The use of specific meats seems to be a very regional preference. For the most part, the winnners use cubed beef and not ground. However, in certain regions seems you can only win by using ground meat.
I use ground meat for serving the public, but my comp chili uses 1/4" cubed meat....specifically..Tri-Tip.....the top of the sirloin. This meat is about as good as it gets. It will hold up for 3 hours of simmering without falling apart and it tenderizes better than other meats.
Several cooks use sausage, but in reviewing the winners over the past many years, it appears sausage is not used too often. I personally use a pork bone in my pot, but I pull it out before serving. The pro's will tell you not to get too adventuresome with your meats.
The one that I have never seen used by winners is...chocolate!
Finally, many folks think you need to load everything in your chili pot. This simply isn't true! Many recipes are quite simple with very few ingredients. Here is the winner of the 1989 Champion.......
Tarantula Jacks Thundering Herd Buffalo Tail Chili
World Champion 1989
Source: Phil Walter
Submitted By: www.chilicookoff.com
3 lbs cubed beef
2 medium Walla Walla Sweet Onions (chopped fine)
3 large cloves garlic (finely minced)
2 10-oz cans of chicken broth
2 12-oz cans Hunts Tomato Sauce
7 tablespoons Gebhardt Chili Powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Saute beef in skillet. Put beef into your favorite chili pot and simmer with onions and garlic broth for one and a half hours. Keep your hands off and leave the lid on!
Add the Hunts Tomato Sauce, Gebhardt Chili Powder and the ground cumin. Stir.
Fifteen minutes before eatin time, take off the lid and enjoy the aroma of the greatest chili ever to slide into a melmac bowl! Add the Tabasco. Put the lid back on and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Its now ready top serve. Give out the Pepto Bismol samples to all small children and women who wish to eat your chili. Give your empty chili pot to the chili groupies and suggest they use new Dawn Detergent to clean it up. (Its the Official Grease Cutter of the International Chili Society) Comb your hair, straighten your hat and practice being modest before you receive applause OR the Championship Trophy if you are competing in a sanctioned ICS Cookoff. Serve with a cold Budweiser. This will serve 6-8 hungry Varmints.
Pretty basic stuff!