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Thank you to everyone who posted your favorite chili ingredients in our Wild Game Chili Secret Ingredient Contest a couple weeks ago. There were lots of great suggestions. Some of them made a lot of sense; others left me scratching my head.

Probably the most insightful comment came from Hil, who rightly suggested the most important chili ingredient is time. I have to agree. Like delivery pizza, chili is definitely better the second day. And even better the third. I don’t know if it gets any better after that, as it never lasts that long in my house.

Readers listed their favorite beer (including root beer!), while others, like rynodaug and db270, gave me inspiration with their addition of Kraft cheese powder and coffee. I also appreciated BWilliams and lbuhman for their suggestions of pumpkin and allspice, both of which I’ve been experimenting with lately in venison dishes.

As for the winners, I decided to pick two: one for the craziest ingredient I’ve ever heard, and the other for the best chili adaptation.

As for the craziest, it was a tough call, especially with hunter6 jumping in with the suggestion of adding peanut butter to chili. That sounds, well, nuts, but not as nutty as smallgamehunter25 who claims he adds a dozen mini marshmallows to his chili pot. I’ll stick with marshmallows in my hot chocolate, thank you.

The most inspired chili has to go to 2Poppa and his Vietnamese Chili. I’ll let you argue amongst yourselves if this is really chili, but it has chilies and meat, so I think it qualifies. The addition of the fish sauce is what put it over the top for me.

Congratulations to smallgamehunter25 and 2Poppa for winning. Please e-mail your addresses to and we’ll get the mortar and pestles sent your way.

Thanks again for everyone who sent in their suggestions. You’ve given me lots of things to think about. And thank you Cabela’s for the great prizes.