Rodeo Uncorked! 2014 is almost here! On Sunday, February 23, 2014, thousands will make their way to Reliant Center to take part in a wine and food extravaganza. Specifically, guests will be able to sample top wines from the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition and delicious eats during the Best Bites Competition. We enjoyed the event so much last year that we wanted to get a head start. Houston’s best come out to show and prove (the contest is super competitive and quite impressive) so we wanted to see what they had up their sleeves for 2014.

Chef Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Steakhouse

You seem to win every competition you enter Ronnie; and you are a repeat past winner of the Rodeo Uncorked Best Bites Competition. What do you do to prepare for these competitions?  I really don’t prepare in advance. I have an idea but don’t really wrap my head around it until a couple of days before the event. Things change. Ingredient availability changes.

When planning, is your strategy to stick with what works, create something new, or further enhance/develop on an existing dish (even though we loved the Barbecue Short Ribs from Killen’s BBB last year)? I will do something that’s going to be indicative of the event, something I feel will appeal to the audience. For example, barbecue short ribs at the rodeo. At the Go Pig or Go Home chef throw down our Sous Vide Pork Belly with Cherry Tamarind Glazed Barbecued Ribs, Pork Tamales and Maple Bacon Dippin Dots showed layers of depth in cooking with smoke.

What do you feel sets you apart from the other contestants and do you think that owning both a BBQ restaurant and a steakhouse offer you an advantage? I’m the only chef to win in every Best Bites category – Popular Choice, Entree and Dessert. I’m not in it for practice. I’m very competitive. Some of the contestants are there for the party, but I’m out to beat them. I’m there to win.

Chef Killen shares his recipe for turkey chili below. Perfect for the cooler winter nights. Enjoy!

Black Bean Turkey Chili


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground turkey (white meat only)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 corn tortillas


1. In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat, until white throughout, 4 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, chile powders and the cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 45 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, light a grill or heat a grill pan. Grill the tortillas over moderate heat until soft, 30 seconds per side; wrap in a towel.
3. Season the chili with salt and pepper and serve with the grilled tortillas.

MAKE AHEAD: The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.
NOTES: One Serving 460 cal, 46 gm carb, 16 gm fat, 3.1 gm sat fat, 36 gm protein, 12 gm fiber.
SERVE WITH: Low-fat sour cream.
SUGGESTED PAIRING: Juicy, not-too-tannic Montepulciano is a good fit for tomatoey dishes.

To learn more about Rodeo Uncorked! and what is planned for 2014, click here.

To learn more about Chef Ronnie Killen or Killen’s Steakhouse, click here.

The Urban Swank Girls


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