If you are without a chili recipe for the upcoming 2012 chili cook-offs, here are the basic chili recipe variations with which to experiment to make your own unique chili:
Meat (variations change the basic character of the Chili):
Chuck, Sirloin, or Rump Roast (slow cooked and shredded with a fork or cut into small cubes)
Onions and Tomatoes (variations change the texture, consistency and flavor):
Fresh chopped (adds texture and moisture)
Sauce (adds moisture and helps blend flavors)
Paste (Good to use if you are not going to use a thickener)
Stewed (Adds texture, little moister)
Onions (can provide a distinctiveness to your chili, depending on type of onion used, how finely chopped, cooked or raw when added to the pot)
Chili (either powder or dried red chili peppers finely chopped)
Garlic (Fresh, powder, chopped in a store bought jar can change consistency and aroma)
Cumin (Helps blend the different flavors while adding a muted flavor of its own)
Salt (Use, not use, sea salt, kosher, or standard table)
Very small amounts of parsley, oregano, basil, green chilis can be used to tweak the overall flavor and aroma.
Fresh habenero, jalapeno, tobasco or habanero sauce can be used to set the level of your 0-5 alarm chili.
Beer (helps bring down an accidently overspiced pot)
Thickeners: Corn starch, corn flour, (crunched up taco shells can even be used).
Beans (If you really want to upset chili traditionalists but make vegetarians happy)