Firefighters win local chili cook-off


Rebecca Rakowitz

Tuscaloosa firefighters proved this weekend that they can do more than just keep local residents safe: they can also make a mean cup of chili. In a landslide victory, Tuscaloosa Firefighters Local 403 won the 11th annual Great Tuscaloosa Chili Cook-off on Saturday.

The contest, which took place at the University’s Bryant Conference Center, included more than two dozen competitors and a panel of six judges who took blind taste tests of each chili recipe. A score was then calculated based on the taste, texture, consistency, aroma and seasoning of the chili.

Tuscaloosa Firefighters Local 403 received 135 of a possible 150 points, beating the other five finalists to win a $500 prize. Their recipe is the secret recipe of firefighter Jimmy Johnson.

The cook-off supported Tuscaloosa’s Exchange Club, which is a service organization that focuses its efforts on community support, youth education, honoring America and the prevention of child abuse. Chairman Glen Smith said the event brings in almost 1,000 people each year.

Rex Adams, a captain with the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service, told the Tuscaloosa News that Tuscaloosa firefighters enjoy supporting the Exchange Club.

“Once a year, the Exchange Club hands out awards for firefighters of the year, not only for Tuscaloosa, but for Northport and our volunteer departments,” Adams said. “They want to recognize us as firefighters and support us, so it’s our honor to help support them also.”