It started out as a challenge a few years back to create the best chili. The perfect blend of spices that would appeal to the masses and catapult the makers to fame on the chili-cookoff circuit. It was definitely a team effort and it finally paid off at a recent charity event when theirs was deemed the winner.  
Their name is "The Heat is On," a reference not so much relating to the spice of their concoctions but to  the fact that the members are officers from the Camden County Sheriff's Department.
The team is five deputies, all with specific skills and talents. Scott Hines and John Stephens' are the chief chili makers with Chris Moehle, Justin Young and Josh Stockton rounding out the team. The winning batch of chili was a combination of two very distinct recipes mixed together. Chili is just one of the dishes the group prepares, they also specialize in grilling and smoking everything standard barbeque fare to smoking fish.
"For the last five years, we have participated in the CADV Chili Cook Off alternating my recipe and John Stephens’ recipe each year, but we never even placed.  So this year, we decided to go for broke and combine our recipes," Hines said. "I made my batch and John made his.  Then we poured them together and let them simmer.  Mine has always been a little on the spicy side (too spicy for many) and John’s has always been a little smoky, so the combination of spice and smoke was the winner this year.  There was some really good chili at the cook-off this year and we were very grateful when the judges chose ours as the winner."
While it was great to win, Hines said the team is about more than coming in first place. And, it's not about the money. After the recent CADV win, the team donated the winnings back to the organization to use. And these guys aren't just a chili team. They take part in a lot of different charity events in the area like golf tournaments, non-profit group fundraisers, and advocacy group fundraisers.
What they are all about is giving back to the community and having some fun while they do it.
Hines has competed in chili cook offs at church and charity events  at the lake for about six years. He got into chili competitions because he loves  good chili and after attending a few competitions, he realized his own chili could give other competitors something to worry about. From there, the others joined in and have been together cooking and grilling for several years.
"Mine was better than any of the ones I had tasted.  For the last five years, we have participated in the CADV Chili Cook Off alternating my recipe and John Stephens’ recipe each year, but we never even placed.  So this year, we decided to go for broke and combine our recipes.  I made my batch and John made his.  Then we poured them together and let them simmer.  Mine has always been a little on the spicy side (too spicy for many) and John’s has always been a little smoky, so the combination of spice and smoke was the winner this year.  There was some really good chili at the cook-off this year and we were very grateful when the judges chose ours as the winner."
There's no secret ingredient to the chili although Hines said he does grow the tomatoes and habanero and jalapeño peppers they use. His suggestions for making a great batch of chili is  find a good readily available chili seasoning mix, and try different amounts of tomatoes, onions, and experiment with using different types meats. Beef, pork sausage, venison and turkey can all make a good pot of chili, he said. all at varying degrees of spicyness.
Hines said they will be back next year to take part in the CADV fundraiser and to defend the title, but not before they compete in some other cook-off events.
The best part about doing these charity events is that we get to help make a difference in our community," Hines said. "Sheriff Franklin is very supportive of our efforts and allows us to use the department’s logo and the grill the Lake Career and Technical Center built for us whenever we compete."
The massive grill was designed, fabricated and welded by students at LCTC.
"We are competing in the Kids’ Harbor 1st Annual Go Blue BBQ Bash on April 1st where  Moehle will put his considerable barbecue skills on display," he said.
Several years ago, Hines came across a 1950s model Coldspot refrigerator and talked to Moehle about making it into a smoker.  Moehle put a lot of time and effort into welding it full of steel plates and the team has used it over the years to smoke chicken, brisket, pork, venison, and fish.
"Whenever we all get together to cook, it's no different than when you or your friends get together. We involve our families (all our children are friends and call us all their uncles and aunts.) We swap stories, drink a beer or two and have fun with it trying different recipes," Hines said. "We do try to get together at the holidays and for major sporting events where we will try different hot wing recipes and of course, there's always a pot of chili on hand."