Thursday, April 19, 2007

chili overload

We had a chili cookoff at work yesterday, and one of my coworkers signed me up to judge (along with the rest of our team). There were five categories, and each category had somewhere between 7 and 15 entries. I volunteered for the "Traditional Meat Chili" category, and ended up having 3-5 bites of 15 types of chili. That may not sound like a lot of food, but trust me, it is.

In the end, I voted for two entries. The first was a beef brisket-based entry which had a perfect degree of spiciness, nice tender chunks of beef, and a good variety of vegetables and beans. My only complaint was that there was a bit too much grease, making the chili slightly more watery than ideally. The second (surprisingly) relied on ground turkey and ground chuck, and was lighter than a standard chili, but had good flavor and texture. It was slightly less spicy than I would have liked, and I think it would have been even better with added beef, but overall I was impressed.

There was one other entry that I liked best for pure flavor, but it was a little hard to call it chili; it was more like tender chunks of steak with sauce on top. If I had to choose a dish to eat for dinner, though, that would have been it.

After I finished judging my category, I was only able to eat one additional sample, which was a duck chili, with bits of corn and duck cracklings in it. Maybe I was sick of beef by that time, but I think I enjoyed that last chili most of all. Then, I was unable to eat another thing until six or seven hours later, when I had a bunch of grapes before going to bed.

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