NEW YORK -- As a volunteer fireman, Garrett Doucette is used to handling a lot of heat, but Tuesday he'll be handling a different kind.

He's one of five finalists for the 2nd Annual America's Best Firehouse Chili Contest. The contest was started by Hormel as a way to honor our country's firefighters. Doucette made the final five after being one of 25 initially selected.

His Creamy Turkey Chili has been a hit at a few local cook-offs in the past few years. Doucette says there's going to be some diverse chili being cooked up in the Big Apple.

"There's chili from Texas that highlight what they're used to. And chili from Rhode Island that have seafood, and then chili from Miami that have things like guavas and plantains. So it's really different based on where you're making it."

Doucette will be graded on three things: creativity, flavor, and the story behind the chili.

He started honing his recipe at the Kinship Fundraiser in Little Falls four years ago. Doucette says he figured himself for an underdog in the competition. But after a few wins, he felt he could go for a national contest.

"Didn't think I really had a chance to win [the first time], but it was really fun. And as the night went on and I didn't hear my name I thought -- oh well, this was fun -- but then they picked us for first -- I thought holy cow this is cool -- so then I did the second year and the third year, and won three years in a row. So that told me, enough people like my chili that I can give this [the New York contest] a try."

He says all the turkey he uses -- except for the national contest -- are all homegrown, as he's a third generation turkey farmer. If Doucette wins in New York, the Upsala Fire Department will get $10,000 courtesy of Hormel. They'll also be donating $20,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation as part of the contest.

Doucette says he's excited to bring some attention to his hometown and his fire department. He also wants to thank everyone back in the Upsala Fire Department for the support they've given him.

Creamy Turkey Chili Recipe:

  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless turkey breast cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 cans of chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


Heat oil in a large pan and saute the turkey, onion and garlic powder to 165 degrees. Add beans, broth, chiles, salt, cumin, oregano, peppers and cayenne. Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for a half hour. Remove from heat and stir in sour and whipping cream.

More From AM 1240 WJON