First Place Competition Chili | Barbecue Tricks

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First Place Competition Chili

1st place chili recipe

I’ll be the first one to tell you I have limited experience in Chili cook offs.    But I tried my hand in a competition at my church this weekend and feel like I’ve come up with a trick for scoring first place in you next chili recipe competition.

Previously I posted a recipe for Third Place BBQ chili here.  Looking back to prep for my latest challenge I realized how lame it was.  Chili seasoning mix… pork loin… fresh tabasco peppers… It wasn’t very authentic (seasoning mix?) or practical (have you seen fresh  Tabasco peppers at the grocery?).

Chili powder ingedients

Chili powder ingedients

A quick call to Jack got me a great tip.  “Make your own chili powder.  You’ll have a better flavor profile than the store bought stuff,” he advised and sent me what had won for him in the past. I took his advice and am now convinced that using a hand crafted fresh batch of chili powder is a real game-changer.  I took first place against about twenty other chili’s I thought were really good too.

The Fist Place chili recipe is below but the real trick is the chili powder.  Fun and easy to make. Use those dried whole chilies you see at the store (you may want to mix and match if you cant find Guajillo, Arbol or Ancho) and toast /roast them briefly in a cast iron pan.  Be careful not to burn them and don’t choke on the potent fumes.  Pull the stems and grind with cumin seeds in a blender, coffee grinder, or spice grinder.  Simple.

arbol chili

Arbol Chiles

Try the recipe below and post in the comments how it fares for you.  It’s a winner. 2 oz. Ancho Chiles – dried and roasted 2 oz. Guajillo Chiles – dried and roasted 1 oz. Chile de Arbol – dried and roasted 5 tablespoons Cumin seeds – toasted and ground 2 tablespoons granulated garlic 4 tablespoons oregano 4 tablespoons smoked paprika Toast whole dried peppers and cumin seeds in a skillet until they slightly start to brown. Let cool and grind to a powder.

Add other ingredients and mix. Yields about two cups.


First Place Competition Chili

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 7 quarts or 20 cups

Serving Size: one to two cups

First Place Competition Chili

Home made chili powder is the tricks to making this chili a winner. Find the powder recipe at Substitute other ingredients as needed.

This recipe is a chili cookoff first place winner.


  • 1 Tablespoon Cayanne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 pounds pork (pulled or chunked)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup homemade chili powder (see above)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 3 large fresh Poblano peppers, fire roasted, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bottles (12 oz) of robust beer
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz) of pinto or kidney beans


  1. Saute garlic and onions until translucent. Add 1/4 of the meat and chili powder and brown. Salt the meat while cooking. Repeat until all meat is added. Add all other ingredients and simmer for one to two hours.

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About Bill West

Bill West a BBQ enthusiast, Author, and Country Music aficionado in Charleston, SC. Get his BBQ Blueprint Book on Amazon: Follow him:

2 Responses to “First Place Competition Chili”


    1. […] posted HERE (full text recipe) it breaks down an easy way to get the edge on your next chili cook off. Watch […]

    2. […] posted HERE (full text recipe) it breaks down an easy way to get the edge on your next chili cook off. Watch […]

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