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Archive for February, 2017

It is San Miguel in January, and no, it is not literally “hot”:  that day is usually in June, when you cannot find a sliver of shade outside and even when just walking, you start to pant like an overheated Basset Hound.  Not pretty.

No, this is a figurative “hot,” because in January we have the annual Chili CookOff!  Five years ago, our local competition was actually on the official Chili Society  circuit.  Just like with the Barbecue Competitions that crisscross the United States all summer, there are rules!  Judging considerations include good chili flavour, texture of the meat, consistency, blend of spices, aroma and color.  At the Chili CookOff’s of yore,  a large hotel opened up its extensive grounds for booths with multiple international competitors, a huge VIP tent sponsored by a well known local watering hole, stages with live bands rocking the town, and a real live rodeo!  Cowboy hats, embellished boots, big hair and shiny silver belt buckles ruled.  All of the San Miguel characters came out to party, and the people watching was spectacularly strange.  Sadly, the hotel decided that one day of fun could not fund the damage to their lawns. And so this annual tradition became one of those “Do you remember when…..?” stories.

Fast forward to 2017 and the CookOff is ON!  Not on the Chili Society circuit, and on a much smaller scale, but it was still colourful, wacky, tasty and crazy as only San Miguel can be.

The chili on offer was not that aggressive “5-alarm” style which burns your face and tongue and sees you heading for the nearest bucket of water, beer, or  better yet, milk.  Milk actually works to calm the ferocious bite of the capsicum but frankly, milk at a Chili Cook Off?  Better to stick to beer.  Drink enough, and either the pain or you will pass(out).

These dishes were made to suit the chili discerning palates of the local ex-pat crowd, many of whom hail from Texas and parts south.  Garnishes of fresh coriander, cheddar cheese, or white or green onion  were also supplied by most.

And the Winner ….drumroll please…..Los Chili Dawgs.  Behind the win (for both People’s Choice and the all important Judge’s Choice) was the recipe from our friend Sharon, Glenn Griffin’s talented wife,  and months of culinary trials by Glenn (aka Don Day) and his Californian buddy, Chef Mark.  They said that the recipe had many, many steps:  the final product was multilayered and complex, with just a slight burn behind the rich chili flavour. It was a riff on a classic bowl of “Texas Red,” rich and thick, with chunks of beef and no beans.

 

 

Our friends’ chili was truly the best, which is good, because I would hate to be accused of  bias in a food review. I would have dived into the serving dish but it was too darn small. Licking the dish was not an option either:  just too many spectators.  And Glenn got there before me 🙂

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