By Jim Misunas
It was chilly Saturday — a perfect day for chili.
Straub International’s chili didn’t win the grand prize in the Second Annual Charity Chili Cook-off — but the crew had everything you’d hope for — a theme and distinctive pork-based chili.
Kristy (Straub) Hogan talked her brother Darren Straub into entering “Sqeelers Delight,” a pork chili concoction. Straub cleverly wove a tailgate theme with some University of Kansas items, chili resting on a tailgate and the KU-Iowa State game on the radio with the tailgate down.
“Kristy was the one who talked us into it,” Straub said. “We decided to have a tailgate theme and have fun with it. We all had a good time.”
The pork-based chili was popular with black beans, jalapenos, onions, cilantro and tomatillos or Mexican tomatoes. Zoey, a fearless Boston terrier, made sure there was no trouble.
Most teams started cooking Friday night to get things just right. There was plenty of variety in the seven entries. More than 50 people bought $5 bracelets to enjoy the chili.
“The judges indicated that the broad range of distinctive chili recipes made for intensive deliberations,” said Sarah Krom. “From the more traditional beef-and-bean to the distinctive pork and chicken varieties they had deep appreciation for all the submissions.”
The event in downtown Great Bend benefited the Community Food Bank.
“Due to the generousness of the local chili lovers we were able to raise $305 for the Community Food Bank,” Krom said.
Sunflower Diversified Services underwrites the cost of the Charity Cook-off so that all tasters money is awarded to the food bank. Dr. Jean Pringle made a generous donation to Sunflower to cover these costs.
Entrants were Cornerstone Interiors, Waddell & Reed, Straub International, Prodigal Ministries, Karen Neuforth, Soldiers for Christ and Nex-Tech.
Karen Neuforth was crowned the individual winner for the second year in a row for her Chocolate Chili.
Team Soldiers for Christ featuring Michael Beaver and Lance Stevens were crowned the winning team entry by the judges. Their recipe for “Curry Chicken Chili,” earned top grades for including beans, tomatoes, bell peppers and onions.
“We did it for fun and we had a great time,” Stevens said.
Cornerstone Interiors was runner-up with “Chili Con Carne,” by Jaimee Landers and Carly Spencer. The recipe, which was handed out, was made of ground beef, onions, garlic, kidney beans, Robert Rothschild Anna Mae’s Sweet Smoky Oven & Grill Sauce, chili powder, salt and tomatoes.
Nex-Tech & Straub International shared third place.
Nex-Tech’s recipe of “Whitezilla,” featuring chicken and beef was the Peoples Choice champion. Cooks Denise Long, David Ramsey and Sarah Panning represented Nex-Tech, which coordinated an in-house chili cookoff that gave Panning’s recipe rave reviews.
Mark Williams of Prodigal Ministries made a traditional beef and vegatable chili. Melanie Schneweis featured “Retire with Fire,” featuring a tomato base with beef, beans, onions, garlic and jalapenos.