The money generated by ticket sales benefited the MS Society. The Shoot-Out and a party Friday at Power Alley Grille on Friday generated more than $7,000.
Judge Dave Lorenz, from Marlton, N.J., placed second in the 2007 world championship. He's been competing since 1983, and has already qualified in both red and green chili for the 2009 world competition.
"I look for good flavor with a mix of cumin and green chilies," he said. "It should be hot, but not too hot. You don't want it to knock you down."
The most common mistake he sees, especially from new chili chefs, is to make their chili too hot or too salty. He also warned about getting too creative. A classic, full-flavored chili usually competes well. He favors a chili made from pork shoulder, rather than pork loin.
Earlier Saturday, bakers dropped off cornbread entries for a cornbread contest. The contest had two categories: traditional and nontraditional, which featured cornbread with additives such as whole kernel corn, other vegetables, fruit, meat and cheese. The nontraditional entries outnumbered the traditional 4-1 - a big change from last year's cornbread contest when there were more traditional entries.
Bakers added sausage, chili, pepperoni, cheese, zucchini, onions, garlic, and even mandarin oranges and pepper jelly to their cornbread. The nontraditional winner was Gazette food writer Judy Grigoraci, whose Orange-Pecan Cornmeal Cake reminded one judge of a pineapple upside-down cake.
Sharon Lane won the traditional category with her Southern Iron Skillet Cornbread.
After I left the soggy competition Saturday, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some pork shoulder, green chilies and tomatillos. Fresh tomatillos are in short supply at this time of year, so I settled for a couple of jars of salsa verde, which listed tomatillos as the main ingredient.
The ICS Web site listed the last 10 years' winning recipes, most of which called for pork loin. Even though I'm a novice to chili verde, I went with Lorenz's preference for shoulder because I think the texture and flavor would make a better chili. It was a tough call because pork loin was on sale.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.