that placed simply weren't all that good or flavorful, and the one that won, in my personal opinion, was downright BORING. And even a bit....odd.

But while the (not single) girl and the (suckass) football team did get me down, the (kickass) chili did not. It only got me mad, and more determined then ever to continue to compete in chili cookoffs, possibly even on a larger stage than just locally, and to kick some chili ass. Towards that end, I shall in a short time be writing to one of the organizations that sponsor chili cookoffs to pose some questions and find out if my competing is even feasible. For example, if we have to do all the prep on site, i.e., chopping everything up, within a certain time frame, I have don't have much of a chance. If, however, we can pre-prep and the time is more for the cooking aspect, then I think I might make the leap.

We'll see.

Barracuda
12-08-2011, 08:10 AM
Couple suggestions for the chili---There are some wicked hot varieties of curry. Have you considered trying a couple? It would add a slightly exotic flavor and heat at the same time.
As for heat, have you considered pure capsacin extract? It's distilled capsacin (the part of a pepper that makes it HOT) and is more concentrated then the actual chili peppers. Finally, maybe add a couple of different types of hot peppers, not just the ghost chilies (I hear Thai red and green chilies are SERIOUSLY spicy.) Been watching a lot of Man v. Food lately, and he eats a lot of spicy food challenges, so thought I would toss them in. Another thing I saw on the show--blend up all the hot ingredients in your chili into a base and just let them marinate for a few days together. I hear that REALLY concentrates the spice. :devil:

Jester
12-12-2011, 12:19 AM
Barracuda, while I have considered curry, that is not a flavor I want in my chili, so I have rejected the idea.

As for straight capsacin or extracts, I have also rejected the idea, as it is a matter of personal pride for me to get any and all spices organically, either through actual peppers or "normal" dry spices, such as cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, black pepper, white pepper, etc. I could of course use extracts, but I want the chili to be both spicy AND flavorful.

As for a variety of peppers, I DO use a variety of peppers in both my chilies. Since you seem to be addressing the Devil's Ass Chili more, I should tell you that in that chili I use red bell pepper, poblano, jalapeno, serrano, chipotle, habanero, and ghost pepper, in addition to dry spice peppers such as white pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, etc.

And I do exactly what you suggested, with both my chilis....after I sautee the onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes together, I stick blend them, after which I add the meats and seasonings, and after that, after simmering for a few hours, I let them chill in the fridge for a few days.

Thanks for the ideas, but to be honest, already on it.