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DALLAS — In Texas, there are a few things you just don’t mess with. Our cowboy boots. Our barbecue. And somewhere on that list is our state food, chili!

So it should be obvious that a Dallas fireman is a finalist in the Hormel Foods’ America’s Best Firehouse Chili Contest.

“Over the years the chili has evolved, and I have incorparated different flavors from the great state of Texas,” said firefighter and chili maker, Milton Williams. “I started to incorporate like the different chili powders from Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas. I added the smoke chipotle peppers, and of course a good dark Texas beer.”

Williams, who works in Fire Station 50, created the first trial of his chili about 30 years ago, but his peers weren’t big fans of that recipe.

“My co-workers are very, very, I call them finicky eaters, because firemen want good food. I heard everything from the firefighters calling my chili ‘sweet ketchup,’ to ‘tasty tomato sauce,’ and a few others things I probably wouldn’t want to reveal what they said.”

But, that talk has since changed.

“These days they love it. If it can past the test of firefighters liking my chili I think I’ll do very well in New York.”

Williams and the other four finalist are now going to compete in New York during a live cook off for the chance to win $10,000 for their firehouse.

And instead of putting out flames, this firefighter is ready to bring the heat!

“I feel pretty good. I’ve seen some of the recipes that I’m up against, and I think I have a really chance good to come out on top.