Alcoa firefighters heat it up for United Way

Robin McDaniel
Chili, made the way only firefighters can!

Chili, made the way only firefighters can!

I had the privilege of attending the Chili Lunch presented by the City of Alcoa to benefit United Way. Now while chili is a treat most anytime, and there are probably as many recipes for chili as there are families in any given town, when a firefighter gets in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to just sit back and get ready to enjoy a great meal.

Alcoa Fire Department B Shift certainly has bragging rights for their chili, as far as In the Kitchen is concerned. The two cooks for Alcoa were Capt. Mike Berry and Lt. Thomas Crisp. Word around the department is that Lt. Crisp is “the best” cook in the department.

Preparation for the B Shift chili starts the night before serving time, as 12 hours of cooking goes into their chili. Toppings are left up to individual preference, but the firefighters did add a very special “upgrade” to the chili they made for United Way -- 20 pounds of grilled T-bone steak! You can add a pound of steak meat to this chili recipe if you want to impress your neighbors, but, truthfully, it’s very good without it as well!

This recipe serves 12. Capt. Berry said when they are cooking for a crowd, they just multiply each ingredient by 20!

City of Alcoa Fire Dept. B-Shift Chili

(Served at the United Way Chili Lunch)

2 lbs. ground beef chuck

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 lb of steak, grilled (optional)

3 (15 oz.) cans chili beans, drained

1 (15 oz.) can chili beans in spicy sauce

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with juice

1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon bacon bits

4 cubes beef bouillon

1/4 cup chili powder (or less, family preference)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. hot pepper sauce

1 tsp. each of dried basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and white sugar

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage and cook until evenly browned.

Drain off any excess grease. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, bacon bits and bouillon.

Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt and pepper, cayenne, paprika and sugar and grilled steak.

Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day. Add toppings of your choice.

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