By Don Johnson
Albuquerque – Tucked in a corner off the midway at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair, a dinner bell was rang by the newly crowned state fair queen Erin Christina Arko who yelled to 12 competitors to “Start your grills”. With that, the 2017 New Mexico State Fair Green Chili Cheeseburger Challenge was under way. Competitors from across the state worked diligently to prepare their best chili-cheeseburger featuring the famed green chilies grown in New Mexico, the chili capital of the world.
After the first burger was turned in, a steady parade of green chili cheeseburgers flowed into the judging room. Upon each arrival, Judges Howard McCall, Jennifer Davis, Pete Kassetes, Kristen Currie, and Glenn Meghee were given a burger sample from which they derived their scores. When it was and eaten and done, the scores were counted.
The 2017 Green Chili Cheeseburger Champion is Sparky’s Burgers (Hatch NM) followed by Fuddruckers (Albuquerque NM) and Oak Tree Café (Albuquerque NM). The People’s Choice award winner is OSO Grill (Capitan NM).
El Bruno’s Restaurant – Cuba
Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ & Espresso – Hatch
The Eklund – Clayton
Starr Brothers Brewing – Albuquerque
Village Café – Los Lunas
Rockin’ BZ Burgers – Alamogordo
Whole Foods Market – Sandia Saloon – Albuquerque
Oso Grill — Capitan
Fat Sats Bar & Grill – Belen
Oak Tree Café – Albuquerque
Fuddruckers – Albuquerque
The Pointe Grill – Rio Rancho
Sadie’s of New Mexico – Los Ranchos
Big Mike’s Grill – Belen