Chili cookoff returns to Red Heifer Winery
Yvonne Ford, owner of Red Heifer Winery in Smithsburg, said the establishment regularly hosts fundraising events for area nonprofit organizations.
Sunday, Sept. 8, the winery will host an event to benefit the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company. What better way to do so, Ford said, than to gather people to cook and sample some two, three, maybe even five-alarm chili.
“We thought, ‘It’s for a fire department, maybe have a chili cookoff.’ It’s kind of a theme,” she said. “Who doesn’t like to eat? Everybody has a good chili recipe and everybody wants to show off their chili.”
The Red Heifer Chili Cook-off will begin at 3 p.m. Attendees will have the option to buy tickets to sample and judge, or just to spectate. Judging will take place between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and winners will be announced between 6:30 p.m.and 7 p.m. Michelle Hannan & One Blue Night will provide live music. Wine will be available for purchase by tasting, glass or bottle. The venue will be open to attendees only during the fundraiser and is for adults age 21 and older.
Red Heifer capped the competition at 11 teams for the first-time event.
“All the spots for competing teams are filled,” Ford said. “We have a range from home cooks to professional chefs. Some of the chili will be traditional, some veggie, some specialty. There is a wide range so it’s quite exciting.”
Jimmy Waymire of Waynesboro, Pa., heads up team Don’t Make Us Get Jalapeno Business with their gourmet Colorado Green Chili featuring a slow-roasted pork butt.
“He does some unique things with his recipe,” Ford said. “He roasts his chili peppers, and uses house-cured, farm-raised egg yolks and seared pork belly.”
Waymire also donated the 3-oz. biodegradable bowls that will be used for serving samples.
“Each judge will get a minimum of a three-ounce sampling of each team’s chili. Three ounces times 11 teams is at least 33 ounces per person. That’s about a quart of chili,” Ford said.
Team Yes MA’AM, headed up by Mike and Anni Rhule of Smithsburg, will offer a beef-based chili with smoked vegetable relish, cornbread croutons, sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream drizzle.
“It sounds very traditional with a relish topping, which will be pretty cool,” Ford said.
Zak Karn, of Smithsburg, will present a sort of namesake dish, Chili Con Karnage, which he describes as a “three bean, three animal, three-alarm chili.” He creates the concoction using beef, bacon and chicken apple sausage with light red kidney, cannellini and black beans.
Tickets to the chili cook-off cost $15 for judging and $10 for spectating. Each person judging will receive tickets to vote for their three favorite chilis. Winning teams will receive a prize and each participating team will receive a gift.Frederick, Md.-based country band Michelle Hannan & One Blue Night, whose single “Tonight I’ll Scrape a Heart Off the Barroom Floor” recently was featured by Saving Country Music as one of the top 25 new country songs, will perform at the Red Heifer Winery Chili Cook-off on Sunday. (Submitted photo)
Additional donations to the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company will be accepted.
“I’m expecting that we will put out a (firefighter’s) boot and solicit single-dollar donations to support our small community fire department,” Ford said.
Other organizations benefitting from past Red Heifer events include women’s sober living home, Brooke’s House; dog rescue groups, For Otis’ Sake and Operation Paws for Home; and job training and animal rescue program, Happy Hounds Prison Dog Program.
“Response has been pretty positive. I’m not sure how many will come to this event because it’s a first-time thing, but the people who come (to the winery) are always enthusiastic and a great support,” Ford said. “We have a great customer base of people who choose to come out here and who come back again and again. They are truly wonderful. We do feel very supported by our community.”
Frederick, Md.-based country band Michelle Hannan & One Blue Night will provide entertainment. In June 2018, the group’s single, “Tonight I’ll Scrape a Heart Off the Barroom Floor,” was featured by industry blog Saving Country Music as one of the top 25 new country songs in America.
Red Heifer’s blueberry wine won Best in Class and Gold Medal at the 2019 Maryland Comptroller’s Cup Competition.
“We have several other award-winning wines ranging from dry to sweet,” Ford said. “While a lot of people enjoy the blueberry, we also have Red Heifer Red, which is a Cabernet Franc that took Silver in the same competition.”
The winery also entered the 2019 Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition. Judging will take place on Sunday, Sept. 8, Ford said.
Red Heifer, which opened seven years ago in November, has undergone “a pretty significant expansion this year,” she said, including the addition of a patio and outdoor space with ample seating.
“It’s been very well-received. You drive back a farm lane to get to us. We have Adirondack chairs and mountain views overlooking the vineyard and into the valley. It’s a beautiful, relaxing setting,” Ford said. “Those who attend the event can get a meal, wine, entertainment and just have a very enjoyable time.”