It’s the middle of summer, and it’s one of those wonderful, hot July weekends here in Southern California. Serious chili chefs and chiliheads from around the country have gathered in beautiful Big Bear to cook their favorite special chili recipes or just taste some of the best chili in the country.
The International Chili Society, or ICS
The Big Bear Chili Cook Off is just one of many stops on the ICS Sanctioned Chili World Qualifier Competition, leading up to the world championships of the International Chili Society later in the year. Each competition narrows down the chili chefs while providing tons of delicious chili for chiliheads eat. A portion of each competition’s proceeds go to a local charity, too.
Chefs from across the country compete in at least three categories (traditional red, Homestyle, Chili Verde, and salsa categories) at each competition. With over 40 chefs participating the Big Bear event, that’s a lot of chili to taste and rate! These delicious chili dishes will be judged by both ICS professional judges as well as public tasters. Prizes for the competitors include Best Decorated Booth, Best First-Time Cook, the People’s Choice, and of course, the top winners in each category.
The Chili Cook Off
Each year in mid-July, the delicious smell of chili bubbling in crock pots and kettles fills the village, rising up from the Chili Cook Off. You can wander through the competition, just watching the action, or buy a tasting kit so you can sample and vote on your favorite chili.
And while there’ll be plenty of fresh, hot chili to eat, other food vendors will also be on site. Plus there’ll be plenty of cool beer to sooth your palate too. Live bands like Born Country and The Blue Henry’s will be playing, and there will be a kid’s play area, and other activities like wagon rides, bubble blowing, and bounce houses! And, of course, there will be local vendors selling chili-related products, Big Bear and Cook Off souvenirs and more. You know you want that Chili Cook Off apron!
Admission to the Chili Cook Off is free, and chili tasting kits are only $5. Check the Cook Off’s website for this year’s location and event times. Give us a call if you need more information on this year’s Chili Cook Off, or want to find the perfect luxury Big Bear vacation home close enough to smell the chili.