Phoenix Firefighter Takes Top Honors, Wins $10,000 in National Five-Alarm Hormel Chili Cook-Off

AUSTIN, Minn. Oct. 14, 2004

Five firefighters, who are respected by their peers for both their competitive spirits and chili-making skills, participated in the second annual National Five-Alarm Hormel(R) Chili Cook-Off at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., today.

Firefighter John Nettles, Jr. of fire station no. 42 in Phoenix, took top honors, winning $10,000 for his fire station with his "Big John's Firehouse Chili" recipe.

"The competition was stiff, because all of these firefighters are known for making great chili," said Nettles. "All of these unique recipes from my colleagues around the country were top-notch. I enjoyed the cook-off and am thrilled to have won. The $10,000 prize will be put to good use at my fire station."

The other four competing firefighters, who won local Five-Alarm Hormel(R) Chili Cook-Off events in their hometowns over the summer, were:

-- Dwayne Blackamore, Chicago, "Blackamore's Smoked Chipotle Firehouse Chili"

-- Rett Blankenship, Dallas, "Old 11's Code Red Chili"

-- Brian Botham, Twin Cities (Wayzata), "Recreation Point Chili"

-- Kevin Harrell, New Orleans, "Engine #1 Chili"

The chili recipes, which were required to contain one or more cans of Hormel(R) chili, were evaluated in a blind taste test by a panel of four judges comprised of:

-- Jason Yamamoto, St. Paul firefighter, national winner of the 2003 Five-Alarm Hormel(R) Chili Cook-Off

-- Mark Haugen, executive chef and co-owner of Tejas Restaurant in Edina, Minn.

-- Seth Daugherty, executive chef of Cosmos at Le Meridien, Minneapolis, Minn.

-- Belinda Jensen, co-host of KARE 11 News Saturday

Following is Nettles' winning recipe:

Big John's Firehouse Chili

2 1/2 pounds "mock tender" beef
1 can (15 ounces) Hormel(R) Chili No Beans
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans (optional)
1 can (16 ounces) red chili beans (optional)
2 cans (3.5-4 ounces) chipotle (roasted jalapenos)

1 can (8 ounces) beef broth
1 can (8 ounces) chicken broth
1 can (64 ounces) V8

1 tablespoon oil (Crisco)
7 tablespoons chili powders (misc. types)
3 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 bottle (16 ounces) spring water

1 medium yellow onion (for garnish)
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (for garnish)
1 can whole large jalapenos (for garnish)
1 bunch fresh cilantro (for garnish)
2 fresh tomatoes (for garnish)


Grind and brown meat with 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1/2 cup diced onion, salt, brown sugar, onion powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, white pepper, granulated garlic, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika. After browning add broth. Simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.

Next add V8, smashed pinto and red chili beans, Hormel(R) Chili, cumin, additional paprika and cook down 30 more minutes. Add spring water and additional smashed beans to thicken as needed.

During the last 5 minutes, let stand with no heat. Serve topped with chopped onions, grated cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and jalapeno garnish.

All chili recipes from the national Five-Alarm Hormel(R) Chili Cook-off can be found at