chili recipe

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Georgia State Chili Cook-off 2009

Written By Danna Vach

The 2009 Georgia State Chili Cook-off was held June 27th, 2009 at Rocco's Pub in Marietta, GA.  Rocco's is a neighborhood pub with laid back atmosphere - a perfect place to have a chili cook-off.  If you missed the chili cook-off, stop by Rocco's anyway and have a bowl of their award winning chili and a pint of beer.  You won't be disappointed.

Competitors in the Georgia State Chili Cook-off came from as far away as Illinois to compete in this International Chili Society (ICS) sanctioned event.  All event proceeds went to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

chili recipe

Chilis were judged based on good flavor, texture of the meat, consistency, blend of spices, aroma, and color as indicated by the rules of the ICS. 

First place winner of the chili cook-off was Jim Weller from Rockton, Illinois.  Jim and his chili recipe took home a prize of $1000 and will now advance to the World Championship Chili Cook-off later this year.  It has been reported that the WCCC will be held in Charleston, WV this year in early October, but no official reports have been posted.

chili recipe

The 2nd place finisher was Tom Hoover of Columbus, OH and the chili made by Bob Hall of Taylorville, IL placed 3rd.

chili recipe

In addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, a People's Choice winner was determined by the attending chili fans.  This year The People's Choice award went to the Sophisticated Rednecks team whose alligator chili was fresh tasting and easy to eat even in the sweltering Georgia heat.

chili recipe

To compete in an ICS chili cook-off a chili cook must follow strict rules.  People's Choice chili is required to have beans or pasta whereas the competition chili is not allowed to have beans or pasta.

Some of the competitors were happy to let me taste both their People's Choice chili and their competition chili, and all of the cooks and their friends were happy just to talk about chili!  I did discover a few chili cook-off etiquette rules that I can't help but share with you.

First, there is no need to get a new spoon each time you taste a chili.  You should however cleanse your palate and your spoon with beer between tastings!  A large number of people just carried their spoon around in their beer.

Second, don't let your beer get too warm.  (Ok, that's just a rule in general not just a chili cook-off rule)  Beer and chili go together so well and this chili cook-off held no exceptions to that rule.  The spicy chili made by Kevin Miller and Pete Miller is definitely worth mentioning for its beer compatibility.  Kevin and Pete have been competing for years, bringing 18 years experience to the chili cook-off.

Other cooks like Mike Watson of Watson's Warriors were stepping into the cook-off competition arena for the first time and having a lot of fun.  Their chili stood out with a different flavor and consistency that I really liked.

chili recipe

I have to note that the Georgia State Chili Cook-off was held on a day that reached into the mid-90's with Georgia humidity.  The Chili Mexicali concocted by Kevin Williams and Bill Donnelly was a refreshing treat with corn, black beans, and a squeeze of fresh cut lime.

chili recipe

Admittedly, this was my first time at a chili cook-off, but I can assure you that it won't be my last.  I'm hooked.  Everyone, the cooks, the sponsors (thanks to everyone at Rocco's), and the attendees love chili and beer - two things that make a  grand time.  I left with a smile on my face, a full tummy, and high hopes for attending another chili cook-off very soon.