Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown Recap

Chris Diestler - September 9, 2013

"Santa Fe’s most famous culinary creation, the green chile cheeseburger, certainly deserves to have its own event..."

There’s a new reigning chomp… er, champ in Santa Fe’s green chile cheeseburger scene: the Original Realburger.

Hundreds of salivating mouths gathered on the Railyard, Saturday for the first (and hopefully) annual event hosted by the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Santa Fe Restaurant Association.

Mayor David Coss made the announcement after the official judging panel’s results were tabulated. Ticketholders also voted on their favorite bite in the People’s Choice Award, which was bestowed to Cowgirl BBQ.  The Cowgirl’s samples were the first to run out during the 2-hour tasting event.

The original Realburger’s John Chavez humbly accepted the judges award and thanked his family for helping him serve the award-winning burger.  Chavez has been operating restaurants and catering under the Realburger banner since 1974.

Criteria for the judge’s award system were:

  • Physical Appearance
  • Burgerability/Eatability
  • Quality of Ingredients
  • Melding of Flavors
  • Chile Flavor/Heat

Santa Fe’s most famous culinary creation, the green chile cheeseburger, certainly deserves to have its own event, and this inagural festival seemed more successful than anticipated. Tickets for the tasting sold-out well before the grills were turned off and organizers speculate that next year’s smackdown will move to a larger venue.

The seven green chile cheeseburger finalists included:

  • Agave Lounge at Eldorado Hotel & Spa
  • Bert's Burger Bowl
  • Cowgirl BBQ
  • Dr. Field Goods
  • Luminaria Restaurant and Patio at Inn & Spa at Loretto
  • Realburger
  • Terra Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado

The Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown judges included:

  • Cheryl Jamison, Tesuque resident, James Beard Award winner, well-known cookbook author and one of the country's foremost authorities on barbecue, grilling, and smoke cooking.
  • Michael Bauer, long-time food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Cathy Barber, food, travel and lifestyle editor for the Dallas Morning News.
  • Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor for Food & Wine magazine.
  • Ellise Pierce, cookbook author and new Santa Fe resident