“It’s the first time the judges have shown good taste!” bellowed Wick Fowler upon being declared the World Champion of Chili at the big Terlingua shootout in November of 1970. Continue Reading
I’m not sure what connection Myrtle Beach has to the world of competitive chili.
My father was a firefighter and a chili cook of uncommon valor and I know that men in that field take their chili very seriously. A gang of burly, hairy men sitting around a firehouse watching boxing on TV and cooking mammoth kettles of chili has long been a trope of American life.
Are you a firefighter who takes a lot of pride in their chili? Inquire here
At the dawn of the roaring twenties, Wick and his group of playmates contented themselves the way many small-town Texas boys did. When they weren’t in school they spent their days fishing, playing marbles and hunting small game. Victoria, where Wick grew up, had less than 6,000 residents. Continue Reading
There will never be another man like Wick.
“The Great Chili Confrontation” was born on the 21st of October, 1967 when a few hundred chili fanatics met on the proving grounds of Terlingua, Texas to settle who the greatest chili cook of the day was.
Wick Fowler strode into battle vs northern humorist H.Allen Smith.
The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated were on hand to cover the affair.
The shootout ended in a draw but Fowler would finally taste victory in 1970. The greatest chili cook of a generation could finally wear the crown.
Just a year and a half later Wick Fowler passed away at age 63.
His legacy is enormous and you can walk into any grocery store in the US today and pick up a packet of his Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit.
It will fully-power that big cook pot that lives on the back of your range.
Texas Red to be precise.
I retired undefeated from the Texas chili wars over a decade ago. Back in the 90s, well before Top Chef became a thing, I organized a series of cooking competitions called Texas Top Cook. I would visit the best restaurants in Austin with an open letter to the cooks in the kitchen.
The letter was a challenge to show up on my French Place proving grounds to compete over big iron pots in my backyard. We’d have 5-10 cooks competing in a variety of fields but the big ones were always concerning chili.
I never got beat in chili but I did taste bitter defeat in a casserole competition (the girl who won eventually admitted that she cheated, and stuffed the ballot box.)
Would you like to learn how to make Texas Red, the ne plus ultra of all chili?