"That you may ruminate"

…On Chili!

Posted by Steve on October 11, 2008

This week is Fleet Week, and the events included a Chili Cook-off by local units. So, a friend from work and I went down there and sampled a good 20 or so chilis for awhile. We also tried a Bhut Jolokia pepper, courtesy of the local Pepper Lover’s Club. Apparently, this is the world’s hottest pepper. Apparently, it had been boiled for 15 minutes in order to reduce the heat. Apparently, the club members eat slivers about the size of a fingernail clipping – or smaller. Without a doubt, it was a painful burning in my mouth – but it’s a smooth burn, one that comes slowly and gently. The first 15-20 seconds are actually very pleasant. It’s the next 10 or 15 minutes that are… youch. Burning!

Anyway, the chilis… many of them would’ve benefited from the input of the Pepper Lover’s Club (they also had raw Serrano, Red Savina Habanero, “Chocolate Habanero”, and, some tiny little round red one I think the guy called “whee-whee”). The overwhelming favor, for most of them, was that of tomato soup. A few others, had, in the words of my friend Jeff when describing my own chili at a cookoff two years ago, the problem that “all I can taste is meat.” So, yes, a great many annoyingly bland chilis.

That’s not to say they were all bad. Actually, the USS Fort McHenry was represented by a very nicely flavored green chili, and the USS Donald Cook had an excellent three-meat chili (actually, more like a stew than what I typically think of as chili, but it was excellent) that I kept going back for more of. They used ground pork – which amazed me, because I’ve done chili with ground pork before, and that’s where I get the worst cases of “just tastes like greasy meat” – seared chuck steak and everybody’s favorite, BISON!. There was also a chili with gator in it, which was interesting. I can’t remember which unit had made that, I just remember the chili next to them was the one from VFA-81.

Anyway, a chili cook-off, always great fun. And I didn’t stay around until the end (it wasn’t scheduled to end until 5, but when I left at 3:30ish many of the 28-30 chilis there had already run out) so I don’t know who the official winner was/is/will be. I will say this: in my opinion, the USS Donald Cook ( DDG-75) has the best chili in the fleet.

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One Response to “…On Chili!”

  1. Shawn said

    I can testify that thos Bhut Jolokia chillis are hot. Take a look at the one I grew in my garden this season: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38232410@N00/2904133780/. Two years ago you couldn’t find a picture of one, let alone a seed. Now they seem to be everywhere, and everyone loves them.

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