Chili masters meet in Albuquerque for the regional cook-off »Albuquerque Journal

Chilli chefs from all over the country will be coming to Albuquerque to secure a spot in the Chilli Cook-off World Champion.

Chefs will compete in the Southwest Regional Chili Cook-off on Saturday, August 4th, and the New Mexico State Championship on Sunday, August 5th at the Route 66 Casino Hotel.

“It’s the camaraderie of people who come out because they know each other,” said Chief Justice Bob Plager. “It’s the next best thing in world championships and it’s fun.

There are three categories that chilli chefs can enter each day: red chilli, green or verde, or salsa. There is a winner every day in each category. The winners will then switch to the world champion Chili Cook-off in St. Louis from September 28th to 30th.

At the end of July there were 25 entries in the Red Chili category, around 14 entries in the Green or Verde category and 13 entries in the Salsa category for the Albuquerque event. The number of entries may increase as the competition dates approach. Participants must be members of the International Chili Society and can register for a fee at

About 10 states are represented, including New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma, according to Plager. First, second and third place winners will be selected on Saturday and Sunday. The winners will receive an award and cash prizes.

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Each contribution is judged according to different criteria. The red and the green or the verde are judged by their taste or their chilli pepper taste. The judges are looking for something that Plager says is not too hot or not too mild. The texture of the meat is also important. The judges will see if it’s not too hard or too muddy.

The mixture of the spices with the meat, i.e. how well the spices penetrated the meat, is also a factor that the judges will consider, according to Plager. The aroma of the chilli is taken into account as well as its color and appearance. Entries cannot contain beans or noodles.

The public can purchase a tasting tray for $ 5. You will receive samples from participants and can vote for People’s Choice. The proceeds will go to the Laguna Senior Olympics.

The Route 66 Casino Hotel also hosts a car show on Saturday and Sunday. The event will include 250 to 350 classic cars. According to Plager, awards will be given in various categories on Sunday.

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