Eighth annual Guinness Chili Cook-off coming to Pelham’s Beer Hog

Published 12:29 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – After several weeks of record setting winter weather, residents can now mark their calendars for a perfect chance to warm up with the return of the annual Guinness Beer Chili Cook-off hosted by The Beer Hog on Saturday, Feb. 3.

This year’s competition will be sponsored by Wheeler’s Wrecker Services and entry tickets are being sold for $10 each, with children age 12 and under allowed in for free. As in past years, the event and money raised will benefit the Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation and all ticket sales will go directly to the foundation.

The Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation has provided support to terminally ill children and their families in the form of financial assistance, emotional support, the completion of daily tasks and much more. Those services are all performed with the intent of providing families with more time together while that time is still available.

The Beer Hog has already released a breakdown of the event’s schedule which includes a preset alternative date for the event should weather prevent the event from being hosted as originally planned. Should the event need to rescheduled, that alternative date will be Saturday, Feb. 10.

The event’s schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. – Cookoff teams will arrive and set up their tables. Teams are encouraged to check in and present any marinated, smoked or cooked meats with an event judge
  • 11 a.m. – Cooking and food preparation begins.
  • 2 p.m. – Samples of chili must be present to the judge’s panel.
  • 3 p.m. – Chili sampling will open to the public.
  • 5 p.m. – Voting for the People’s Choice Award will close and winners in all three categories will be announced.

The rules and requirements for the 2024 Guinness Chili Cook-off have also been released.

The venue will provide all participants with a single six-foot-long table, a 10-by-10 canopy tent, trash cans, bowls and spoons for public sampling.

Each participant will be responsible for providing their own ingredients for their chili, which for example may include items such as beans, meats, sauces and spices. Participants will also be responsible for providing their own condiments like chives, cheese, crackers, cornbread and sour cream.

However, given that it is a requirement that every entry include a minimum of 32 ounces of Guinness Stout for every three gallons of chili cooked, the Guinness will be provided to each team.

However, each team will need to ensure that they can provide their own cookware, cooking utensils, burners, warmers and fuel sources including propane, generators and extension cords. The venue will not provide electricity for cooking during the event.

Each team will also be responsible for providing their own water for cooking, cleaning and rinsing purposes.

In the terms of other cooking requirements, all teams must prepare a minimum of three gallons of fully cooked chili, although they will be permitted to produce more than the minimum, all chili served must be from the same consistent chili batch.

Although preparation work may be done prior to the competition such as the cutting and washing of vegetables, marinating meats, soakings beans, and the like, absolutely no cooking is permitted to take place prior to the competition. The only exception to said rule will be the smoking or cooking of meats, but they must not be added to the chili prior to the event.

To ensure strict adherence to this rule, all meats must be presented to a judge at the time of registration to ensure compliance.

Additionally, a new rule has been implemented for this year’s event that will require all teams to use a provided one-ounce serving ladle for serving their chili to the public.

“The reasoning for this is an attempt to stretch the 3 gallons of chili to more people, so that teams do not run out,” read an announcement posted to the event’s official Facebook page. “As this event has grown over the years, more people are sampling and several previous teams have run out of chili.”

The rule, which serves as a rationing measure to ensure as many people are able to enjoy the produced chili as possible, was seen by event organizers as the best of two possible solutions.

“The only other option would be to increase the amount of chili cooked,” the announcement read. “With respect to the cost of food, we felt that the 1-ounce ladle was a fairer change than increasing the minimum gallons to be cooked.”

During the competition, each team will present five samples of their chili to the judge’s panel upon which time it will be judged on a scale of 1-5 in four separate categories.

Those categories will consist of:

  • Aroma – The smell of the chili prior to the physical tasting and how well it stimulates the palate prior to tasting.
  • Texture – How the chili feels in the mouth with factors such as consistency, thickness and chunkiness all playing a part in the final score.
  • Overall taste – The entire experience of the chili from start to finish which includes the integration of ingredients and usage of senses.
  • Creative use of Guinness – The level of creativity and ingenuity involved in using Guinness Stout and incorporating it into the recipe in a unique way.

Following the judges’ tasting and scoring of all chilis, three winners will be announced and prizes awarded for the three titles in play at the cook off.

The three titles for winners of the cook-off are as follows:

  • People’s Choice – Selected by public vote via the use of tokens presented by event guests.
  • Creative Use of Guinness – Won by receiving the highest tallied score given by judges in the “Creative use” scoring category.
  • 2024 Champion – Won by receiving the highest tallied score in all categories from all five judges.

Space to participate and cook in the event is limited, so anyone interested in taking part is heavily encouraged to sign up by emailing Guinnesschilicookoff@gmail.com