North Routt holds annual chili cook off |

North Routt holds annual chili cook off

Chili awaits a hungry stomach Sunday during the annual Great North Routt Chili Cook Off at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.
Austin Colbert

2016 North Routt Chili Cook Off winners

Red Chili

  1. Jeff Fegelein
  2. B.J. Vale
  3. Dan Bubenheim

Green Chili

  1. Jon Davenport/Matt Molenar
  2. Jeff Fegelein
  3. Alex Mathisen


  1. Karmen Lillard, chicken corn chili
  2. Stephanie Muhlbauer, Italian bowtie
  3. Barbara Birdsall, Ward's Pazole


  1. Dan Bubenheim, white chocolate bread pudding
  2. Dan Bubenheim, Elk River carrot cake
  3. Alex Mathisen, Mom's apple cake

— Jeff Fegelein is a brave man to poke fun at the Texas way. The New Jersey native and longtime Routt County resident’s now award-winning red chili goes by the name “Mess with Texas,” which is more about the ingredients than an actual grudge involving the Lone Star state.

“It is what I consider a Texas-style chili, with pinto beans and a red chili sauce,” Fegelein said. “But in Texas, they wouldn’t be caught dead without using beef in it. So, mine is with pork. I think that might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Fegelein’s red chili was the people’s choice at the annual Great North Routt Chili Cook Off, held Sunday at Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse near Clark. Contestants entered either a red or green chili — at $10 an entry — and those willing to pay the $15 to eat got to vote on their favorites.

Not only did Fegelein take first in the red chili division, but also his “Colorado Green Chili” was second. This was the first time he had ever entered his chili in a contest.

“It’s exciting. It’s a little embarrassing, but I’m pretty proud of myself for a change,” Fegelein said. “(The red chili) was based on a recipe from an old family friend from way back when I was little. I’ve totally adapted it over the years and kind of made it my own.”

The annual chili cook off is used as a fundraiser for both the North Routt Preschool — Fegelein’s daughter, Jane, is a student there — and the North Routt Fireworks Fund, its primary event being the July 4 fireworks show at Steamboat Lake.

Donating to the event was Bodhi SUP Paddleboards, Aurum Food & Wine, King Soopers, Creekside Café & Grill and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Edging Fegelein in the green chili category was the duo of Matt Molenar and Jon Davenport, both Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse employees. Davenport, the general manager, provides the meat, which includes rabbit and pork, while Molenar, a trained chef, takes care of the rest.

“It’s poblano peppers, Anaheim peppers and jalapeno peppers, and I smoke them in apple wood. Homemade chicken stock,” Molenar said. “There is a lot going on … it took two days to smoke all the chilies.”

There was also an “other” division, won by Karmen Lillard for her chicken corn chili, and a dessert division, won by Dan Bubenheim for his white chocolate bread pudding.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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