The International Chili Society recognizes four categories for officially sanctioned chili cook offs: red chili, chili verde, salsa and homestyle chili. Judges rate entries on taste, consistency, aroma, color and bite.
The ICS definition of red chili notes that it is any type or combination of meats cooked with red chili peppers, spices and other ingredients with the exception of beans or pasta.
Chili verde's listing states that participants use any kind of meat or combination of meats cooked with green chili peppers, spices and other ingredients, with the exception of beans or pasta. The ICS requires that all salsa submitted is homemade but accepts premade salsa for judging.
The homestyle chili category covers any combination of meat, peppers and ingredients that a cook puts together at the competition.