When the crisp fall breezes blow in, the slow cookers come out—and what better way to celebrate the beginning of autumn than with a chili cook-off competition? This is an excellent fall party idea: chili is such a seasonal dish, and everyone loves to eat! Plus, since slow cookers are such a low-stress way of cooking, the competitors will be able to enjoy the party just as much as the guests.
We threw our own chili competition this week, and everyone had a blast. Three “contestants” brought four slow cookers full of chili to work: Cailey, our marketing manger; Heidi, our brand manager; and Christy, our art director. Tons of people showed up to sample the different chili recipes and vote on which one was their favorite. Two hours later, we had our winner (and almost no chili left over). Keep reading to find out which chili recipe came out on top, and learn how to host a chili cook-off competition at home!
So What’s a Chili Cook-Off Competition?
Simply speaking, a chili cook-off competition involves contestants making different types of chili. Then, people sample them all and vote on their favorite. Some chili cook-offs have dozens of contestants and hundreds of people that come to try the chili. However, we’ve found that the best chili cook-offs happen with loved ones and favorite family recipes. All you need are a few slow cookers and some hungry people!
Find three or more family members or friends to participate in the chili competition. We had three contestants and four slow cookers full of chili because Cailey made two. Four different chili recipes seems to be a perfect number: there’s enough variety to keep people interested, but not so many flavors that they feel overwhelmed. The contestants should get their best chili recipe ready and bring the final product to your house on the designated day. Make sure you let the contestants know how many guests will be at the fun fall party so they can make enough for everyone.
How to Set Up Your Chili Competition
You’ll need a big table or enough counter space to set out all your slow cookers and toppings. We labeled each of the slow cookers so that people knew what chili was inside.
Christy had made Dump Chili.
Heidi made Sunday Chili.
Cailey made Cilantro Lime White Chicken Chili (her recipe) and Taco Chili (a recipe by a Ginny’s customer!).
The winner of the Ginny’s Chili Cookoff was the Taco Chili recipe submitted by Lorita A. of McArthur, Ohio. We have all the recipes on the Ginny’s Blog, and we can promise that they were all delicious.
Since people would be sampling a little bit of everything, we used small plastic cups instead of bowls. Helpful hint: Use different colored cups for each chili, or put colored stickers on each set of cups so that everyone can keep track of which chili they’re eating. We also labeled each of the chilis and toppings noting if the chili was spicy.
Good chili isn’t complete with delicious toppings, so we also set out shredded cheese, sour cream, and oyster crackers.
Cailey also made miniature cornbread muffins so people could take a break in between chilis.
Everyone had a lot of fun, and we can’t wait to take this fun fall party idea home to our friends and family. After all, fall cooking tastes best when you eat it with loved ones!