VIDEO: Gus spices things up at the Mr Chilli Awards

IF JUST the thought of spicy food makes your mouth burn, don't invite Gus Hosemann to a dinner party.

Chilli is the spice of life for this Zilzie retiree, so much so that he even took out first prize in the smoked category of the Mr Chilli Chilli Beef Jerky Competition last month.

The Mr Chilli Awards 2015 had chilli lovers from all over Australia and New Zealand put their best chilli jerky to the test, with more than 50 entries in this year's competition.

It was the first-ever chilli competition for Gus, 62, who started off making chilli sauce for his friends and family.

"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," he said.

"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."

Gus said he didn't expect to get a place, let alone win, and he said it was the first trophy he'd won since his old boxing days when he was 19.

Gus said his secret weapon 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.

Gus puts the marinated jerky in the smoker and hydrates it for about 15 hours, and finds himself making jerky every couple of days to keep up with orders he's been receiving.

But for the next few months he'll be focusing on his chilli sauce, with the awards for that being held in October.



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