"My buffalo bacon bourbon ball chili used ground buffalo meat for richness and flavor enhanced with bacon and a bit of bourbon to keep the meat moist and tender. The meat was then formed into mini balls and browned to highlight the use of buffalo meat (and play on the bourbon ball theme). I used only small amounts of pureed whole canned tomatoes and black beans to create a thick, rich dish. I also simmered the meat for two hours to fully tenderize it. Finally, I made homemade chili powder using a combination of toasted dried guajillo chilies, chipotle chilies in adobo, cayenne peppers, sweet and smoked paprika, along with a blend of herbs and spices to round it out."
"I approached the batch with my cooking style of intense flavors. Some of the notable things I did were smoking the bison for 4 hours using peach wood, putting the macaroni noodles in dry to absorb all the flavor (so rather than texture and filler, they became a vehicle of flavor delivery), added brown sugar to knock some of the edge off the acidity and adding half a cup of Buffalo Trace bourbon just before serving."
"Everyone knows that chili is better the next day, so I started the base two days before the cook off. I used a couple of large cans of whole tomatoes, two can of chili hot beans, one can of of dark pinto beans lots of local made Bloemers Chili powder and some of my home grown hot peppers. I used five different cored and deseeded hot peppers so the heat wasn't overwhelming. I browned the two pounds of bison meat and one and a half pounds of local grass fed beef with bourbon smoked salt and pepper from Bourbon Barrel Foods before adding it to the base the second day. I knew it was a good batch when my wife had some that night and didn't tell me to add something."
A dozen talented cooks were each given two pounds of ground buffalo meat and charged with concocting their best chili creation. The ingredients, styles and preparation methods varied greatly, and although each chili was unique, all were delicious. A crowd of one hundred hungry men devoured 24 pounds of ground-up buffaloes and other ingredients, then voted for their favorite chili. Following are the secrets of the top three cooks.
We kicked off 2016 with one hundred men attending our first Buffalo Stampede. We enjoyed a variety of bourbons and other products from Buffalo Trace and twelve pots of buffalo chili.
Photos courtesy of Yono Photographer. Professional promotional models provided by Accent Models Louisville.