The first chili cook-off known to modern man took place in 1967 in uninhabited Terlingua, Texas (once a thriving mercury-mining town of 5,000 people). It was a two-man cook-off between Texas chili champ Wick Fowler (a Dallas and Denton newspaper reporter) and H. Allen Smith (humorist and author), which ended in a tie.
The cook-off challenge started when H. Allen Smith wrote a story for the Holiday magazine titled Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do, which raised the wrath of Texas chili graduate students. The cook-off competition ended in a tie vote when the tie-breaker judge allowed someone to ram a spoonful of chili into his mouth and promptly spit it all over the referee’s foot and then he went into convulsions. He rammed a handkerchief down his throat and pronounced himself unable to go on and declared a one-year moratorium in the world championship chili cook-off.
Recipe from the book Chili Madness by Jane Butel, published by Workman Publishing, 1980.
Learn about the history and legends of Chili, Chili Con Carne.
H. Allen Smith Chili Con Carne Recipe: