Chili Challenge — Saturday

This Saturday, May 30, is the 7th Annual Bull City Chili Challenge.  How have I managed to live here for six of those seven years and not hear about this event until now?

Some details:

In case you were worried, this cook-off is sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI).  It will take place in Durham Central Park and benefits go to the Special Olympics.  Tasting starts around noon for chili (11am for salsa), and you get a “tasting kit” (spoon and small cups for the chili) for $4.  Can you handle the heat??

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm  Comments (9)  


  1. It was fun though I expected to be blown away by at least a few of the offerings. The Blue Devil in the corner had a vegetarian chili with chickpeas that was my favorite of the day.

    • Thanks, that was my chili you loved. 🙂

      I am one of the organizers of the event and I will keep this site in mind for next year’s event. If anyone who sees this wants to join us for other cookoffs in the area, check out the Piedmont Pepper Pod website for events and cookoff results,

  2. They ran out of stuff pretty fast – glad I went early.

  3. I was disappointed by how quickly everyone ran out. Does anyone know if there is some kind of requirement to make a certain amount of chili that might allow everyone who pays to taste the different entries? A lot of those pots seemed awfully small.

    • The only requirement for the cooks is enough to fill the judging cup. Everyone is encouraged to make extra chili to give out to the crowd, but our group is a group of individuals who have the burden all the expense to bear by themselves. Making a giant pot of chili, especially the competition chili, can get VERY expensive, very quickly. We will work to have more restaurants involved next year that can more easily make a large batch of chili to give out to the crowd. Thanks for your support of the cookoff and the Special Olympics.

      • Selling “tasting kits” with no reasonable assurances that purchasers will get to taste anything? Lame!

  4. Arrived at 12:15 to find about half the competitors with empty pots. Really??! And the stations that did have some chili left it was obvious why; lacking in taste (I’m looking at you Zombie Chili!). Hopefully, this was just a down year. Planning my attack to dominate this competition next year. TEXAS, REPRESENT!

    • We did have several regular cooks unavailable on Saturday, so we’re always looking for additional cooks to join us. I’ll be sure to post here when it’s time to register for next year’s event so y’all can join us as cooks.

    • I also wish there had been chili beyond 12:15 (I got there at 11:45). But I will also say that I don’t think it’s a good idea to slam the people who participated. This was already pointed out in an earlier comment, but I think it bears repeating, these are people who donated their time and money to support the special olympics. There may be ways to make the event better, but insulting cooks isn’t one of them.

      I don’t remember Zombie Chili, but I do know that at a chili cook-off you won’t like everything that everyone makes. I also know (having done this sort of thing before elsewhere) that it’s fun to try out new ideas in cooking. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

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