2003 -Bronco Bob's Chili

byBob Wetzel


For 30 years, wilderness guide Bob Wetzel (of Manhattan, Montana) led hunters, fishermen and horseback riders through the wilds of Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone Park. In 2003, Bob blazed a trail straight to the pinnacle of success in the world of competition chili. Getting into the chili cook-off world wasn’t all that easy in Montana since the state had no cook-off of its own at the time. Wetzel first entered a competition in 1997 at the urging of his wife Darol, a longtime competition cook. She recently added ICS events to her regular competition rounds and encouraged her husband to cook a pot of his own! The Wetzel’s became among the most determined of chili cooks, driving a minimum of six hours to put their chili up against other cooks. The efforts between the two of them definitely paid off, winning State Championships in seven states and in Canada, and repeatedly qualifying for the ICS WCCC.


1 cup onion, chopped
1 canned green Hatch chile, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup El Pato tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can chicken broth
8 tablespoons California chili powder, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Accent, divided
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

2 1/2 pounds Tri Tip beef, cubed
4 ounces pork sausage

2 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
3 tablespoons of cumin, cumin

1 tablespoon hot New Mexico chili powder
2 teaspoons of lime juice


In chili pot, combine onion, green chili, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, 6 tablespoons California chili powder, salt, 1 teaspoon Accent, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a simmer.

Cook 1 hour.

Brown beef and sausage and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of California chili powder to the chili pot.

Add the beef and sausage. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth as needed.

Add the New Mexico chili powder and 2 tablespoons cumin to the chili pot and simmer another 45 minutes.

Add the remaining Accent, cumin, hot chili powder and lime juice to chili pot.

Cook for 30 minutes, adding chicken broth as needed.

Salt to taste.

*Winner Bob Wetzel orders his spices from Sespe Creek Chili Potters, run by former ICS champion Jim Beaty. Spices from Penderys, Gebhardt, or your favorite manufacturer can be substituted. Bob also adds 1/2 of a boneless pork chop to the chili pot while simmering and removes its 30 minutes before it's finished.