February 27th, 2016 – Turtle Bread Longfellow

6:00 – Happy Hour
6:30 – Tasting and Judging

Ticket to enter: Bring to enjoy and share – a 6-pack or growler, a plate of cornbread, or another chili accompaniment. These events continue to be free as long as the organizers and participants leave happy and full of merriment and imbibition. Not too hard to do with this crowd. Continue Reading for more information:

The competition was a great success this year. The average scores the contestants had were placed higher at this competition than previous ones – either the chefs are stepping their game up or you all are just loving what we make more and more! In total we had 42 people complete the scoring process, with many more in attendance to just taste what was made – including our competitors! Here is the highlights:

Highest rated chili overall, and the winner of the trophy: #1 Trevor with an average of 3.5/5

Runner up for the trophy: #6 Zane with an average score of 3.4/5

Hottest Chili: #3 Doug with an average heat rating of 4.1/5  [the highest average we had!]

Crowd Favorite, and the winner of the belt: Trevor, with 8/42 Votes [This category was very close across the chilis!]

Would you like to try your hand at being our guest chili competitor next year? Head over to this form and submit your name in the random entry. Multiple entries allowed. The winner will be selected and announced at this year’s Ribfest in August.

We tried a new online scoring system that worked wonderfully and allowed for quick tabulations of the votes. Our fellow statistitian Brad may have some insight posted soon, but for now we just wanted to get the results out to those who could not make it.

Thanks for coming,  and we will see you at the Ribfest in August (if not before then at the bar!),

ManCuisine.com Competiting Members – Adam, Brad, Doug, Isaac, Jeff, Trevor, and our guest competitors.

Nine Chili selections!
Nine Chili selections!
Cornbread diversity
Cornbread diversity

The 2013 ManCuisine ChiliFest is in the books! Another great turnout and easily the best combination of chilies we have seen yet. Nine entries including eight member entries and an invited guest covered the whole range from ground beef wonder through big chunk brisket. Nothing this year was silly hot but all the chilies had some kind of heat meets flavor. The drawing for next year’s guest gave the nod to Brandon, we’ll look forward to his creation

The winning recipe this year was Trevor’s with his Chili taking all categories but heat., The heat category went to Kyle with his ground turkey extravaganza. Trevor’s chili was a modification of last year’s continuing his hominy along with beans and a mad mixture of ingredients including rib meat that somehow tasted like chicken, but then, doesn’t everything. Trevor’s winning recipe is below.

In addition to the chilies, packets of corn bread were distributed to the spouse/ significant others and each hacked the basic recipe to provide corn breads ranging from great classic jalapeño pepper recipes to one with ginger and pumpkin spices. All were wonderful and the corn bread challenge will certainly become a yearly event.

The Turtle Bread Company on 42nd was a great host again this year. thanks for all the support. Please consider the Turtle Bakery sometime for a great breakfast or for some good coffee and bakery goods when you are near any of their locations.

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Winning Chili 2013

2 lbs boneless pork rib, cubed
1 lb smoked Bacon
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (don’t drain)
1 large can of hominy, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can yellow corn
10 diced mini sweet peppers
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red onion, large chunks
3 jalapeños in adobo sauce, diced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 packet Sazon Goya powder
Pumpkin purée (half can)
chipotle chile powder
cayenne chile powder
adobo seasoning
oregano (mexican, common, or both)

Just a quick posting on the great evening we just had at the Minnesota Mild Chili Bake Off. The six of us threw down the gauntlet in the best collection of chilies yet. Isaac’s coordination with the folks at Turtle Bread resulted in a great location for the 39+ people in attendance. The social hour had a room to itself with plenty of room to properly mull and converse waiting for the main event. Guests did not disappoint with better than ever side dishes and brews provided by those in attendance.

Once things were ready and the time was right the crowd began sampling and judging the goods. Seven chilies were presented with one being a reference chili provided by a professional chef. The crowd made their way through the selections in a little over an hour with much discussion of the variety this year. Two of the chilies were legitimately hot and one a curry-based chili. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey were all present with starches ranging from garbanzo to hominy.

Lisa collected the judging sheets and Kyle tabulated them and announced the winners. Look for a later post with details and recipes from the winners, but briefly: Doug Trevor, Kyle, and Isaac took away honors in various categories with Doug taking overall winner and Trevor securing second place just .01 points behind. Good comments on all the chilies and a great crowd to spend time with on a warm February evening. Exciting to see so many familiar faces show up at the door! It was also good to not have a snowstorm on the day of the event.  Getting to and from last year’s event was a bit of a struggle for all.

Here’s some comments from Scott H.- one of the attendees:

I’m sure no one was surprised that the Man-cuisine Chili Cook-off was a literate event. You had to expect that the invitees would use words that have multiple meanings and that definitions would be demanded and discussed. After all, the hosts do. Great things happen when people who are passionate about food and language get together.

It was my first time in attendance and I was trying to get my head around the rating system. I asked Trevor if he could define chili. He got a look on his face that was simultaneously far-off and focused. I’ve come to understand this is a trademark Johnson expression that means that one of the great questions has been addressed and that the gears are turning. “No”, he replied, “I can’t give you a definition of chili.” This from the defending champion. 
I’m sure the contestants have contemplated the question. Embedded in the judging was the psychology of our own, individual, ideal chili. People were talking about it in line and at the tables. Must chili have beans? What meat is implied in chili? Would a noodle fly or would that make it goulash? What is the role of heat in the quality of a good bowl? It seems clear to me that there is a viscosity factor. The thinnest entrants (2,4 and 6) seemed more like soup and didn’t fare well in the final standings.
The meanings of the criteria were also debated. Umami was nice because it cannot be assessed without really thinking about it. It belongs to the essence of chili, but what does it taste like? Marketability yielded opposite definitions; some saw it as a rating of universality (could this soup be sold to the masses) and others saw it at a rating of originality (would people go out of their way to eat this special bowl). 
In the end, the labels a judge applied to the numbers revealed their root feelings. “The one with mushrooms”, “the gray one”, and “the Indian one” all described number 5, Isaac’s third place finisher. “The dark one” (1, Kyle’s), “the one with corn” (3, second place, Trevor’s) and “the one with two meats” (7, Doug’s, the champion). These seemed to rank higher in the end, perhaps because they stood out in way that was describable…unique but within the realm of our imaginations.
Record keeping and the revelation of recipes is not part of this tradition, which is too bad, because I’d like another taste of almost all of these. So, as I wade into my own kitchen to prepare the Super Bowl meal, I’ll rely on my own tried and true chili concept.

Look for recipes here soon. Keep warm!


Additional photos from the event: The discussion, the crowd, the entries, and the beer. (~Trev)

A small crew headed out to South Minneapolis to eat at this smaller, younger sibling version of the Town Hall Brewery at seven corners. This relationship may come as a surprise to some as there is no word of this location in the elder brother’s not-so-easy-to-navigate web site – but  following those of a younger generation, they are on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/townhalltap. We were greeted outside, and then inside, the door by a run-down local who was looking for small change to ‘buy a pizza’ but watched intrigued as he left the premise to wander further into the neighborhood. As a likely host to most of the places we visit this was not a deterrent to us sitting down, and we were very pleased to have done so. A short wait found us to a booth in the back, properly padded and cleaned.

Top of their beer list are the brews Town Hall produces (and we immediately ordered our favorite – the Masala Mama [the other ones we are usually not impressed by]) and a great list of domestic and imported beers followed shortly thereafter. Once this place gets a Happy Hour going, we would be glad to visit here often.

The menu consists of the usual bar food: wings and fry types for appetizers with the addition of fried pickles, highly recommended. We had a few burgers, sandwiches and a cup of soup with no complaints across the table. The best addition to the menu would be the pressed sandwiches. With their bread coming from the famous bakery a few doors down, The Turtle Bread Company, each bite was pure gold. The burgers were very decent and were not as impeded by the odd pie plates used as their serving vessels as they would appear to at first sight.

The waitstaff were very eager to please and noticed us glancing at the beer list even before we were halfway done with what we had been served (we were even approached with a good amount of proper sarcasm when we asked a question about the menu – a definite plus!). Although the walking paths had some tight spots, the liveliness of the place allowed for unnoticed bumps and shuffles of people getting by. We liked the separation of the bar and seating area being only implied instead of concretely established and enjoyed being able to see a TV screen from our side to theirs as we had our moments of mastication to fill the inevitable silences therein.

If you are in the neighborhood, this is a definite stop you need to make, and make it soon.