Duluth City Councilman Billy Jones retained his championship title at the second annual City Council Chili Cook-off Thursday (Aug. 16) on the Duluth Town Green. He got to keep the championship apron.
This year Jones prepared mild turkey chili and spicy Buffalo chicken chili and offered a selection of toppings including blue cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, oyster crackers, Fritos and sliced jalapenos. And he set out a couple of bottles of hot sauce in case his chili wasn’t piquant enough.
His venison chili was judged the best in 2011.
Jones was presented with a container filled with gifts from local merchants as the 2012 chili cook-off winner. Jones also was given a trophy to keep the one he won last year company.
The Smokey Farmland Band played bluegrass music while citizens sampled chili and voted for their favorites. When the band took breaks, city staff led hula hoop, jump rope, and tug-of-war contests. The activities were part of the last “No Reason Block Party” of the season sponsored by the city.
Councilwoman Marsha Bomar earned rave reviews with her rich chocolate chili offered with southwestern sweet potato bread bites.
Barbara Whitlock helped husband Greg Whitlock serve samples of traditional beef chili with pinto beans and mini jalapeno/cream corn muffins. Councilman Whitlock made the chili. His wife baked the melt-in-your-mouth muffins.
New Councilman Kelly Kelkenberg, assisted by his wife Kim, offered samples of Texas-style beef chili with kidney beans. Kelkenberg wore his Texas Aggies apron for the occasion. He bragged that his chili contained 80/20 percent lean ground chuck.
Councilman Jim Dugan served shredded chicken chili with black beans then scooted out early to attend a Falcons game in Atlanta.
Greg Lindquist of Best of Brews sold cold domestic and imported beer to go along with the chili. He provided free samples of a special root beer available at his growler shop.
City staff and volunteers raised $265 by cooking additional pots of chili and serving full bowls for donations to Hands of Christ – A Duluth Cooperative Ministry. The choices included vegetarian and hearty meat versions. The ministry operates a food pantry and thrift store in the community.