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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> chile peppers

Who makes the best Green Chile Cheeseburger, Bobby Flay or Bobby Olguin?  Or, maybe, just maybe, Gwyneth Doland and myself!  Tonight on the Food Network, on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," Bobby Olguin of the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico, goes up against Bobby Flay in a Green Chile Cheeseburger grill-off.  If you miss it, Food Network will repeat the show on August 2. That's Olguin on the left and Flay on the right.

In 2005, GQ Magazine rated the Buckhorn as having the seventh-best burger in America, so that gives some creds to Olguin, whose family has been doing this for many years. According to Olguin, his father, Mannie Olguin, built the Buckhorn in 1943. "Our liquor license dates back to 1918," he said. "It was transferred from my grandfather’s bar that used to be across the street."

While celebs like Flay get most of the attention, the Fiery Foods team just never gives up.  Click here to watch Gwyneth and myself grill Green Chile Cheeseburgers.  And click here for Gwyn's not-so-secret recipe.

Photo Credits:  Top, J. Clarson; Right, Sergio Salvador


The media in New Mexico was all abuzz recently with the announcement that Peppers Cafe on the Plaza in historic Mesilla had petitioned Guinness World Records to certify its green chile cheeseburger as "the largest commercially available burger of its kind in the world."  The meat in the burger weighs one pound and the burger itself has a ten-inch diameter.  The general manager of Peppers Cafe, Jerry Harrell, noted for the record that some large cheeseburgers and hamburgers hold records in other parts of the U.S., but no such honor has ever gone to the green chile cheeseburger, which is served at hundreds of restaurants in New Mexico.  The burger consists of hand-ground beef from the Double Eagle's (its sister restaurant) aging room, topped with three roasted and peeled green chiles, pico de gallo salsa, a half-pound of Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheeses, and is served on a yeast roll bun baked at the Lujan Bakery in Las Cruces.  The burger sells for $18.25 and has stirred up a great amount of controversy.  Read some of the comments here.  For our recipe for this "gourmet treat," go here.  To watch Gwyn Doland and I cook two of them, go here.

Dateline Las Cruces, New Mexico.  For years, research done by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute has helped promote New Mexico's State Vegetable (really a fruit).  Now, the Institute itself (and its chile peppers) is on the map, literally, as a "must-see" destination in Rand McNally's 2010 Road Atlas "Best of the Road" program.

"We are thrilled that Rand McNally recommends the Chile Pepper Institute in their atlas," said Paul Bosland, Institute director. "It's an honor to know that people traveling in New Mexico can see us on the map and enjoy our Institute along their way."

According to Rand McNally, the publication is America's No. 1 road atlas. It provides five Best of the Road trips along with trip-planning tools, from detailed maps to mileage charts. The 2010 atlas is now available in stores and from online retailers like Amazon, here.

"Every year, our editors seek out and drive some of the best, most scenic road trip routes in the nation to find our Best of the Road winners," said Rand McNally editorial director Laurie Borman. 

Part of the attraction of the Chile Pepper Institute is its Demonstration Garden, where some 150 varieties of chiles from around the world are grown each year to educate the public.  See our article, here.

The Chile Pepper Institute is one of a handful of stops identified in Rand McNally's trip through New Mexico. The 2010 Road Atlas provides five road trips in regions throughout states such as New York, Oregon and South Carolina. Each trip features photos, an inset map and other similar destinations that readers might enjoy.

The Institute gained fame for developing and promoting the 'Bhut Jolokia' chile variety, named by Guinness World Records as the Hottest Spice in the World.  Located in NMSU's Gerald Thomas Hall, the institute is part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.  See their website, here.

Full disclosure: Along with Dr. Paul Bosland, I was a founder of the Chile Pepper Institute.  My company is a sponsor of the New Mexico Chile Conference, hosted annually by the Institute.

On Saturday, June 27, 2009, the story made the front page of the Albuquerque Journal, and was featured in the Business section.


India Plans Jolokia Grenades

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Indian scientists will impregnate hand grenades with 'Bhut Jolokia' powder to immobilize but not kill people.  They say the devices will be used to control rioters and in counter-insurgency operations.  Scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are quoted as saying the potent chilli will be used as a food additive for troops operating in cold conditions.  And the powder will also be spread on the fences around army barracks in the hope the strong smell will keep out animals.  Other forms of pepper spray are commonly used for crowd control in many parts of the world.

Chipotle Flavors

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

I'm pleased to announce the publication of a five-part series devoted to chipotles--those many varieties of smoked chiles.   You can go here to start reading about--and cooking with--chipotles of all kinds.


Ed  Avalos, currently marketing director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, has been nominated by President Obama as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Ed has 34 years experience in agriculture marketing including the on-going 12-state green chile pepper promotion which yearly generates over $26 million in retail sales.  I helped Ed, along with El Pinto Restaurant and Salsa, create the World's Largest Chile Ristra that was displayed last year at the New Mexico State Fair.  In the international arena, Ed has worked in Mexico, Japan, China, Canada, and Latin America.  In the 1990's, pecans were exported to Japan and the Pacific Rim and most recently, the marketing team successfully established a pecan market in China.  The SuperSite congratulates Ed on his continuing success in promoting New Mexico agricultural products.


A Hybrid Bonsai Chile Plant

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

From Jukka Kilpinnen in Finland comes an unsual hybrid of a Dutch chile (Capsicum annuum) and an orange habanero (Capsicum chinense).  Jukka is a bonsai expert and has made a beautiful plant.  It's not easy and I failed at my first attempt.  For instructions, go here.

Fun Stuff from the Show

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

The 21st annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show was a huge success!  Periodically I will show you some interesting stuff from the show, like this from Jeffrey Schickowski, an author, scientist, and artist.  Using x-rays, photography, CT scans, and 3-D computer reconstructions, he takes us deep inside chile pepper pods.  Visit Jeffrey's website here.


Chimayó Chiles Not a Myth

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Earlier in this blog I wrote about the "legendary Hatch chiles" being a total myth, but this time I'm writing about the northern New Mexico Chimayó chiles that are an endangered food crop.  They are a land race of chiles, meaning that they have been grown in the same area for hundreds of years and thus have become, with the hand of man, a cultivated variety.  An institute has been formed to save the Chimayó chiles and they are making a slight come back.  To read our article on northern New Mexico land races of chiles, go here.  To read about the Native Hispanic Institute, go here.

 

Historic Photo of Abelino & Faustino Martinez


You'd think, after three decades of writing about chiles, that I would know every chile condiment in the world.  Not so.  Nick Vroman writes from Tokyo about koregusu, hot Korean chile peppers soaked in awamori (the favorite firewater from Okinawa) used to enhance delectable island favorites.  Nick writes:  "The label on this one says shima togarashi, or 'island pepper,' another way to refer to it.  I've seen many a homemade infusion, though, at bars and restaurants. Its main use is with Okinawan soba (noodles in a pork-based broth). The alcohol cuts through the heavy porky-ness and the spice gives depth and heat to the experience. It's a wonderful condiment."  Nick is working on an article about koregusu for the SuperSite.


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