Aromas of spices, peppers, onions and more could be smelled on the sidewalks of downtown Pembroke Saturday when dozens of people gathered at the Senior Citizens Center for the city’s fourth annual Chili-Cook Off.
The event, sponsored by the North Bryan Chamber of Commerce, boasted eight chili vendors and three celebrity judges. Chamber president Mary Warnell said she received a lot of positive feedback from attendees, and was very pleased with the turnout.
“People that have come have come and stayed, and all of them say they want to have a fifth (cook-off),” she said.
Celebrity judges included radio personality Big Mac from Kix 96 and Newman Dotterweich and Tiffany Pennington from West Rehab. Event attendees were also given People’s Choice tokens to award the vendor they thought cooked up the best dish, Warnell said.
Dotterweich said he had a lot of fun judging each tasty recipe, but also said the competition got tougher with each sample he had.
“It was a good time—there was some really great chili and very unique chili,” he said.
Taking home first place for the second year in a row was Joseph Waters, with his signature batch of “This Butt’s for You.” He was happy to have won the competition again.
“I was absolutely glad to win, we look forward to this every year,” he said.
Waters, who also competes in barbecue competitions throughout the state, said his is a basic chili that includes smoked Boston Butt and several “secret ingredients.”
Dotterweich said “This Butt’s for You” put a new twist on a classic dish.
“Adding the Boston Butt completely changed the whole personality of the chili,” Dotterweich said. “It wasn’t too spicy—it was perfect.”
Matt Longino took home second place in the competition with his batch of “Magnolia Matt’s” chili. His chili included jalapeno peppers and tomatoes that Longino grew in his garden, along with hamburger meat and several other ingredients.
“The spices are what make it unique,” he said.
“Jackpot Chili” cooked by Marilyn Page and Tim Page rounded out the top three places and also took home the People’s Choice award.
Warnell said half of the vendors were first time entrants, including Dustin Railey, who was serving up his tomato-based chili called “Parker’s Pot,” named after his son.
Railey came from Hinesville to enter the competition and said he enjoyed spending the day with his family.
“I wanted to get out on a Saturday and have a good day,” he said. “I saw it on a sign and decided to come up here and do it.”
Though Railey didn’t place in the competition, he said he received 12 People’s Choice tokens, which meant a lot to him.
In addition to chili, attendees also enjoyed ice cream compliments of Bluebell Creameries and sweet tea from McDonald’s, Warnell said.