Lott says the secret to great chili is finding the right balance.
"You've got to kick it up a notch, but it can't be so hot that people can't eat them," he said.
Charleston native Phillip Majestro, who competed in the national competition for the first time this year, says his secret is quality ingredients.
"You've got to really dedicate some time to deciding what you put in your chili. I even order some ingredients online and have them shipped here," he said.
Bob Hall, of Taylorville, Ill., won the contest for best green chili on Saturday, and was rewarded a $4,000 prize.
The winner of the red chili competition will be announced Sunday and will win a grand prize of $25,000.
Just down the road from the cook off, more than 800 vintages cars line Kanawha Boulevard as the annual Rod Run and Doo Wop also hit Charleston this weekend.
Paul Liptok, a two-time Rod Run trophy winner, showed off his 1967 Chevelle Convertible SS on Saturday and even shutdown offers to buy it.
"I can't sell it. My dad traded it for a mini bike and $250 in the '80s, and we've spent a lifetime rebuilding it. It was pretty much junk," he said.
Three generations of Liptok men were at the car show on Saturday. Reese, 14, showed his 1994 Camaro.
"He enjoys it but he's not as crazy about it as me yet. I'm sure that'll change once he's old enough to drive," Liptok said about his son. "There is so much to see here. Anything you can dream up -- it's here."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.