Official Rules and Regulations for Cooks at the World's Championship,
State, Regional and District Chili Cookoffs
The following rules are to be adhered to by all cookoff chairmen, cooks,
and/or assistants, at all chili cookoffs approved by the International
- True chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind
of meat, or combination of meats, cooked with chili peppers, various
other spices, and other ingredients with the exception of items such
as beans or spaghetti which are strictly forbidden.
- No ingredient may be pre-cooked or treated in any way prior to the
preparation period which will begin approximately one hour prior to
the commencement of the official cookoff. The only exceptions are
canned or bottled tomatoes, tomato sauce, peppers, pepper sauce,
beverages, broth and grinding and/or mixing of spices. Meat may be
pre-cut or ground but not treated in any way. All other ingredients
must be chopped or prepared during the preparation period.
- The cooking period will be a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 4
hours, the exact starting and ending of the cooking period is to be
announced by each local sponsoring organization. Cooking during the
entire cooking period is at the sole discretion of the contestant.
- A representative of the sponsoring organization shall conduct a
contestants meeting, at which time final instructions are to be given
and questions answered, no later than 1 hour prior to the official
starting time of the cookoff.
- Each contestant must be a current member of the International Chili
Society. Contestants are permitted to have a maximum of three
assistants in their cooking area.
- If anyone other than the assistants, who have been identified to the
cookoff chairman prior to the cookoff, assists the contestant, in any
manner whatsoever during the period of time after the contestants
meeting and the end of the cooking period, the contestant shall be
subject to disqualification.
- If a contestant has applied to the ICS for membership, but has not
received their card or number, the cookoff chairman may, at his sole
discretion, permit them to cook. If they have not applied, they must
fill out applications and submit them to the cookoff chairman before
being able to cook. The cookoff chairman must forward such
applications and fees to the ICS.
- Contestants are responsible for supplying all of their own cooking
utensils, etc. The sponsors of the cookoff will provide an area for
each contestant and in some instances stoves and/or electrical
- Contestants are permitted to set up their equipment, decorations and
other facilities anytime after 8:00 A.M. on the day of the cookoff.
- Each contestant must cook a minimum of two quarts of chili.
Contestants are permitted to prepare only 1 pot of competition chili
which may be submitted for judging. If they desire to prepare
additional pots, for public tasting, such pots must contain beans or
- Each contestant will be assigned a contestant's number by the Chief
Scorekeeper and be given a container in which their chili will be
collected at the time of the official judging. Each contestant should
verify that the number on the bottom of their container is the same as
their contestant's number assigned to them by the Chief Scorekeeper.
At the option of the Chief Judge each contestant may be required to
cover their number on the bottom of the container with non-transparent
tape prior to giving the bowl to the collector or delivering it to the
- Not more than one quart of each contestant's chili will be collected
at the end of the cooking period for purposes of judging.
- The first place winner's recipe, at the World's Championship Chili
Cookoff, shall become public domain, outside the realm of copyright,
and shall include all ingredients, techniques and methodology used
during the competition.
- Official support team members may not exceed 25 people (of which a
maximum of 10 can be included in the individual contestant's musical
group). More than 25 must be approved by the cookoff Chairman.
- Demonstrations throughout the spectator area are permitted. However,
contestants are asked that their support team respect the visitors and
- All contestants who have special requirements or who plan to arrive by
special vehicle (i.e. decorated cars or trucks, hot air balloons or
parachutes) are asked to notify the sponsors at least three days in
advance so that adequate crowd control procedures may be used.
- The decision of the Judges shall be final.