By Janee Law
The weather might have been cold, but the chili was hot on Sunday at The Lark Pub & Grub. The East Northport pub hosted its fourth annual chili cook-off, raising over $4,000 for The League for Animal Protection of Huntington.
“The weather had a huge impact on everybody, but we still had around 350 people come through, and it was still a good day,” said Tim Kelly, owner of the pub. “Everyone was smiling and having a good time.”
A total of 37 contestants prepared their recipes for the cook-off, with traditional beef and bean chili recipes dominating the podium.
Winning first place, and a new Samsung Galaxy tablet, was Ed Kress, of Lindenhurst. Taking second place, and a three-keg, was Marc Raguso, of East Northport. In third place, and winning a $50 gift card to The Lark Pub & Grub, was Derek Tardugno.
Those who attended the event cast their votes for a “Fan Favorite,” which was prepared by Dave Anderson, of East Northport. He calls his recipe “Sweet Heat.”
“My chili is with steak, all homegrown chili peppers that I roasted dry, and I have a corn bread jalapeno crust with a honey glaze. And the honey is from my beehives,” said Anderson, who also won a Samsung Galaxy tablet. “It’s sweet at the beginning and then it has a nice afterburn.”
There were other fan favorites as well, including “Corned Beef Chili” prepared by Hayden and Bella Clasper of East Northport and “Lil BBQ: sum’n sum’n,” prepared by Dylan Latchford, of East Northport.
Two of the tasters at this year’s event were Susan and John Glasser, of South Huntington, who tasted 10 different chili recipes. The couple said their favorite was the “Corned Beef Chili,” which Susan said “had a different taste” and “a great texture.”
While East Northport resident Bonnie Kenney also voted for the “Corned Beef Chili,” her husband, Brian, voted for the “Lil BBQ: sum’n sum’n,” adding that the chili “had a lot of good flavors going on there and good corn bread with it too.”
In preparing the “Lil BBQ: sum’n sum’n,” Latchford said he goes “with more of a BBQ a sweet chili so it’s not as spicy and it’s a little reprieve from some of the hot ones that are here.”
He continued, “I smoked all my meat so I do top sirloin and pork mixed with a bunch of grilled vegetables. Everything goes on the BBQ grill except the meat. That was my one change this year.”
Latchford, who took home first place in last year’s contest, applauded The Lark for hosting the annual event.
“It’s awesome that we can get everybody out here and involved to donate money for the shelter,” he said. The League for Animal Protection of Huntington, which operates the Grateful Paw Cat Shelter at 104 Deposit Road in East Northport.
“Every year, it gets bigger and better,” said Debbi Larkin, president of The League for Animal Protection. “We’re very thankful for Tim and the rest of the Lark crew for allowing us to do this.”