On Saturday, February 26th, Big Dog Station held the Annual Saint Jack White Chili Cook-Off benefitting Gilda’s Club South Florida. Seven teams went head to head serving their original chili to attendees and trying to earn the most votes for the best homemade, slow-cooked chili.
The Annual Saint Jack White Chili Cook-Off is more than just a chili contest. It is a longstanding Oakland Park event that these teams put their heart and soul into. The event also has a meaningful history behind it.
29 years ago Jack White of Big Dog Station started an annual chili cook-off. After his passing, Big Dog Station continued the beloved tradition by holding an Annual Saint Jack White Chili Cook-Off. While the proceeds originally were used to raise money for hospice care, the proceeds from this year’s event are going to one of the most impactful organizations in the South Florida community: Gilda’s Club South Florida.
Gilda’s Club is a free support group and resource center that helps support those struggling with cancer and their families. Their services include psychosocial support groups, healthy lifestyle workshops, social activities, educational lectures, and community resource information. In 2020 alone, the organization supported over 4000 patients and their families.
A life-size cutout of “Saint Jack” (Jack White) stood near the entrance of the event, and his spirit could be felt throughout the day.
The event kicked off at 11:00 A.M. at Big Dog Station in Downtown Oakland Park. Attendees were able to purchase their serving cup and a ticket for voting for just $1. All teams entering the contest wrapped up their cooking and the chili tasting began!
Many of the teams had won the cook-off in years past. As soon as you saw all of the trophies and awards for previous winnings, you knew you were in for a special treat. Each teams’ chefs were happy to talk about their ventures and get feedback from the attendees. Several teams had been participating in chili cook-offs for 20 or more years.
The teams in the contest didn’t just offer small tastings of the chili either–every team was generous with their servings and made sure all attendees left with their bellies full. The event felt like more than just a chili-tasting and cook off–it felt like an endless homemade chili buffet! With all of the chili tasting so good, it was difficult to pick which team to vote for.
Other vendors were at the event, too. If the chili wasn’t spicy enough for your tasting, Antidote Sauce Co. was there providing free samples and selling bottles of their all-natural, award-winning hot sauces. You could also stop by Ms. V’s Homemades booth to pick up some freshly canned pickles, pineapple jalapeno relish, blackberry preserves, and so much more.
Among the non-food festivities included live music at the bar, creative and comical metal signs for sale, and a booth featuring MELART–a boutique shop selling chic accessories for people and their pets. People’s furry friends were welcome at the cook-off, as well.
Before the cook-off, attendees had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for $20.00 to enter a drawing for a book for $5 Florida Scratch-Offs. The raffle was drawn and the winners were announced in the afternoon.
While each team’s recipe was unique and fantastically delicious, a winner had to be chosen. This year’s winner of the 2022 Annual Saint Jack White Chili Cook-Off was Drunkin Dog Chili. Second and third place were Gutter Chili and Cheeke Squeezers respectively. On People’s Choice category, the winner was OV Chili.
A huge congratulations and thanks to all the teams who participated in serving up some of the best home-cooked chili in South Florida!
Cassidy Webb is a Texas native and South Florida transplant. She grew up just outside of Dallas, TX, and moved to South Florida four years ago. She now considers Fort Lauderdale her home.
Cassidy is the project manager at a small digital marketing company and she enjoys freelance writing on the side. In her free time, you can catch her exploring local parks or taking long walks through the neighborhood with her dog, Bella.