“It is my pleasure to award Sadie’s with the prestigious title of Best Green Chile Cheeseburger in New Mexico,” State Fair Commission Chairman Larry Kennedy said to a significant crowd of onlookers during the award presentation immediately following the cook-off.
“I want to congratulate all of the contestants who entered this friendly competition on their excellent burgers, and I want to thank them for participating in what will become an annual event to promote one of New Mexico’s true culinary delights,” Kennedy continued.
“The Governor’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge has been one of the most anticipated events of the Fair,” said State Fair General Manager Dan Mourning. “The turnout was fantastic, the competition was fierce but friendly, and I think we’ve got some very satisfied judges.”
The event kicked off at 3:00 p.m., and judging began around 4 p.m., with one burger considered roughly every five minutes until all 11 were tasted and scored. Each burger was anonymous to judges, who utilized a point system based on taste, balance of ingredients and appearance. Each contestant was required to use New Mexico-grown green chile. The anonymous scores were then tabulated by EXPO New Mexico accounting staff.
For its winning effort, Sadie’s received a special plaque and automatic entry into the New Mexico Tourism Department’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.
The official judges for the cook-off were New Mexico State Fair Commissioner Chuck Brown, Jason New of the Department of Agriculture, 94-Rock’s Rainman (a professional chef in his own right) and Darren White of the Downs Casino.
The Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge was sponsored by The New Mexico State Fair, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the New Mexico Restaurant Association.
The statewide culinary challenge was originally issued 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 a July episode, 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. The Governor’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge was open to commercial restaurants statewide, and garnered a total of 16 entries from across the state.
Roster of contestants follows:
Ancient Way Café (Ramah)
Sadie’s of New Mexico (Los Ranchos)
Big Mike’s Grill (Belen)
Sparky Burgers (Hatch)
De La Vega’s Pecan Grill & Brewery (Las Cruces)
Cowgirl BBQ (Santa Fe)
Rockin ‘BZ Burgers (Alamogordo)
Bravo Cucina Italiana (Albuquerque)
Papa Burgers (Albuquerque)
Badlands Burgers & Tortas (Grants)