Jersey City Chili Cook-Off

chili-2013On Sunday, I walked over to the Grove St. PATH station for the annual chili cook-off. I went late last year and missed out on most of the chili, so I headed over just after the event started this year.

Holding the chili cook-off at Grove St. was a great idea–it’s a much better location than the hidden lot on 4th St. The crowd was thin when I arrive just after noon, but it became quite crowded as the day went on.

I was rather disappointed with the entries to the chili cook-off. There were too many bland chilis, and only one that I found reasonably spicy. For some reason, there were a lot of rather sweet entries (really, who the hell wants to eat sweet chili?). It made me think that if I had entered this year, I would’ve had to make everyone sign a waiver because I make my chili spicy (I even use Sichuan flower peppercorns (aka prickly ash) and Thai peppers).

This was my favorite chili from Chilin' Beans
This was my favorite chili from Chilin’ Beans

I’ve reviewed the winners of this year’s cook-off, and I’m not too pleased with the results. My pick for individual chili entry was Chilin’ Beans, which made the chili with 10 types of peppers, giving it a very nice flavor and a bit of a kick. For some reason, the voters chose a chili that was made with Dr. Pepper and was sickeningly sweet. The winning restaurant, PJ Ryan’s, was a decent chili with chorizo–again, it would’ve been much better if there was at least some level of spiciness to it.chili-band

There were also a lot of vegetarian and vegan entries. Most were a little thin on the sauce, but a few were good enough that I would eat more that the little cup provided.

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