Monday, March 8, 2010

Rock - A - Billy, Rockabilly Chili (Contest, that is...)

I thought I was going to be super excited about this year's Rockabilly Chili Contest, held yesterday at the MSOE Kern Center, but I surprised even myself at the extent of my excitement. I was probably equally as excited at getting to hang out a little bit more with Peef and Lo at this event, and also that Jonny Z and Dietrich were both in the DJ booth.

This was the 8th annual fund-raising event for WMSE, and every year I say I want to go and somehow never do. I finally made it there, and I'd say the only bad thing about it is that you can't come close to sampling all of the more than 50 chili's from area restaurants, and that you feel the need for an extra appendage to hold on to chili cups, walk, talk and mingle at the same time.

A coat check would have been a good idea, too. Especially after my theory of starting with the hottest chili I could find, this one from Ball'n Biscuit Catering:

There were a couple of other chili's featuring this Ghost Chile, which I only first heard about from Lo, boasting an unheard of reported 850,000 Scoville heat units. My first bite was really good, I thought the flavors of the chili and the chile were good and I started to think these ghost chiles weren't going to get the best of me. By bite 6, I had tears in my eyes. I walked over to watch Jeff get some Pizza Chili:

and by the time he was served, I was marvelling at how fast those chilies dissipated on my tongue. No more tears, but I still didn't think I felt like trying the other hot hot hot chilis featuring the Ghost Chile.

I opted for Honeypie's rather tame sample, instead.

Then, I mosied over to Hinterland. I've yet to eat at Hinterland, but have heard nothing but great things. One bite of this stuff sealed the deal!

It was delicious, and the best chili there in my opinion. I voted for them, and they came in 1st in the Meat Chili category. It had a sweetness I couldn't put my finger on, and I had to go back and ask them. "Indian spices", they said, and Lo's accomplished palate told her cinnamon, which I couldn't detect until she told me. But then again, I don't always have the best taste identifying abilities. Lo is a professional, and I so greatly enjoyed watching her accurately discover the flavor bases for most of the chili's. (She was also lucky to get to share with her husband, since my Husband had a cold and I didn't want to risk illness - especially when the sun has been out every day for a week!)

We NEED to get this recipe from Hinterland... I will stalk them if necessary.

This veg chili from Riverwest Co-Op was also great, packed with pureed sweet potatoes, pineapple and cilantro. So smooth and tasty, I really could have taken a bath in it. They won best Veggie Chili. They were confident after all, as their "untouchable" sign will tell you.

And I didn't eat the sample from Harley-Davidson's Motor, but loved the hot sauces and vat of cheese display:

There were several other samples I tried, but this last one was probably one of the most memorable: from Roots, the veggie chili had black beans and was garnished with the most amazing avocado "whip". Just equal parts avocado and cream charged in a soda siphon, and whipped into avocado-y heaven. Just the perfect thing to put me over the top.

After years of hearing about it, the Rockabilly Chili Contest lived up to its hype, and my growing anticipations. I can only hope it continues to be a venerable staple in the food events that endear WMSE to me a bit more each year.

Also, be sure to hop over to Peef and Lo's site to check out their take on this event, and head over here to hear the official anthems laid down by Jonny Z and friends... you too will be humming "Rock -a - Billy, rockabilly chili" for the rest of the day, I guarantee it - and that wouldn't be a bad thing either.


  1. It looks like a great time. We'll have to try to come next year. I would love to try the ghost chile as I haven't yet.

  2. Oh, yeah. I'm totally with you on the Hinterland chili. Let the stalking begin!!

  3. Wow, I thought these chilli festivals were only something in the movie "Wild Hogs". I love chilli this would be so much fun.

  4. That sounds amazing and delicious!!!Perfect season for some chili.

  5. Ahh, you're so lucky to live near these great food events. I guess chilli would be tough for me because I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to spicy food. I'm so glad you will be trying the muffin recipe and maybe even the cauliflower! I'm looking forward to hearing about how they turn out for you. You and your blog rock!

  6. msmeanie, I made the muffins today - and have a post planned for later. I used less sugar, but they were awesome! You and your blog rock, too!


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