Events/2019/Chili Cookoff

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Hacksburg will be competing in the 2019 VT CRC Chili Cookoff. This page documents the details and our plans for the competition.

Basic Info

  • Date: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
    • We will be preparing our chili the night before, Tuesday October 1, during or after the regular meeting
    • Location TBD, possibly an individual's kitchen or the Blacksburg Community Center kitchen
  • Location: The Plaza between 1900 Pratt and 1861 Pratt Drive
  • Rules

Chili Recipes

The rules specify a red "homestyle chili" including meat and beans. The rules suggest one 16 oz serving for judges and 200 3 oz. servings for the public.

General Suggestions

  • Start with dried kidney beans. Soak overnight with baking soda to degas, then partially cook.
  • Sweat the onions and peppers, set aside.
  • Brown meat under broiler on a baking tray.
    • Use stew meat instead of ground, for the texture
    • Save all fat and drippings
  • Combine meat, peppers and onions, beans, and some tomatoes; season, and bake at least until beans are done
    • Ideally, use a heavy dutch oven or similar. You want the high thermal inertia.
    • This may also be doable in a slow-cooker, but moisture should be watched carefully.
    • Secret sauce for good chili: unsweetened chocolate and black coffee.
  • Bean-containing chilis are best after they've been allowed to cool and then reheated.

Ingredients quantities

  • A cow's-worth of stew meat
  • Absurd amounts of canned tomatoes (petite diced or crushed)
  • Ridiculous numbers of onions
  • Crazy quantities of poblano peppers
  • Far too many red kidney beans
  • Some coffee
  • A bit of bitter chocolate

For serving:

  • Sour cream
  • Green onions
  • Shredded cheese?
  • Cornbread?

Hacksburg Chili 1.0


  • 10 parts/pints/cans total x 4 crocks
  • 1 part stew beef
  • 2 bags frozen diced onions
  • 1 bag frozen diced green bell peppers
  • 1 part crushed tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 1 part diced tomatoes
  • 4 parts dark red kidney beans
  • 2 parts black beans
  • V8 (to taste)
  • Crushed garlic (to taste)
  • Cooking oil (as needed to saute onions)
  • Cumin (to taste)
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Smoke flavor (to taste)
  • Cold coffee (to taste)
  • Bitter/bakers chocolate (to taste)


  • Only served ~2.25 crocks worth of chili, could probably get away with 2 in the future
  • Wear gloves when chopping jalapenos
  • People liked having a mild chili they could customize to their level of spice with jalapenos. Also bring red pepper flakes next time?
  • Thaw onions and peppers beforehand, took a significant amount of time to thaw before they could be sauted
    • Possibly also saute beforehand
  • Blacksburg Community kitchen is pretty small and not super well equipped, was suitable but a personal kitchen would work just as well
  • Chili seemed generally well received at competition, did not place in top 3
  • May have added too much coffee and chocolate, there was a very bitter aftertaste
  • Some people said it didn't seem very meaty; finer diced stew meat or more ground beef?

Booth Decoration

It appears that booths were decorated and competitors wore costumes in previous years. We were thinking of a medieval theme for our booth given what we have on hand.

  • Cauldron of chili (using smelting furnace and cast iron pot)
  • Costumes
    • Dragon Knight (Cameron-confirmerd)
    • Wizard (John-confirmed)
    • Wands from wand competition

Other Hacksburg themed decorations could include

  • Scrolling LED sign (James)
  • Turned wood bowl (Nick)
  • Wood carved serving implements