The Town of Mint Hill held its sixth annual Chili Cook-Off on Tuesday, March 20 to support the Art and Science Council’s (ASC) Annual Fund Drive. The ASC provides aid to arts, science and history/heritage organizations in Mint Hill and throughout Mecklenburg County.
There were 12 entries into the contest this year, some from several Mint Hill eateries including Jimmy’s, Palmetto Grill, Penny’s Place, The Hill Bar and Grill, Hawthorne’s and Showmars.
But a first timer, Abbey Rose, was faring well at noon with an almost empty crock pot. Terence and Suzanne Wolf, the owners of the shop, were on hand for the cookoff. Suzanne said it was Terence’s recipe. “The secret to his chili is making his own Worcestershire sauce and using chunks of sirloin instead of ground meat.”
Terence said the Mint Hill Police approached him and asked if he wanted to enter the contest. “After that, it was all Suzanne’s. We did it for the fun of it, to promote Mint Hill and to meet people. It’s been a great event.”
Town Clerk Beth Hamrick admitted that she’d thrown almost everything she had into the Clerky Turkey Chili. “My demise was the can of sloppy joe mix I put into it,” she said. “It made it too tomato tasting and I had to cover it up but used too much chili powder and it just kept getting stronger.”
Tony Long from Mint Hill Tools was going to try each different type of chili but he said the Hill’s recipe was the best he’d had so far.
Bob Ennis played fiddle through all of the chili eating and the crowd was having a good time as well as getting plenty to eat.
Each chili entry was judged by a special-guest chef. In the Crowd Pleaser category, participants who paid $5 to taste could also vote for their favorite bowl. Attendees could also purchase full bowls-to-go for $3 each. There was no entry fee to enter the contest.
Chili entries could be made by an individual or an organization. Each entry had to include a pot or crock pot of chili, large serving spoon, cheese (or appropriate topping), and the crackers or chips that best compliment the chili. Cooks were also provide a descriptive name for their chili entry.
The chili was judged in categories including Judges Choice, Muy Caliente, Most Original, Best Chili by Mint Hill Eatery, Most D’electable, Exceptional by Mint Hill Department and Crowd Pleaser.
The event was held in the John M. McEwen Assembly Room. Tables were set up for eating chili and for the contest pots of the steaming food.