Fort Detrick and ATRF Chili Cook-Offs Deliver Heated Competition

By Chris Worthington, Staff Writer; Photos by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer
Jim Farling.

Jim Farling, supervisor, Protective Services (center) is the winner of the 14th annual Protective Services Chili Cook-Off.

More than 200 employees showed up to sample spicy and savory concoctions at the 14th annual Protective Services Chili Cook-Off at NCI at Frederick.

It’s hard to say whether the recipes are improving or everyone just forgot their lunches, but the event was the biggest yet—and organizer Tom Gannon-Miller, manager, Protective Services, even joked that next year he may need to find a bigger venue.

Twenty-three different chilies received votes, but in the end, Jim Farling, supervisor, Protective Services, was crowned the winner. Christina Robinson, research associate II, Laboratory Animal Sciences Program, was a close second, and Jim Stull, animal care supervisor, Laboratory Animal Sciences Program—a former chili cook-off winner and last year’s second-place finisher—came in third.

Meanwhile, the ATRF recently held their second annual chili cook-off, which built on the success of last year’s event and showcased many diverse recipes. The day was damp and cold, which many attendees noted was the perfect weather for a cup of hot chili.

In the end, the winner was John Columbus, research associate III, who won over voters with his turkey pumpkin chili. Columbus was awarded the grand prize, a reserved spot in the visitor lot for two weeks.

Jim Farling’s Texas Red Chili
First Mix of Spices:
2 lbs. chili grind chuck roast
2 lbs. chili grind pork sausage
6 oz. can tomato paste
15 oz. can regular diced tomatoes
15 oz. can Mexican chili diced tomatoes w/ green chili
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 pierced poblano peppers
2 pierced jalapeño peppers
32 oz. can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
15 oz. can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tbsp. Mexene Chili Powder
1 tbsp. Dixon Medium Hot Chili Powder
1 tbsp. Cowtown Lite Chili Powder
2 tsp. beef granules or 1 can broth
2 tsp. chicken granules or 1 can broth
2 tsp. onion granules
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

(There is one ingredient you can’t buy here that I add—my wife and I make a “smoked pepper sauce.” We grow tomatoes and all our own hot and sweet peppers. We take these, along with fresh garlic buns and sweet onions, and smoke them on our smoker for approximately six hours with mesquite. We then process them with olive oil and lemon juice and can the sauce, which we call the C&S Up in Smoke Pepper Sauce. One jar was added.)

Second Mix of Spices:
1 tbsp. San Antonio Red Chili Powder
2 tbsp. San Antonio Original Chili Powder
1/8–1/4 tsp. Terlingua Dust Chili Powder
1 tbsp. Texas Original Chili Powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp garlic granules
5 squares of dark baker’s chocolate (unsweetened)

Brown (separately) 2 lbs. of chili grind (sausage and burger), then drain and set aside. Clean pot, then add one can of beef broth, one can of chicken broth, and all cans of tomato products, and float two medium poblano and two jalapeño peppers. Add drained meat, bring to a boil, and then add first mix of spices. Cook for about 10 minutes at high heat. Reduce heat and cook 30–45 minutes. Turn off heat and let chili rest in pot for 30–60 minutes. Remove poblano and jalapeño peppers, squeeze out juices, and then discard. Return to a boil 30–45 minutes before competition time, and then add the second mix of spices. Cook for 30 minutes. Salt to taste. Eat and enjoy!

John Columbus’ Turkey Pumpkin Chili (makes ~6 quarts)
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium/large red onion, chopped (~3 cups)
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (~2 cups)
4 large jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (~1 cup)
Fire-roasted Ancho peppers (~1 cup)
6–8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 lbs. roasted white meat turkey, chopped
1 lb. fresh ground dark meat turkey
2 (14.5-oz.) cans Wegman’s chili-cut diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can corn, drained
1 can Bush’s chili-spiced black beans, drained
3 cups turkey stock
1 bottle Frontera chipotle cranberry salsa
2 canned chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin purée
2 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tbsp. Mexican chili powder
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 and 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

Brown the ground dark meat turkey and set aside to drain. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender. Add ground turkey, tomatoes, salsa, roasted Ancho peppers, chipotle peppers, pumpkin, turkey stock, corn, cilantro, chili powders, cayenne, crushed red peppers, cumin, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans and white meat turkey. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30–60 minutes, adjusting spices and thickness. Serve, if desired, with chopped cilantro, sour cream, or cheese.

The 14th Protective Services Chili Cook-Off was the biggest yet, with over 200 attendees. The 14th Protective Services Chili Cook-Off was the biggest yet, with over 200 attendees. The 14th Protective Services Chili Cook-Off was the biggest yet, with over 200 attendees.