Adam Eudy will spend between eight and 12 hours cooking this week. By the end of the week, he will have made seven gallons of chili.
A member of Central Church on Hilton Head Island, Adam is representing the church in the Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island's 28th annual Chili Cookoff from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 13 at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island. The 16-year-old Hilton Head resident did the same thing last year and won first place in the amateur category.
Eudy has a lot of experience in the kitchen. He's been cooking since he was 12 years old and has accomplished a great deal over the past few years.
He is the culinary arts champion for SkillsUSA South Carolina, a nonprofit organization that prepares high school and college students for careers in their fields of choice. He has trained with expert chefs, including Food Network star Robert Irvine. He was the pastry chef for four-star Gen. Robert Cone's Christmas event last year and will do it again this year. And he has cooked with three presidential chefs at a military culinary competition in Fort Lee, Va.
So how does this young chef prepare an award-winning bowl of chili? He won't give away all his secrets but admits the most important ingredient is time.
"Just seal it well, and let it cook by itself," Adam said. "Don't try and rush it. You can do a good chili in two hours, but you can do an excellent chili in five hours."
Adam said he uses shredded beef roast instead of ground beef. And instead of browning the beef, he fries some bacon and pours the drippings over the beef. He add the rest of the ingredients and lets it all cook in the oven for five hours.
As for the bacon, it gets crumbled and sprinkled on top of the chili, along with some cilantro.
"It's different, and that's what I like about it," Adam said.
But he won't take all the credit for his treasured chili recipe. He said he couldn't have done it without his family, who is there to offer constructive criticism.
"You think it tastes fine, but someone else might think, 'Oh, that's a little too salty or a little too hot to handle,'" he said. "So they definitely had a helping hand in making this."
His mom and four siblings also help prepare the chili, which they are making at the church.
"It's just a very versatile dish," Adam said. "It can be sweet, spicy, smoky, salty. There's different beans you can use in it. It's very easy for the common average Joe to work with. You can definitely bring out your personality in a chili bowl."