New Mexicans have been cooking venison, beef, and cabrito (goat), low, slow, and smoldering for centuries. However, they've never been as enchanted with barbecue as we are with the best red chili or the most perfectly proportioned breakfast burrito. Barbecue Belt stops along our eastern border. Because they have no particular tradition to adhere to, they import a little of everything from around the world, whether it's Texan beef brisket or the Memphis dry pork ribs. Across the state, pitmasters have mastered the skills that speak to them. It is, of course, New Mexico, so expect some extra chile kick when it comes to the seasoning, sauces, and even sides.
1. Sparky's Burgers, Barbecue & Espresso, Hatch, New Mexico
This kitschy burger joint is brimming with vintage memorabilia and knickknacks, including a giant moose head topped with a park ranger hat. Besides its excellent chile cheeseburger, the restaurant also serves New Mexican-style. Try the Oinker, the infamous Hatch green chile cheeseburger topped with smoked pulled pork and smoked meat. Those who prefer simpler barbecue plates may prefer slow-cooked meats like sliced brisket, sausage, and spare ribs.
Location: 115 Franklin St, Hatch, NM 87937, United States
Phone: +1 575-267-4222
Store Hours: Thu-Sun 10:30am-4pm
2. Mad Jack's Mountaintop Barbecue, Cloudcroft, New Mexico
There's a line at Mad Jack's as well, but reviewers say the brisket and mac & cheese are worth the wait. You can get supersized Dino ribs at the restaurant on the weekends.
There is nothing better than the barbecue served at Mad Jack's Mountaintop Barbecue, a log restaurant high up in the Lincoln National Forest. Five types of barbecue sandwiches are available there and unbeatable beef brisket, pork ribs, and sausages. Three of the most popular items are chopped brisket (customers love the soft bread), pulled pork, and "Chile the Kid" (green chili and beef).
Location: 105 James Canyon Hwy, Cloudcroft, NM 88317, United States
Phone: +1 575-682-7577
Store Hours: Thu-Sun 11am-3:30pm
3. Danny's Place, Carlsbad, New Mexico
This roadhouse offers smoky plates of barbecue beef brisket, pulled pork, and sausage made with a real pit barbecue. A sweet taste is achieved by slow-cooking all the meats in hardwood. There is a nice pink smoke ring on the brisket, as well as a nice bark on the outside. Using a dry rub, the pulled pork is infused with flavor. If you add a dollop of honey barbecue sauce, the meats become juicy and tender. It's a great place to try fried okra if you've never had it before.
Location: 902 S Canal St, Carlsbad, NM 88220, United States
Phone: +1 575-885-8739
Store Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-9pm
4. Watson's BBQ, Tucumcari, New Mexico
In addition to selling livestock feed and sundries, Tucumcari Ranch Supply also smokes the meat for owners Jimmy and Stella Watson's restaurant, Watson's. On the menu, you'll find Frito pie, a Bucky Special (sausage and brisket), a turkey leg plate, New Mexico green chili stew, and a full donut menu (not barbecued).
It is a real BBQ restaurant. You can tell by the sign out front, and when you step inside, you can smell it too. There's a sign that says, "Real wood. Real smoke." The site is located near Tucumcari Ranch and Supply store, and its antique road signs, picnic tables, and cowboy-hatted stuffed bear incorporate the western theme. Finally, there is the meat: brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and ribs served in sandwiches or plates with sides. There are three sizes of sides, and the meat is all tender. Every day, bread is baked. You can find fresh doughnuts in the morning if you're coming through town early.
Location: 502 S Lake St, Tucumcari, NM 88401, United States
Website: Not available
Phone: +1 575-461-9620
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-5pm, Sat 7:30am-4pm
5. Rudy's Country Store & BBQ, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rudy's fare is distinctively different thanks to the aromatic smoke from slow-burning oak. Furthermore, they add a dry rub that adds a wide range of spicy overtones. Despite being a chain, its barbecue tastes like its Texas Hill Country roots. A taste of the southwest, jalapeno sausage, plus all the standard offerings: brisket, turkey breast, pulled pork, baby back ribs. Red food trays, red-checkered tablecloths, and walk-up ordering create a casual, laid-back atmosphere.
Location: 2321 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, United States
Phone: +1 505-884-4000
Store Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-10pm
In the United States, barbecue is huge. Every region has its style and flavor, and New Mexico is no exception. The state's barbecue joints take the best of Central Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City and add a New Mexican flair.
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