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Chili Cook-Off Rules

Divisions

  • Adult Cooks: Must be active ICS members and at least 18 years old. Cooks must register for their ICS memberships and sign-up for every cook-off they participate in through the ICS website, chilicookoff.com.
  • Youth Cooks: Must be active ICS members 6 to 17 years of age. Cooks (or parents/ supervisors of) must register for Youth ICS memberships and sign-up for each cook-off by contacting youthcook@icschili.com.

Every adult and youth cook must be a member in good standing prior to the commencement of ICS cook-off to be able to compete.

Entries

  • Adult: $25 Traditional Red / $25 Homestyle / $25 Chili Verde
  • Youth: $10 Traditional Red / $10 Homestyle / $10 Chili Verde

Youth Requirements

  • Youth cooks must prepare their chili with adult supervision, but not adult participation.
  • Adult may help with knifework and prep, during the preparation period ONLY.
  • Adult assistance MUST STOP once the 3-hour cooking time starts. At that time adults are there to supervise only and assist with any safety concerns (i.e. moving heavy or hot items, etc.)
  • Adults cannot taste the youth’s chili, this is the youths’ time to shine and make their own cooking decisions. Youth cooks may have other youth ages 17 and under taste their chili.

People’s Choice Chili (PC): Each team Youth and Adult must participate in the People’s Choice Tasting. The requirement for tasting is preparation of 2 gallons of chili with entry fee.

Categories

Contestants can compete in one or all three categories including People’ Choice.

Traditional Red Chili is any kind of meat, or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients. Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed. Preference is not given to either cut meat, ground meat, shredded meat or cubed meat.

Homestyle Chili is any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients. Homestyle chili may be any color. Beans are required. Preference is not given to either cut meat, ground meat, shredded meat or cubed meat. Seafood is allowed.

Chili Verde is any kind of meat, or combination of meats, cooked with green chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients. Non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed. Preference is not given to either cut meat, ground meat, shredded meat or cubed meat.

Note: The above category winners are all chosen by judges. Garnishes must not be used for any category. Rule of thumb- if an ingredient found on the top layer of an entry bowl cannot also be found mixed throughout the entire bowl, it is a garnish and is not permitted. If a bowl is delivered for judging with a garnish, the bowl will be disqualified

People’s Choice Chili (PC) winners are determined by the public. PC is required by all adult and youth contestants. Any type of chili may be served as PC chili. ALL TEAMS MUST COMPETE IN PEOPLE’S CHOICE.

CONTEST

  • Each team will be provided a 10×10 space.
  • Each contestant is responsible for supplying all of their own cooking ingredients, supplies and utensils. Contestants will receive specific requirements from each individual cook-off organizer upon successful registration.
  • Each team should have a a fire extinguisher at their booth.

Traditional Red, Homestyle, Chili Verde Categories

  • No ingredient may be pre-cooked in any way prior to the commencement of the official cooking time. The only exceptions are canned vegetables, sauces, peppers, liquids, seasoning pastes and meat substitutes.
  • Meat may be pre-cut or ground but MAY NOT be pre-cooked, treated, seasoned or marinated in any manner.
  • Grinding and/or mixing of spices is allowed.
  • All other ingredients must be prepared and/or chopped on-site during the preparation period. The preparation period is the designated time between set-up and the start of the cooking period for each category. Preparation times may vary by cook-off, as determined by the Chief Judge.
  • All ingredients must be sourced to a licensed food manufacturer, wholesale supplier or retail store. No ingredients are allowed that have originated from unlicensed growers or suppliers. No home grown or home canned/bottled ingredients are allowed. No wild game meat is permitted, even if processed by a licensed facility. All ingredients are subject to inspection at any time, by ICS representatives or local and state officials.
  • All food – whether stored, resting or cooking – must always be maintained at food-safe temperatures. Food temperatures are subject to inspection at any time by ICS representatives or local/state officials.
  • All food handling, preparation and serving must comply with all local and state guidelines, policies and rules.
  • Failure to abide by any of the above, in the unilateral and unfettered opinion of the Chief Judge, will result in immediate disqualification from the cook-off.
  • A representative of the cook-off will conduct a contestant meeting no later than 1 hour prior to the start of the competition cooking period. At this meeting instructions will be given and questions answered.
  • The cooking period is 3 hours.
  • For each category a contestant competes in, they must cook a minimum of 32 oz. to be submitted for judging. Contestants must cook and turn in their own entries. The Chief Judge has the right to disqualify any cook or team of cooks found turning in an entry(s) not prepared by them.

People’s Choice Chili

  • Every contestant must prepare and serve People’s Choice chili (PC), a minimum of 2 gallons.
  • Each cook-off has its own rules regarding the preparation of PC either on-site or before the event.
  • PC can be any type or color of chili as long as it is homemade and on site the day of the event. ICS does NOT support the use of canned chili.
  • If multiple cooks share one booth, each contestant must be prepared to show their own PC. The event organizer or Chief Judge has the right to disqualify any contestant who does not prepare the required quantity of PC.
  • The PC chili that receives the highest number of votes by the public will win.