Home to the State Championship CASI Chili Cook-Off

For nearly three decades, Chilimania has had the honor of being an official Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) event, simultaneously hosting a CASI-sanctioned chili grind cook-off and a traditional (open) chili cook-off.

Passionate chili cookers throughout the Midwest, and as from far as Texas, make the journey to Edgerton to cook up their secret recipes and compete for top prizes in both categories.

All divisions of the Chilimania Cook-Off are open to all, from beginners to the pros!

Cooks may enter either contest, or both, for one $20 entry fee. The Chilimania grounds open to cooks at 7AM, with a cook’s meeting at 10AM. At least one cook from each booth must attend the cook’s meeting. Any cooks not on the grounds by 10AM will have to pay admission at the gate.

A salsa contest is held from noon to 1PM. Registered cooks are welcome to bring their homemade salsa and chips for judging by a select panel of judges and Chilimania attendees. Cooks also are encouraged to provide chips and salsa samples for a public tasting.

Chili Contest Rules

  1. Each contestant is encouraged to prepare three gallons (or more) of chili. Remember, we lowered the registration fee for this purpose. (Two gallon minimum.)
  2. All contestants are REQUIRED to bring their own ingredients, tables, cooking source and supplies. Electricity will not be available.
  3. All ingredients must come to the contest unprepared. Use of home canned meats will not be allowed. Competition chili must be cooked from scratch (starting with raw meat).
  4. For CASI contestants: CASI judging will be a ‘CHILI GRIND’, allowing for ground meat only. Commercial chili powder is permissible, but complete commercial chili mixes that contain several pre-measured spices, are NOT permitted. There will be no fillers in the chili, i.e. beans, macaroni, rice, etc.
  5. Any ingredients needing to be kept cool must arrive at the contest in coolers and be kept cool until used.
  6. One chili per cook, per competition. You can compete in both CASI and traditional.
  7. You may have to taste your own chili. All chili cooks may be required, at the discretion of the Referee or Head judge, to remove the lid from the chili cup and eat a spoonful of their own chili before turning it in for judging. If the contestant refuses, the chili will be automatically disqualified.
  8. Contestants are encouraged to decorate their area in a “theme”, but are not required to do so.
  9. Cook-off participants are forbidden from selling any type of products from their cook-off booth without written consent from Chilimania, Inc.
  10. Per our liquor license with the City of Edgerton, Chilimania cooks are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages to the general public. Also, please keep in mind that Chilimania is a family event. We want you to have fun, but obvious public intoxication or lewdness will be frowned upon.

Salsa Contest Rules

Judging of your homemade salsa will take place under the judging tent. A cash prize is available for the first-place salsa.

  1. Each contestant must submit one pint (2 cups, 16 oz.) of salsa for judging.
  2. All salsa must be homemade; it may be canned or fresh.
  3. Safe food handling processes must be followed.
  4. One entry per registered chili cook.
  5. Salsa will be judged based on appearance, color, aroma, taste, and aftertaste.
  6. Although not required, you are encouraged to provide salsa and chips for public tasting (Noon-1PM).

Cook-Off Schedule

  • 7AM  Site opens, set up, registration
  • 10AM   MANDATORY COOKS MEETING – under judging tent
  • 11:45AM   Salsa turn-in time for judging – cup with blue tape
  • Noon-1PM   CASI Showmanship judging
  • 1:30PM   CASI turn-in time for judging- cup with white tape
  • 2:30PM   Traditional turn-in time for judging- cup with red tape
  • 3PM   Public Tasting Time – procedures noted above
  • 5:15PM   Winner of all categories (CASI, Showmanship, Traditional, Salsa, People’s Choice) announced from Main Stage
  • 7:30PM   Cooks’ area should be vacated and clean up complete

Judging Criteria


  • Color: Reddish, reddish-brown or brown are OK. Excessive grease mars appearance and taste.
  • Aroma: Chili should not smell burnt or unpleasant.
  • Taste: A really good taste will stand out.
  • Consistency: Chili should be a GOOD MEAT AND GRAVY combination. Meat should be tender but not broken down.
  • Aftertaste: Residual taste should be PLEASANT and AFTER-BITE may also be present. The absence, presence or level of bite is a matter of personal preference.

Public Tasting

Public tasting of the cooks’ chili is one of the most popular events at Chilimania. Please note the procedure:

  • At 3 p.m., sampler cup baggies (containing a small sample cup, spoon and ballot) will be handed out. As the public obtains their sample cups, public tasting begins. Cooks will ladle out small samples of chili into the individual sampler cups as the crowd moves from booth to booth.
  • The public will be able to vote for their favorite chili by marking the booth number on the ballot included in their packet and placing the ballot in a bin located on the main stage. Counting of the ballots is how the People’s Choice is awarded.
  • We use red flags on the individual booths to indicate the availability of chili for public tasting. When you run out of chili, please take down your flag.
  • Cooks are asked to have a Scholarship Fund donation bucket at their booth. Donations made to these buckets will have no effect on the People’s Choice award. However, since Chilimania is about raising funds for scholarships, any help you can give us in obtaining donations is appreciated.
    • A $50 gift card will be awarded to the booth that collects the most money for our scholarship fund.

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