I love my slow cooker. I use about any excuse to use it. The only problem is that it makes a lot of food and I don't do leftovers well. So I don't use it as much as I could. Though the one thing I love making in the slow cooker is chili. I don't have a standard recipe, I pick the meat, beans, canned tomatoes and then use whatever spices I feel like need to be in the chili. The weekend between the NFC/AFC Championships and the Superbowl we've been going to a friend's chili cook off. Last year was my first year and I had no idea what to expect. There was Turducken chili, short rib chili, vegetarian chili and of course, my favorite category, spiciest. I love spice in my meals so I attempted at spiciest. After taste testing all the chilis, mine was mild. Yes mild, not even medium. So this year in order to hope for a win, I had to pull out all the stops.
Here's what went into my chili:
And in case you missed it, my secret ingredient.
We picked up this Ghost Pepper infused olive oil while in New Orleans. I didn't taste it at the time but I made sure to taste before adding it to the chili.
And I, of course, used our own mix of crushed red pepper.
I was feeling pretty confident with my chili. There were only 10 chilis entered into the event this year. The timing just didn't work for a lot of people as last year I think we tried at least 15-18 different chilis. And there were only 3 chilis in the spicy category.
Until we were tasting. Joel's Maui chili was the talk of the event. He listed it as medium spicy and yet others were afraid to try it as they heard it was too spicy. I felt like his chili had great flavor and came off spicier in smaller doses. Though if you ate a bowl of mine, you'd feel the spiciness later on and not right away. And we were tasting in little dixie cups so no one was eating a whole bowl of any of the chilis. I got nervous. I was anxious for the ballots to be counted and the awards to be given away.
They gave away the write in categories first and Joel won The Chili with the Most Cloves. I'm not sure who wrote that in but it was very clove heavy. And then Joel got 2nd in the Rookie category. I'm surprised that he didn't get first b/c everyone was talking about his chili. And then we got to the spiciest. I was very nervous. I even pulled the camera out to take a picture of Joel as he was accepting his award. And then they read his chili name for runner up. I was so happy. I got Spiciest Chili of 2012. And I kind of tuned out the rest of the categories for my chili b/c that was the one I was aiming for. And somehow, I got 2nd for Best Overall Chili. I thought for sure Joel would have won that category, the category of the night. And his chili fell short. I'm not sure what happened, I did vote for it-just not for spiciest :)
My chili as we arrived
What's left of my chili at the end