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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

The Best Green Chili Burger in Albuquerque – Mine!

There are a lot of places to get a chili cheese burger in Albuquerque, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s. They HAVE to serve green chili here and they don’t even try to fight it. Anyone serving up a hamburger in New Mexico HAS to provide green chili, usually in chopped form, or people won’t eat a burger there. It is not required to have red chili, but green is a must. Some folks think it a sacrilege to put red chili on a burger. That’s just nuts! Personally, I like red chili on a burger, but that is a different story.

There are so many places to get a chili burger in Albuquerque, and everyone has their favorite. Some of the top places are:

My Personal Favs:
Monroe’s – (in the Heights and on Lomas between downtown and Old Town – mmm
Little Red Burger – (on Mountain Rd near old town) – mmm
Bob’s Burgers – (several all over Albuquerque) – mmmm

Other People Rave About:
(I never tried these places, so I don’t know)
The Owl Cafe
Stone Face Tavern
Standard Diner ( I HAVE had their Crab Cake-on-a-Burger – damn good)

I know I am leaving out someone’s favorite, so if you are Burqueños and you want to leave your favorite place as a comment – PLEASE do so. Tell all.

I am making Chili Burgers tonight, so I am going to give you a step by step on building a proper Green Chili Burger. First – In my opinion, they should be on a tortilla, not a bun, so be sure to have some medium sized tortillas on hand. You will also need:

fresh, or thawed from frozen, chopped green chili*
1.5 lb lean 93/7 ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 tsp hot red chili powder (I must stress – this is not cayenne, not paprika but red chili!)
1.5 tsp granulated garlic (can use 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic)
1 tsp powdered cumin
1/2 tsp blk pepper
1 egg
five thickly sliced cheddar or Jack cheese wedges (optional, but not in my house)
appropriate garnish like onion, tomato, avocado, etc. Please, no ketchup!

Crumble the ground beef in a bowl, add everything but green chili & egg, (and cheese if using), and mix well with hands. Then add egg and mix again. The egg holds it all together because the lean meat will cause a burger to sometimes crumble in the grill.

Pat into five burgers, oval as shown above, not round. This is for a better fit when you fold the tortilla. Grill as desired, but please don’t burn, and add cheese to melt well. I like it really melted, dripping over the sides.

Burgers should be arranged on a tortilla that has been briefly grilled or heated on gas stove top over a low flame until it just begins to char, but remains soft enough to fold over without cracking. Add garnish, (onion, avocado, tomato, (ketchup, if you must), sliced onion and green chili.

*Green chili is now available in various forms all over the US. If you can get them fresh and roast yourself – that is always preferred. You can also get some excellent red chili in a jar. I will do a bit on roasting and prepared chili in the future, but for now you can roast then on the grill, or on a gas stove over a low flame, constantly turning until skin bubbles, blisters and chars. Then store in a tight container or plastic bag while they cool. They must steam for 30-40 minutes to enable you to peel the skin off and then chop them up.

When the green chili is freshly roasted we will often skip the sauce making and just split the whole chili in half, sin (without) stem and seeds, and lay it on the burger or a sandwich. This is a really organic way to enjoy fresh roasted chili. ¡Muy Bueno!

Some places outside the southwest will carry frozen chopped green chili, and that is as close to fresh as you can get. I really frown upon canned chili, as it just doesn’t have the right taste. It will do in a pinch, when there is no other chili to be found anywhere. Another great choice are the green chili and green chili sauces that are now out in jars. These don’t have the awful can taste. You can find them online in these places, and can often be bought in a set with prepared red chili, and/or salsas.


These brands above are all tried and true as far as I am concerned. I love each of these in the order that they appear – but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

For mail order powdered red chili:
Made in New Mexico

Enjoy my recipe – and don’t ever be afraid to experiment on your own. The BEST Chili Burger is the one YOU like the best. Red or Green? It doesn’t matter. For more information on New Mexico Chili – visit this past post – ¿New Mexico’s Official State Question?

I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

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2 Responses to “The Best Green Chili Burger in Albuquerque – Mine!”

  1. Michael says:

    Well I haven’t tried all these but plan to. Personally I was disappointed with the Owl Cafe. The Owl Bar In Sanantone was amazing! but was years ago. Nothing beats an awesome green chili burger though.

  2. Jennifer Boren Little says:

    You might want to know that the official state spelling is Chile. In Texas and other parts it is chilli…

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