Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and… pig candy?

Cooking has always been something Jim Griego has enjoyed, but it hasn’t always been his job. These days, he is the Executive Chef at Isotopes Park, the 13,500-seat baseball stadium that is home to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the city’s minor league team.

“Cooking is a midlife crisis for me,” Chef Jim said.

After his previous employer went out of business, he decided it was time to jump into culinary school. He attended Central New Mexico Community College, and after graduation, worked at a few restaurants. But, there was a different thought in the back of his mind.

“Growing up here, I always thought it would be so cool to work at a baseball field and get to cook for a baseball field,” Chef Jim said.

Two and a half years ago, that thought became reality. This year is Chef Jim’s third season as the Executive Chef at Isotopes Park, and he’s already made a big impact.

Albuquerque Isotopes Executive Chef Jim Griego scoops some pig candy from a large mixing bowl into a baseball helmet cup.

Last year, Chef Jim launched his beloved pig candy, fried pork ends tossed in maple syrup, red chile flakes and brown sugar.

“You have [pig candy] and a cold beer, and you sit and watch a baseball game…I don’t know how much better life can get,” he said.

Pig candy has become Chef Jim’s signature dish, and served as the inspiration for a new food menu item this year, the piggy burger. It’s a typical burger with a patty, lettuce, onion and tomato, topped with pig candy.

“I really want to be famous for my pig candy, so I’m going to keep building off of pig candy as I go through my career here,” Chef Jim said. 

The piggy burger isn’t the only new menu item this season. The El Fuego sandwich combines beef brisket burnt ends in a Brazilian barbecue sauce with green chile mac and cheese, breaded jalapeno strips and pickled red onion all on a green chile cheese bagel. Vegetarians will also have a new option – the vegetarian fusion bowl, made with plant-based pork and a medley of vegetables served on top of rice.

@visitalbuquerque Which dish are you most excited for? #trueabq #albuquerque #newinabq #baseball #isotopesbaseballgame ♬ sonido original - 𝐑𝐎𝐂𝐊𝐀𝐍𝐑𝐎𝐋𝐀𝐒

“If you’re a vegetarian, if you like pork, if you like beef…I want you to come out to Isotopes Park and be able to find something you want to eat,” Chef Jim said.

If you do get something to eat the next time you’re at Isotopes Park, keep your eyes peeled. Chef Jim is known to walk the concourse.

“I always like to see what people think,” he said. “There’s nothing better than that first expression when somebody grabs something and they’re like ‘uhhhh, what do I do with this thing?’”

Albuquerque Isotopes Executive Chef Jim Griego holds up a Thundercup

Chef Jim gets inspiration from fans to create new dishes and make the food at Isotopes Park even better. His goal is to make it a food destination.

“I really want you to come out and enjoy your food, and if you happen to catch a baseball game, then great!”

@visitalbuquerque Even if you’re not well-versed in baseball, you’ll love the culinary delicacies at the Albuquerque Isotopes Park! Try the pig candy next time you see a game. You’re sure to love it! #trueabq #albuquerque #newmexico #abqtopes #gotopes ♬ original sound - Visit Albuquerque