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Sep 27, 2010 05:46 PM

Chili Cook-Off

So the ICC is this weekend in Manchester, NH. Any others planning on going? I am hoping to check out Jamantics, so I hope to go early Sunday, and stay for some tastings.

Does anyone know anything about the other vendors? I haven't eaten out in Manchester in a few years, so this would be a great time to check out a sampling of what's new, tasty and interesting out there!

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  1. Solar, I have been thinking abut going. But frankly, I'm a bit confused as to what to expect with this event.

    It has been publicized heavily in the local southern NH arena, however I find the event web sites (unless there are others?) to be useless unless one is only concerned with participating as a contestant, paying for parking or purchasing event tickets (parking, etc, via the Manchester web site, in particular).

    In my mind, there should be some 'food value' with a supposedly big chili cook-off event for the general public? Yes? No? If so, I can't seem to find out about it. If someone else has info I have missed, please come forward.

    Several months ago, I started monitoring the local Manchester web site for the event Still, to-this-day, about 3 days prior to the event, the FAQ still reads "Coming soon...."

    The official ICS page

    What am I missing here in terms of information for availability of chili for the general public/chili-heads wishing to attend?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Dave B

      Thanks. My motivation was mostly the fact that it's a pretty big competition and it's right here in NH! I agree, the publicity is pretty bad...I could hardly find the Manchester link from the ICC page! Some info I did figure out is that when you purchase your $5 ticket, you get 5 samplings (which are first come first serve) for free. Parking is also $5. Plus, I assume, I have to pay for my kids (who will probably not eat the chili). I was hoping it would be a fun event and a great way to sample some of what Manch has to offer with all the other vendors (not that they're listed) that will be there.

      Maybe I'll save my money for the NH Beer fest instead!

      1. re: Dave B

        I agree Dave B, I have seen just what you saw and there realy is ni info, for the public

        1. re: djr222

          I am still very much on-the-fence about attending. What I wish to avoid, is waiting in a long line to get a tiny "sample" shot-glass-sized plastic cup. How lame. What if I like it......can I buy a bowl? Or how about a heaping cup-full? If it is a "Chili Fest," then that should, in my book, mean availability of authentic chili to attendees.

          In today's Union Leader there were a couple of large articles essentially promoting the event, that for the most part, still didn't answer my questions about "What's in it for me?" if I attend.

          A most disturbing factoid in one of the UL articles regarding the "rules" for the chili makers/contestants was, "Cooking Rules And Regulations;" "Contestants will be permitted to participate in 'People's Choice Chili' with the approval of the cookoff chairperson and in compliance with state and local agencies." ~ "People's Choice chili must have beans or pasta."

          Keeping in mind, the rule for the actual chili competition is that "...beans and pasta/are strictly forbidden." Call me a chili snob, if-you-will. I am a disciple of Jane Butel's 'Chili Madness' book for about 20 years now. (My go-to recipe is Buzzard's Breath.) Everyone knows that authentic chili doesn't include beans or pasta. That's akin to dumping Prego sauce on Prince spaghetti and calling it authentic Italian. For the ICC to mandate the inclusion of beans/pasta..... I just don't get it. Just because some of the masses think of Homel canned product as "chili," IMO the ICC shouldn't be continuing and propagating that horrid idea.

          Why should I bother going? It appears bogus from all appearances. What about vendors selling cool chili pepper shirts? Hot sauces? What about authentic chili worthy of a "chili competition?" I'd love to know, BUT I DON'T. If my perception of this event thus far is accurate, it is an embarrassment to chili, and the competition should be held in private so as not to waste the time of the public.

          BTW, the FAQ still reads "Coming soon........"

          1. re: Dave B

            You are beginning to sway me your way. And again, I am dealing with 2 kids under 7 in a crowded city...

            I'm thinking if I get only 5 samples, I need to also make sure those samples are reallllly good. It would really suck to waste one of the "free" samples on chili I don't like.

            Your other point, chili with pasta? Yeah, really, wtf? I was in Market Basket (the official grocery store of the ICC) and spotted their brand of "Chili Mac". Chili Mac. CHILI MAC??? Why is there a pasta for the purpose of mixing with chili????? Scary.

            I admit, I am guilty of adding beans to my chili. I guess I'm one of those that just doesn't know better. So thanks for enlightening me. I'm not one to stray far from authentic versions of recipes, so I'll have to get to work on that one!

            Thanks for your help. I've been back and forth about going...I've got other things I can do Sunday instead, so my decision is much easier now. Also, did you notice that they are also advertising Ringling Bros. being in town too?? Nuts.

            Market Basket
            RR 1, Rockland, ME 04841

            1. re: solargarlic

              >Your other point, chili with pasta? Yeah, really, wtf? I was in Market Basket (the official grocery store of the ICC) and spotted their brand of "Chili Mac". Chili Mac. CHILI MAC??? Why is there a pasta for the purpose of mixing with chili????? Scary.

              Chili and pasta is popular in Cincinatti and surrounding areas. Different kind of chili than what most outside of that region would recognize as chili though. More like chili sauce that you would put on hot dogs, but with different spices.

              Market Basket
              RR 1, Rockland, ME 04841

              1. re: LStaff

                Ok, I have heard of that, but in Cincinatti grocery stores, do they label their spaghetti as Chili-Spag? Chili over spaghetti, I'm willing to try when in the right setting. Macaroni floating around in chili? No thanks.

              2. re: solargarlic

                Won tix to Ringling on WCAP, so am bringing the kids up this weekend, thought about the chili cookoff, but it doesn't look promising.
                I don't understand how Manchester beat out Las Vegas as host city this year. Somehow southwest cooks in a southwest city make more sense for chili than New Englanders.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Pretty funny coincidence. Have fun at the circus! I did find out today that kids 10 & under are free to the ICC.

                  I agree it seems very strange to have Manchester win over Vegas!

          2. re: Dave B

            Solar & Dave, I just picked up the "official" program at Hannaford's (exit 6 near Chunky's) & it gives a little info about what's going on (as well as as a TON of ads). They had them under a pile of The Broadcaster newspapers, where all the free papers are. The Hippo is also doing a story on the cookoff too. Per the program, competition samples will be available from 1PM-3PM each day, & it's "first come / first served". They also have a map of the layout in the center of the program, as well as the entertainment scedule.

          3. Too bad I've moved back to New Mexico or I'd enlighten you to New Mexico style chile.

            21 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              I can read! ;)

              I'd be up for any tips you've got! Right now I make what I'd consider a "mole" style chili. Not too much heat (my kids love eating it too), but lots of spice.

              1. re: solargarlic

                Solar, if you have interest in exploring authentic chili, do get yourself a copy of Jane Butel's Chili Madness. I see Amazon has it, and it isn't expensive. She drives home a few of the cardinal rules such as to throw away the lid of your chili pot, and that "To skim is folly."

                The great thing about making chili is that it so readily lends itself to substitutions and personal whims, while still keeping it authentic. Want to add a splash of tequila for flavor, or some masa de harina to thicken it a bit? - then go for it. I will typically add more onion and garlic than some of my favorite recipes in her book suggest. Have some venison that's been in the freezer too long?..... adding it to the beef is a great way to use it up and flavor your chili.

                Chili season approaches......

                1. re: solargarlic

                  I'm a real purist, red chile snob. No beans, the chile goes over PINTO beans. Simplicity: steep New Mexico red chile pods, stuffed into a blender, in boiling water for an hour, add 3-4 cloves garlic and blend. While chile is soaking fine dice pork, beef or chicken and saute. Add blended chile & garlic to the meat and simmer for one hour. Salt to taste. No cumin or other spices. New Mexico chiles vary in subtle flavor depending upon where grown.
                  I just wish they'd call eastern kidney bean chile, bean stew.
                  ps, You can order New Mexico chiles on line. I avoid Hatch as I feel it's name makes it more expensive and, when living in Maine, ordered my chiles from a farm in Deming.
                  I now have 90 lbs of roasted fresh green chiles ($16 a 40 lb. box and roasted for free) in the freezer and 3 ristras (stings of chiles) of fresh red chiles drying in the sun right outside my kitchen. Now if I can only bag an elk or deer, I'm set for the winter.
                  New Mexico is definitely worth a chile chowhound visit.
                  ps the avitar is green chile mole duck enchiladas.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    That sounds really good. I love the simplicity of it! I've got some research to do!

                    1. re: solargarlic

                      Here's a start:
                      new mexico chile harvest

                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                      Hatch chile prices weren't too bad at Whole Foods this year - $.99 a pound - cheaper than all the other chile varieties that WF and other supermarkets are charging.

                      They do call bean "chile" something different, its called chili. ;-)

                      1. re: LStaff

                        I wasn't clear. I order my dried red New Mexico chiles from Deming because they are cheaper than hatch. I assume the fresh green Hatch New Mexico chiles (wrongly named Anaheims) are all that are available in Ct.
                        The 90 lbs of green chiles that I have in the freezer are Hatch, bought from a road side trailer for $15 for a 40 lb burlap sack and roasted on site for free, Why didn't I take photos?
                        Go eat one of them that "funny" Ct lobster rolls w/ butter for me, will ya?

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          That sounds amazing!

                          Oh yeah, CT lobster is it that no one else has caught on to something so incredible????

                          1. re: solargarlic

                            Where I used to work , I was given 5 gal. buckets of fresh lobster. I used it for everything, tacos, quesadillas, salads, stews, and omelets.
                            Now I get free Tamales, elk and deer meat!

                            1. re: solargarlic

                              Had them for lunch today at Jimmies.............end of the summer visit to Savin Rock.
                              Tomorrow driving the wife up to Andover and then on to Salem, NH for some serious shopping. Just clueless as to where to have lunch.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Mmmmm, Jimmies, I haven't been there in ages!

                                I don't know much about Salem, but if it were me, I would stop in Lawrence for some ethnic eats. There's a huge Dominican community there, so there's got to be something good. I used to go to this little Italian place to get ricotta fritters stuffed with anchovies. I can't remember the name, but I think it was across the street from Tripoli's.

                                You may want to start a new thread to get a broader discussion going.

                                1. re: solargarlic

                                  thnx, but we won't be stopping in Lawrence. I spend one day a week at Essex District court doing pro bono work, I don't like running into clients with my family present.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    lol...I used to teach there, so I can relate. I did enjoy stopping for good food on my way out of there though!

                                  2. re: solargarlic

                                    It is called "Italian Kitchen" and yes, it is across from Tripolis bakery on Common Street...the ricotta fritters are actually called crispellis and they also have amazing rice balls....I realize this has nothing to do with the Chili cookoff, just thought I'd share!

                                    1. re: purchaser1

                                      Thanks! I'll have to find an excuse to get back down there some time.

                          2. re: Passadumkeg

                            Next time you're up this way Passadumkeg & need a hunting buddy, I'll let my hubby know. He's just staring out on ducks this year, so give him time & maybe he'll be able to help you out with a deer in a year or two - just show him how to cook it properly since I hear they can be pretty nasty if they're not done right. As you can tell by my "pen name", I'm a city girl who has NO clue what to do with a deer- they don't have any deer in the projects where I grew up (but we did have plenty of "ghetto chickens"), nor did they sell it at Stop & Shop! : )
                            Miss ya on the Boston board (FYI, Dave MP just moved back - you can check out his posting on the Boston board), but glad to see you pop up here!

                            1. re: southie_chick

                              I've got an empty deer stand 200 yards behind my Ellsworth house if you hubbie wants to use it. I've been duck hunting for 50 years.
                              I prefer game meat to anything in the supermarket.
                              I used to make elk jerky and cook it w/ pinto bean w/ a red chile sauce. Yum!

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Thanks Pass - you'll have to let me know next time you're up this way. NEVER have cooked game before (hubby used to hunt rabbit when he was a kid) so this should be interesting ....... especially if I'm cooking. Feel free to toss me a couple of tips - I could DEFINATELY use them!
                                Hubby used to cook / waiter at the old Prince Grotto (where they made Prince Spagetti), & waitered at The Country Gourmet (now Buckley's Steakhouse) in Merrimack (& had a couple of cook / waiter jobs at different places) so he knows his way around a kitchen. I have a feeling he's gonna be the one doing all the game cooking!
                                He's also a private pilot - too bad you're not closer I'd have him take you for a foliage flight (it's great to see it from the air).

                                1. re: southie_chick

                                  A larding needle, salt pork and bacon or wet cook. Game has not fat, so one must add it.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Thanks for the tips - we usually have both salt pork & bacon around so that's easy enough.
                                    One quick question - can I use the duck fat with game? And, can I freeze the fat to be used for later? I know that's the only fatty thing he'll be bringing home will be the ducks - those he knows how to cook so he'll show me what to do with those.

                                    1. re: southie_chick

                                      Yes & yes, makes great French fries. I use smaller duck's breasts, broil w/ bacon and serve w/ wild raspberry or unsweetened blueberry sauce.

                      2. did anyone actually go to this event?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: whs

                          Not I! The newspaper coverage had photos of people eating from those tiny plastic sample cups, so I doubt I missed anything. Big whoop, is what I say.

                          1. re: Dave B

                            lol, I was thinking the same thing when I saw the little plastic cups! Tomorrow night there is a local chili cook-off at the Milford Pumpkin Festival, for a small ticket fee you get a small sample of every chili that is entered. Probably an easier way to get a chili fix!