Now I know how Brett Hart felt (minus that whole stroke thing)

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Rant
Tags: , , ,

Among my closer circle of friends is a diabolical creation known as Hellfire Chili.  There have been wondrous variants like Hellfire Burritos, Hellfire Burgers–  shit, even Hellfire Stir Fry has made a trial run.  The influence of these nefariously hot dishes have also led to one of my most prized creations–  pollo con arribiata puttanesca.

However, I digressed…  this has to do with the root, the great-granddaddy of them all, the chili that has burned several hundreds of asses across a decade of toilet terrorism. In other news, my name is a swear word among porcelain deities due to my affinity for fire.  Anyway, October 26th was the annual Quaker Steak ‘n’ Lube chili cook-off in Sharon, PA.  Granted, it’s an amateur event, but a friend of mine–  we’ll call her Miss Sassy– told me that the reigning “hottest” chili has been undefeated.  Someone cue up a record skip sound byte, it’s appropriate here.

Undefeated.  Really.

Check please, that’s the best damn sales pitch I’ve ever heard.  So what do I do?  I call up The Rev, the man who helped create the very basis on which this chili was made.  Next call went to my buddy Dr. Gonzo– since he has a cache of ghost chilis, and an affinity for spicy foods that is probably even greater than my own.  I figure this TKE Triumvirate would be more than enough to drop bombs all over this amateur competition, right?

Damn right. At that point it was a case of, “Gentlemen.  Time to bring a nuke to a napalm fight.”

Notice the mask.

So we got to work. Rev’s in the background chopping up bacon, because it’s BACON. You gotta have bacon. And you may notice the bandanna over Doc’s face– yeah that’s not for show.

If this hasn't given you a boner yet...

Before we sautee, we behold the pile of awesome. And by the way– that’s about a quarter of the peppers we put in.

So we guys got knives flying amid capsaicin, bacon, spices, and booze (at this point, shots).  You know, a little beer for the cooks makes everything better– and if some makes it to the food, so much the better.  Right?  Right.  Let’s move on.  Start off with some ground beef, bacon, andouille sausage, peppers, spices, onions, garlic…  You know, the basics for an all-around great chili.  Anyone worth their beans (Get it?  Chili joke?  Don’t judge me.) already knows this, I’m not goddamn Alton Brown, so let’s move on.

Now, to give you an idea where the firepower came from:  ghost chilis, habanero peppers, Portugal Reds, Thai chilis, serranos…  That’s kind of what you see in that mix above.  If your tastebuds aren’t cringing in terror yet, your ass sure is.

This sexually arouses some people.

Post browning– mind you the vapors from this kettle were fragrant and delicious… but decidedly caustic to the eyes.

Being three fraternity brothers, wouldn’t you think we’d have beer on hand?

You’d think that, right?

Yeah, well, being the cheap bastards that we tend to be– we also assumed that everyone else was taking care of the beer.  We hit that stage pictured above and discovered that lo-and-behold… we three alumni are still idiots at heart.  Good thing The Empty Keg is less than a five minute drive from Dr. Gonzo’s apartment.

I opted to rage drive, since we’re running later than expected.

Oh yeah.

Chili needs beer. And none of that yellow or light shit.

At this point, we started whipping up the sauce with added peppers varying from bell to poblano, spices, etc.   After a few flame tests and subsequent tweaks later– I added the coup de gras: brown sugar.  While you’re savoring this thought, here’s what it looks like:

Feeding this to unsuspecting children would be considered child abuse.

See that wispy haze of steam? That’s not just steam. That’s the fog of impending DOOM.

A former cubicle mate of mine, Big Red, can attest to what Hellfire Chili can do to an unsuspecting colon (or even a clued-in colon).  The batch I brought to the office was barely qualified to carry the moniker.   That batch (delicious as it was) blew faces off, and apparently also tore up some digestive tracts.  The contents pictured above… well after the “final doctoring,” it was easily 15x hotter.

What you see up there is what Hellfire should be, enough for me to make declarations of hallowed feces.  We’ve just created a delicious violation of the Geneva Convention, one that starts off sweet…. rolls into a savory applewood/smoky type of goodness… and then blam!!!  It Johnny Cages you before you know what happened.  Not to mention, the unholy inferno left over across your palette might remind some WWII veterans of Dresden.  Realizing that this batch of nefariousness was well above and beyond anything any of us had ever made, we had to give it a new name.  So we dubbed it–  Johnny Cash.

I’ll let you savor that for a moment.

There’s a certain delectably sadistic glee that comes from watching reactions at a chili cook-off.  Let me try to put this image into a few words.  “Hey, this is pretty tasty…  Wow, there’s more here than I expected, the different layers of flaa–  waiiit a second…  oh dear God, did I just blow Beelzebub?!”   Of course, the best part is watching them go back for a second scoop– as if the initial bite was somehow a mistake.  No, you really did taste delicious flaming death, and your screaming nerve endings weren’t being hypochondriacs.

So yeah, enough about our very own Johnny Cash–  now to the short-short version of the competition…  we showed up with about a half hour to spare, and it was colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra.  Lucky for us, we had something that could be mistaken for a fuel rod from Three Mile Island.  One of the first people I met was (as it turned out) the “undefeated champion.”  She had a fistful of paper, but that shit won’t be crucial ’till later.

We got some beers, tried some fantastic chili recipes.  Tell you what, there was a white chicken chili there that was worth stabbing a guy over– just to get seconds.  Our leading competition, #6, took a bite– and stopped by our table to tell us our chili’s level of heat reminded him of his.  He then came back five minutes later, sweating, and showed us his ballot–  he voted for us, shook our hands, and we talked chili for a bit.  Then #2 came back….

Ever have one of those conversations that keep recurring with the same person because you know they’re a little on the slow side, but they’re really nice, but they don’t seem to get the whole “you’re creeping me the Hell out” message?  Yeah, our “repeat champ” is one of those.  Nice lady, but I totally got the overwhelming feeling that all the marbles weren’t rolling around up there.  In the air of sportsmanship, we were genial.  After all, everyone was MF’ing our chili, and nobody even mentioned #2.

To victory?

Oh yeah. We drank to victory. Make your premature jokes now.

So we hear that they’re finally going to announce the winners after tallying an unholy shitload of ballots (for what we thought was a lackluster turnout).  After having seen and heard everyone MF’ing Chili #3 (Johnny Cash), I ran to go get my camera for the inevitable victory shot.  As I got back, I overheard the winner for “spiciest.”

Number.  F***ing.  Two.

Nobody clapped.  Nobody.

Now, remember when I sportsmanly shook the hand of the lady with the fistful of paper?  Go ahead, scroll back up, we’ll wait.  Yeah, that was a fistful of ballots.  Ladies and gentlemen, argue about political voter fraud all the Hell you want– but this is proof positive that shallow people leading meaningless lives will always try to buy a win when they can’t get it legitimately.   Chili cook off voter fraud, especially at amateur events, is stupidly rampant– and the non-reaction of the crowd said it all.

Oh sure, she shook our hands and wished us “better luck next year,” and we were genial before we left– but you can thank my post-waistaff passive-aggressive nature for this blog entry.

May Johnny Cash still be burning your asshole with the fire of a thousand suns– and may you look upon your bought trophy and realize that you’re living a lie.  But hey, some people need to pretend– because they suck that hard at life.

The Reverend.  Yours Truly.  Dr. Gonzo.

See those grins? Do you see defeat?

Nuts and bolts.
Nuts and bolts.
We.  Got.  Screwed!

  1. Rev says:


  2. […] yes, I will continue to share my dinner online– because at least that took some creativity, effort, and thought.  It’s a hell […]

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