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The sold-out crowd at the 2019 Chili Cook-Off. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wagner)

Spice up your Sunday afternoon!

Head to Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. (42155 Main Road, Peconic) on Feb. 4 to put your tasting skills to the test during the 6th Annual North Fork Chili Cook-Off. 

From noon to 4 p.m., the Peconic location of the brewery will celebrate several eateries from across the North Fork as they go head-to-head with their chili recipes. Last year’s reigning champs, Ellen’s on Front, will defend their title from other North Fork heavyweights like Alpina, Little Creek Oysters, Lucharitos, Little Fish, Port and newcomer Biggie’s, all gearing up to put their chili recipes to the test. Chefs are welcome to use their own spices, beans and other ingredients, but there is one big rule: at least one variety of Greenport Harbor beer must be in the mix.

Returning champions Andrew and Jennie Werts from Ellen’s on Front.(Times Review Media photo)

“It’s a great chance for all of us to get together, have fun and expose people to all the delicious food that’s available out here,” says Betsy Liegey, co-owner of the brewery. “We want to give exposure and celebrate all of the incredibly supportive restaurants who support us throughout the entire year.”

During previous Chili Cook-Offs at Greenport Harbor Brewery, two competitions have occurred simultaneously: one between professional chefs and one between home cooks. In a new twist this year, six local fire departments, from Riverhead to East Marion, have been invited to join the competition.

“As a former graduate of the Cordon Bleu de Paris, cooking has always been a passion of mine,” says Albie DeKerillis in a press release, first assistant chief of the Greenport Fire Department and 30-year member of Standard Hose Company. “While I can put together some great meals and delicious pastries, I’ve not yet tried my hand at making a killer chili. So I am really excited for this year’s First Responders’ Trophy Competition.” 

During both amateur and pro competitions, participants will compete for top honors in two distinct categories: the Judge’s Choice Award, which is judged by a panel of industry experts, and the People’s Choice Award, determined by event attendees.

Head brewer Greg Doroski with a home chef at last year’s Cook-Off. (Photo courtesy of Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.)

This year’s panel of esteemed judges features lead bartender of GHBC and Cook-Off champion Leanne Weber; Sarah Mastrocco, a food television producer; Luchi Masliah, chef and proprietor of Goodfood; Chris Kar, head chef of the Dimon Estate; and Ryan Hardy, chef, founder and CEO of the Delicious Hospitality Group.  

Alongside the Cook-Off, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. will spice up the event with the premier of the new Hot Sauce IPA, which is brewed with locally grown Thai Bird chilis and lime to produce an earthy yet citrusy IPA with a hint of caramel.

“We brewed it as a regular IPA but we have to get the perfect balance of beer to spice so it’s not overwhelming — as Thai Bird chili peppers are pretty potent,” notes brewer Sean Galligan, who is brewing this batch for the first time. “It pairs super well with all kinds of chilis.”

Tickets are $25 (plus tax and fees), and include entry into the event plus all the chili your heart desires, and are available here. A wide variety of other craft beers, local wines and canned cocktails will also be available for additional purchase throughout the event. Get your tickets early — this event always sells out!