Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 1st Annual Great Ballard Chili Cook Off

Cook Off Co-Founders CB and Kevin....and Me!

A few months ago CB asked me if I was available to be a judge for a chili cook off. Me? A judge? I guess since I love food and am part of this kick-ass food blog that is all the qualifications required. I was honored to participate. Now, the story goes something like this, two friends got to talking about how they both made some good chili and somehow it turned into what will be now known as the 1st Annual Great Ballard Chili Cook Off aka a friendly competition between chili chefs voted on by their friends and families.

I arrived at 1pm with my mom at the Sunset Hill Community Club house which is located in West Ballard. This is a great space, check it out.

Upon walking in, I was welcomed with a stylish and personalized judge's apron and a robust introduction from Chili Emcee Chas. Seated in front with the other 4 judges and four ballots, we patiently waited for the unveiling of the 4 chili's entered in the competition.

Each chili was brought out in a white paper cup and all were assigned a specific number. The first chili I sampled was the one below, this was contestant #4. The first thing that came to mind when tasting this was that all the ingredients were fresh and high quality. This was a top notch, choice chili. With two kinds of andouille sausage and bites of flavorful chicken the textures in this chili were my favorite. The ratio of meat to beans was tasty and the growing heat really made this a great chili. Let me also point out that cheese on anything wins.

The second chili I tasted was the green chili from contestant #2. The chili was thin more like soup but the taste alone made up for the consistency. Immediately touching my tongue this chili had an immediate bite. The pork was soft and the rich and spicy blend of chilies like poblano and jalapenos along with the red beans made a fabulous tasting chili. The layers of ingredients were evident when looking closely at the bright color and textures in this chili. Served with a slice of tortilla this chili had the heat that I absolutely love about chili. Superb.

Let me introduce you to chili #3, which was a thick, rich and sweet masterpiece. The one word you might to use describe this is succulent. I was waiting for the heat and it was there but subtle. I enjoyed the honey sweetness that lingered in your mouth. With a mix of portuguese sausage and kahlua pork you knew upon eating this how long it took to prepare. Although quite thick and reminiscent of bbq you would put on a bun, this chili created a lane all its own. It was during this taste, I realized that all of the chili we were eating were so different! Served with a soft slice of white bread, the whole package was there to win.

Lastly, I sampled the chili with the best presentation, contestant #1. Coming out with its own corn muffin and a patriotic plate, I loved the extra flare for the judges.This was the veggie chili and it was a first class mix of black beans, sweet corn and squash. I loved how all the veggies were crisp and flavorsome. Served with a white cheese blend on top and a side of lime, the flavors were blended quite well creating a unique, rich, meatless chili . The consistency was great and the blended beans almost created the texture of authentic refried beans which truly held the variety of veggies together. Only thing I would have added to this chili was more heat. This was a very good veggie chili and definitely stood strong among all the meaty competitors.

So now what? All the judges had to circle a number on a small slip of paper between 1-4.

Who is going to win!??!!?

Two awards were given away at the 1st Annual Great Ballard Chili Cook Off, one from the judges and one from the people. Four of Ballard's finest chili cooks waited to see who was going to get the bragging rights for this first annual event.

While we waited we were treated to some soulful songs from Youth Rescue Mission. Check out their myspace to listen to some of their music. Great harmonies for chili eating.

Emcee Chas Roberts was entertaining all afternoon and as he stepped up to the mic to announce the winners we all waited on his news and laughed with him, not at him. I have seen this guy host a few things at Re-Bar, kick-ass.

The judges award was given to the man behind chili #2 and his mamma's recipe, Santos!!!!

The peoples choice was awarded to the man behind chili #3, and chili cook off co-founder, Kevin Sur!!!!

I had a great time and can't wait until next year. I also make a really good classic chili with a few secret ingredients, perhaps I will enter the competition!

ps. i grabbed some photos from Kevin's facebook to supplement my pics. Thanks Kevin!


TekkaDon Juan said...

hahah, first of all, after a long hiatus, we both posted entries at exactly the same time. lol.

secondly, this post rules. i felt like i was actually there! although i don't partake in the meat, that green chili looked amazing. i first tried the real deal when i was much younger in arizona. bizzomb. thanks for reminding me of how much i'm missing out on. damn.

i, too, love that no two chili's were alike. everyone had such distinct approaches. very interesting.

though the weather this week will be hot, chili is def on my mind as the rainy season begins to rear it's soggy head.

stellar post.

Indian said...

Awesome! Thanks for posting this. It was such a fun time and your blog is fantastic!

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

It was a great time. Thanks for being a judge! I can't wait to help judge next year!!!!!

R.F. said...

U R rad.