Gus smokes competition at Mr Chilli Chilli Beef Jerky Comp
GUS HOSEMANN never thought his love of chilli would win him a big shiny trophy.
But last month the Zilzie retiree took home first prize from the Mr Chilli Chilli Beef Jerky Competition in New South Wales, taking out his fiery competition in the smoked chilli category.
The Mr Chilli Awards 2015 had chilli lovers from all over Australia and New Zealand put their best chilli jerky to the taste test with more than 50 entries in this year's competition.
Gus, 62, said this was his first ever chilli competition.
"I've always loved chilli and I started making chilli sauce for my friends and family," he said.
"I've been selling the chilli sauce at the local markets for a while now but have just recently started to sell the jerky and it's been going off, which is great. An old neighbour showed me how to make jerky about 18 months ago; it was just something I wanted to try.
"People were telling me it was the best jerky they had eaten and it was becoming really popular at the markets so I thought I'd try my luck at the competition. I heard about the Mr Chilli competition and entered not thinking I would even get a place, I would have been happy with just a mention.
"I couldn't believe it when I'd won my category; I had a smile from ear to ear. I haven't won a trophy since I was 19 in my old boxing days so it was really exciting."
Gus said his secret weapon that got him the win was how he smoked his jerky.
"I was told by the competition organiser that my chilli was up there with the best but that the judges couldn't get over my smoked chilli one," he said.
"I put the marinated jerky in the smoker then hydrate them for about 15 hours. I find myself making jerky every couple of days to keep up with the orders I've been receiving. I've got the chilli sauce awards coming up in October so I'll be focusing on that in the next couple of months too."
Gus will be competing in The Chilli Festival on Saturday, June 26, at Yeppoon Showgrounds and attends the Emu Park markets.