PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – The stage is set and music fans flooded C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines for the 28th annual KISS Country Chili Cookoff.
CBS4 is a proud sponsor of the event, featuring plenty of food, fans and fun, and of course, the chili!
“I got a little zing-zang in it,” said amateur chili chef John McCabe. “It’s a bloody mary mix.’
Chef Mike Malloy would not reveal his recipe.
“One secret ingredient we won’t let that one out,” he said, ‘but it comes out of the swamp.’
And there’s more to the cook off than just the taste of the chili, there are also some incredible booths. Chili teams also get prizes for the creativity of their booths.
They also try to make nice with the judges.
“We have a thousand Jell-O shots that we made for the judges and we even made little gift bags and beads for the judges,” said Chili Chef Jim Ruback.
“Is that bribery?” joked CBS 4’s Ted Scouten.
“Yes it is!” he joked back. “That’s how you win!”
“We call it showmanship and schmoozing,” laughed another contestant, Debby Putnam.
But when it comes to judging, it’s a double blind taste test. Chili is graded on consistency, smell and or course, the taste.
“The last thing is what I call the back bite,” said judge Robert Trepp, “Does it come in with a second kick and make you go, ‘hmmm, now that’s chili!’”
This year’s winning team is “Smack Your Partner Chili.” They called themselves underdogs.
The secret to their chili is the meat, using a special breed of bison from Colorado.
Last year the event attracted 30,000 fans making it the largest country music concert in the Southeast. This year’s show, which is already sold out, will be limited to about 20,000 country music and chili fans.