GET READY to split yer britches on some of the best chili Portland has to offer—at the Portland Mercury Chili Jamboree!
If this is your first rodeo, let’s get you up to speed: Twelve of Portland’s best chefs go head-to-head to come up with their most original chili recipes—and you lucky sumbitches sample ’em all and vote for your favorite! Much whiskey is consumed! Much boot-scoot is boogied!
As always, our good buddies at Nicky USA are providing the victuals, Jim Beam is bringing the good cheer, and White Owl Social Club is sharing the hospitality. And we’ve got the toe-tappin’ Lonesome Billies, who’ll be on hand to make country music great again.
And this year boasts an exciting development: It’s ANYONE’S MATCH! Reigning champ Maya Lovelace of Mae is unable to compete to defend her belt—and while we’re all as broken-hearted as an old hound dog without a bone to have her gone, that means all bets are off for who’ll win!
Luckily, we’ve got just the sweetest bunch of folks coming out, both seasoned vets and new blood alike! Returning this year are Han Ly Hwang and BJ Smith, teaming up all Super Friends-like, to bring us all a little taste of Kim Jong Smokehouse with their “Korean Frito Pie”! You best believe this ain’t your granny’s Frito pie! Meanwhile, Lardo’s babydaddy Rick Gencarelli likes it raw, so he’s bringing us his kimchee-sy “Seoul Dirty Bastard,” made with Korean BBQ pork shoulder, fermented black beans, Gochujang and lime glazed spare rib, and kimchi Velveeta.
Our 2014 champ, Ryan Day of Podnah’s Pit, is planning a “Chipotle Peanut Chili” that we’re sure will get our bellies warmer than a li’l ol’ pile of pussy cats. And Tapalaya’s Anh Luu is bringing us another stunner this year: “Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue Chili,” made with lemongrassy beef brisket that’s savory as all get-out—plus tomatoes, seasonings, and some fresh herbs and bean sprouts!
While we'd planned on welcoming back our inaugural Chili Jam champ—Departure's Gregory Gourdet—he was called away to Departure Denver on emergency business. Shucks! BUT DON'T YOU WORRY: We're delighted that Keith Morris from Coopers Hall will be taking his place! Keith will be serving a "Hungarian Lamb Chili" with crisp polenta, creme fraiche, pickled onion and dill!
We’ve got some new chili queens at the party too, and watch out fellas, ladies are doin’ it for themselves! Mika Paredes of Girls Club PDX is smashing the patriarchy with her “Tex-Mex Chili” with homemade tortillas, crema, and cotija cheese to keep it cool, and homemade escabeche as sharp and colorful as my language after a couple of beers. Hamlet’s Devon Chase is whipping up an “Iberico Chili Roja” because swagger, thy name is woman! And Lincoln’s Jenn Louis will stick it to The Man with her “Beef Belly Shwarma Chili with Pinto Beans.”
Some of our chefs are taking us on a tour of this great nation with their chili. Carlo Lamagna from Clyde Common is giving us big Motown flavor with his Detroit-style “Beef Heart Coney Chili,” served on li’l baby hot dogs and topped with cheese, onions, and yellow mustard! Karl Holl from Let Um Eat is reppin’ the Great Northwest with a “Smoked Padron Pepper Chili” with crispy pork belly and wild mushrooms, plus Amish cornbread studded with cranberries and dribbled with Douglas fir honey butter!
Keeping it classic, Ricky Bella from Bit House Saloon is making a “Black Bean Chili” with beef rib, ground chuck, smoked pork, and roasted poblano. And our host, White Owl Social Club’s Craig Martin, will be serving up bowls of “Elk and Pork Chili,” with black beans and vegetables to keep it all healthy.
All this goodness is yours for the tasting, so come stuff your bean-hole and dance off all that booze at the fourth annual Chili Jamboree—you’ll be happy as a crawdad that you did! HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON
White Owl Social Club
Han ly Hwang & BJ Smith
Kim Jong Smokehouse
Let Um Eat
Girls Club PDX
Bit House Saloon
Podnah’s Pit Barbecue
It’s Good to Be Lonesome with... The Lonesome Billies!
There are as many different types of country music as there are kinds of chili. The Lonesome Billies exist firmly in the whiskey-soaked vein of good-time country that comes out of a youth raised on punk rock and an adulthood spent learning the wisdom of Waylon and Willie.
The Portland-area four-piece released a twangin’ full-length in 2015 called It’s Good to Be Lonesome, but the Lonesome Billies’ ballads and bootkickers are even better suited for a crowded bar, where the booze flows as freely as their charmingly spun tales of drinkin’, lovin’, losin’, and travelin’ the open road. With Clayton McCune and Jeff Gaither slingin’ guitars and Mike and Glen Scheidt holding down the rhythm fort, the Lonesome Billies deliver American country in the proud Pacific Northwest tradition, where plaid and denim are as good as Sunday best, and a good story goes even better with a guitar and a pour of whiskey. NED LANNAMANN