State Fair Hosts Centennial Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge

12 local restaurants to compete for title of Best Green Chile Cheeseburger in NM

The 2012 New Mexico State Fair, in association with the New Mexico Department of Tourism and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture will host the statewide Centennial Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge at the State Fair tomorrow, Tuesday, September 18th on the north end of Main Street (north of Heritage Avenue) and in the Agriculture Building Courtyard, where judging will take place. The cooking begins at approximately 4:15 p.m., with judging to take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. The winner of the contest will be announced by Governor Susana Martinez at approximately 5:45 p.m. Governor Martinez will also give a welcome address at the beginning of the judging period.

The Fair hosted the inaugural contest in 2009 after the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico garnered the state national attention on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” In the episode, which aired in late July of 2009, Buckhorn owner Bobbie Olguin defeated host Bobby Flay in the battle for the best green chile cheeseburger and had viewers all over the country craving a bite of one of New Mexico’s culinary treasures.

“There’s nothing like a little fun and friendly competition to showcase the best from around New Mexico, especially when it comes to unique culinary treasures like the green chile cheeseburger,” said New Mexico State Fair General Manager Dan Mourning. “We’ve got 12 strong competitors from all across the state vying for the title, cooking up one of the foods that literally puts New Mexico on the national culinary map. And with the Centennial celebration in full-swing, this Challenge is going to be very special.”

Contestants include: Ancient Way Café (Ramah), Burger Boy (Cedar Crest), Pasion Latin Fusion (Albuquerque), Sparky Burgers (Hatch), De La Vega’s Pecan Grill & Brewery (Las Cruces), Taco Box (Clovis), Cowgirl BBQ (Santa Fe) Rockin ‘BZ Burgers (Alamogordo), El Bruno’s (Albuquerque), Mac’s Steak in the Rough (Albuquerque), Plaza Café Southside (Santa Fe), Badlands Burgers & Tortas (Grants)

This year’s judges are Cheryl Alters Jamison, widely considered to be “America’s Outdoor Cooking Expert”; Dennis Hogan, who is New Mexico’s foremost foodservice marketing specialist for the Department of Agriculture; James Ditmore, the extremely passionate New Mexico chile connoisseur (currently working on his Ph. D in genetics) responsible for reintroducing the original seeds from Seed Bank of NM 6-4, Big Jim and Sandian varieties of chile; Monique Jacobson, Cabinet Secretary of the new Mexico Department of Tourism; and Steven Michael Quesada, “Gomez” of the hit and Emmy award-winning series filmed primarily in New Mexico, “Breaking Bad.”

The winner of the Centennial Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge will receive a special plaque and automatic entry into the New Mexico Tourism Department’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.

Complete rules can be found online at:

*Participation was limited to 12 established, currently operating restaurants that are located and paying taxes in New Mexico.  In the event of more than 12 entrants, a drawing by lot will determine the contestants.