Sunday, March 7, 2010

How We Spent Our Sunday: Rockabilly Chili Cookoff

Most Sunday afternoons around the Burp! household are pretty uneventful.  Usually you'll find us hanging out at home -- reading, catching up on laundry, watching a movie, flipping through the cooking shows on PBS. Every now and then, you'll find us working on a particularly lengthy cooking project (or hosting a soup night) -- but that's about as exciting as it gets.

This Sunday was another story.  While others enjoyed a leisurely brunch or busily prepared for their Oscar parties, we decided to venture out of our Sunday cave and take in some of the local sights.  More specifically, we decided to join the masses at the WMSE Rockabilly Chili Contest.

This annual event brings together myriad Milwaukee area restaurants, who cook up their best tasting chili and bring it out for the world to sample.  This year, over 3000 people joined in the fun, raising lots of great funds for one of the best radio stations in Milwaukee, 91.7 WMSE. Among the throngs was my dear friend R. from the Cakewalk blog -- so we had great fun walking the event and comparing foodie notes on the different chilis.

I had every intention to rush right home and publish something brilliant about the event.  But, as it turns out, I'm thinking the pictures speak for themselves.  I'd advise listening to a bit of official Rockabilly Chili music while you're looking them over.

First, let's warm you up with a big VAT o' chili goodness.

If you can elbow your way through the hungry crowd, you'll find a pretty wide variety of chilis -- something to suit every palate.
 We started off with three great ones -- starting on the left with a delightful veggie chili from Beans & Barley, working our way over to the flamin' hot tomatillo based chili from Ball 'n Biscuit catering, and ending up with the awesomly hot "Burn Your Face Off" Pepperoni Pizza chili from Streetza Pizza, featuring the infamous ghost chiles (hottest chiles on earth, weighing in at 855,000 Scoville units).
 There's that happy chap from Streetza Pizza luring us in with the smell of pepperoni...
  While Streetza pulled out the Big Guns with the heat factor, Hinterland Gastropub really pulled out all the stops when it came to flavor.  Their braised beef shortrib chili carried a seriously complex flavor enhanced by cinnamon and a host of Indian spices.  R. and I decided that this chili was the best of the bunch, by far!
 Of course, don't tell that to the Riverwest Co-op, who declared their vegan masterpiece to be "untouchable"...
 It was seriously good chili -- enhanced with Berber-style spices and topped with flavorful pineapple chutney. Definitely worth a roar!
 Another vegan delight came from The National.  Their sweet potato black bean chili was topped with an awesome apple chutney...
 Palomino's vegan selection was nothing to sneeze at either... chock full of TVP, zucchini, eggplant, "love," and "babies" (the girl serving the chili said it, not me!)... but suspiciously free of horses.
 Maxie's Southern Comfort served up a tomatillo chili with smoky bacon, lots of beans, and pulled pork.
Eventually, we ran out of chili. And beer. And tickets for more chili and beer. 
But, that's OK.  By then, we were stuffed to the gills.  
So, unlike these guys, we just decided to give up and go home.

And, if you're curious -- here's a listing of the Winners

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  1. What no beer pictures!
    Looks like tons of fun and tons of cals!

  2. Chili and beer. Sounds like my idea of a great time!!!!

  3. I'm wishing I would have tried that Maxie's chili... So many chilis, so little stomach space!

  4. Wow, there is a lot of inspiration there for different flavored chilis

  5. That braised beef shortrib chili makes me sad I didn't go.

  6. Wow, thanks for the great post. We are so glad you made it to Rockabilly Chili this year & had a good time.

  7. Some of those chilis look lethal! Sounds like a great day. I love having the chance to explore the goings-on in my own neighborhood.

  8. I hope they had Texas chili--all meat and no beans!

  9. i missed the Rockabilly Chili contest again but this post was great. thanks

  10. I love chili cookoffs! You can always find some great inspiration!!!

  11. Oh goodness! Did you have a stomachache by the end of the day? I've never been to a chili cookoff.

  12. A Sunday afternoon of chili samples and beer or...watching the Oscars. Huh. I'd say that you definitely made the right choice! I opted for the show, but if there had been a chili cook off in *my* neck of the woods, well, there would be no competition.

  13. Aha, Tina -- but the best part is that we did BOTH! We didn't have an Oscar party, per se, but we did get home in time to watch the show. Guess what we DIDN'T eat for dinner...??

  14. Aww, I really wanted to got to this, but didn't have time on Sunday. Will definitely have to check it out next year though!


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