ORANGE PARK – Hundreds treated their taste buds at the 13th annual Moosehaven Chili Cook-Off and Car Show on Veterans Day. The “chow down” benefited new town organizations, Friends of the TOP …
ORANGE PARK – Hundreds treated their taste buds at the 13th annual Moosehaven Chili Cook-Off and Car Show on Veterans Day. The “chow down” benefited new town organizations, Friends of the TOP Parks and the Moosehaven AAA Project.
Seasoned chefs, chili competitors and hundreds of hungry patrons from Moose lodges across Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio met for the cook-off along the breezy banks of the St. Johns River. The cold, cloudy weather was the perfect setting for slurping bountiful bowls of warm, spicy concoctions.
As chili pots simmered, so did the excitement for the afternoon awards ceremony. Recipes were judged and voted on in four categories: red, verde, salsa, and the “People’s Choice Award.”
Donald Perry from Wauchula emerged as the chili champion, winning first place among contestants nationwide in both the red and verde chili categories. One of his first-place recipes was served with an 80% ground chuck beef base, tomato sauce and championship-caliber blend of spices courtesy of Mild Bill’s Spices and Gunpowder Foods. The savory, seasoned taste left a profound impression.
“We don’t use a spice or seasoning older than six months. It loses potency,” Perry said.
Perry never uses spices with preservatives and never uses spices off a typical grocery store shelf. He and his brother, Tony, only use fresh, quality ingredients in their national competitions, including the recent World Championship Chili Cook-Off in Myrtle Beach.
Larry Weltikol finished first in the salsa category, followed by Matt Lusk in second and Scott Sprouse in third.
After Perry took home first for the red chili category, Jan Sprouse finished second and John Blackwell finished third.
The leaderboard for the verde chili category had a returning cast of characters. Perry, again, took home first place. Sprouse and Blackwell traded places: Blackwell finished second and Sprouse finished third.
The Ohio State Moose Association won the People’s Choice Award with their pot of delicious, smoky, mouthwatering flavor that made those who had a sample feel like they were sitting by the campfire. The Indiana Moose Association was second in People’s Choice.
While not winning an overall award, The Georgia Moose Association won the “Best Booth” award with their Georgia football tailgate and fall festive theme.
Moosehaven’s 13th annual Chili Cook-Off was a spicy success, proving a warm bowl of chili fends off a windy, “chilly” day.