The Great Miller Light Chili and BBQ Cook-off is an annual event held in Atlanta. For years it was held at Stone Mountain, but in 2013 it moved to Georgia International Horse Park and grew even larger, adding in a BBQ category. It is the largest Chili Cook-off in the Atlanta area, drawing over 300 chili cooks and 14,000 hungry chili tasters for an outdoor festival each fall.
Attending the Chili and BBQ Cook-off:
The 2013 Great Miller Light Chili and BBQ Cook-off will take place on October 5, with gates opening at 10 a.m.. While 10 a.m. may seem a little early to start eating chili, you’ll want to arrive on time because the chili goes fast. If you want sample all of the chilis - especially the popular teams that return every year, you should plan to arrive by noon. Chili is served on a first come, first served basis and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Participants cook up chili, brunswick stew and cornbread. This year you'll also get to sample delicious BBQ from amateur pitmasters.
One of the most entertaining parts of the event is the “showmanship,” or the themes created for each booth. From pirates to potty humor, these chili contestants put on a show! There is also an award category for showmanship.
Admission to the event is $10. Children under 12 are free. Tickets are sold on site (cash only, ATMs available) and cannot be purchased in advance. Admission includes festival and all food samples. Other food and beverages (including alcoholic beverages) are available for purchase at the event.
In addition to the chili tasting, there is live music with some popular cover bands and tribute bands including The Geeks (a great party rock band, Revival (An Allman Brothers Band Experience), Wholigans (The Who tribute band), and 7 Bridges (The Ultimate Eagles Experience) There are also fun contests throughout the day like a mullet flop and a jalapeno eating contest (yikes!).
Cooking in the Chili Cook-off:
Participating in the Chili and BBQ Cook-off is serious business, but it’s open to all levels of cooks. One thing you should know is that (unlike some smaller cook-offs) all chili must be cooked from scratch on-site and cooks must provide their own equipment. Pre-cooked ingredients and commercial chili mixes are not allowed. This means bringing in fire, burners, generators or whatever tools you’ll need to power up your spot in the field. It is also the custom that chili teams camp overnight in the park on Friday night so that you can get up bright and early on Saturday and start cooking.