When it comes to serving up the best chili in town there was some fierce competition in downtown Wadena Thursday, Sept. 26, during the annual Wadena Chamber of Commerce sponsored Chili Cook-off.
Coming out on top of 13 competing businesses was the chili from Wadena VFW Post 3922, cooked by bartender PJ Neurer. Serving up that chili was VFW general manager Cody Boyer.
Neurer said their chili came in second last year, so he tweaked things just slightly this year, which paid off with the traveling trophy. While Neurer was not willing to part with the award winning recipe, he said what's important in the red sauce chili was time.
"It cooked for 17 hours," Neurer said.
He added the recipe has been through many deer camps as it's an old recipe. He said ingredients may be similar to others, but they are all fresh in his chili. The staff on hand at the VFW, didn't make adjustments, but were able to check the progress and make sure all was well when Neurer couldn't be there to check in on it himself.
Neurer said he made 70 pounds of the chili, enough to feed folks on the street for free during the event and serve up a steaming bowlful to hungry guests at the VFW.
While Neurer's not-so-spicy chili came out on top, others were also strong vote-getters. In second out of the 214 votes cast was Wadena County Ag Society, served by Kylene Lehmann. That chili had a ghoulish theme and included a garnish of ogre toenails (corn chips). In third was chili served by Tami Mench of The Meadows of Wadena. The Meadows came out on top during last year's competition.