“Walk of Flame” Green Chile Trail
Attention Chileheads! Get ready to taste, drink and experience the Las Cruces “Walk of Flame” Green Chile Trail! Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants and experience a traditional green chile Mexican dish, or go off the beaten path and try one of the specialty plates loaded with green chile flavor. How about a drink? Have you ever had a green chile vodka straight up or blended into a Bloody Mary or martini, tasted an ice cold green chile beer or tried a white wine blended with green chile?
Follow the “Walk of Flame” to learn about growing and harvesting chiles, and to get a taste of many of the unique products that the chile has helped to inspire.
Places of Interest
Grocery Stores that Roast Green Chile
Fun Facts About New Mexico Green Chile
Roasting Your Own Green Chile
New Mexico Green Chile History
New Mexico Green Chile Varieties, Past & Present
New Mexico Green Chile Seeds
900 S. Telshor Blvd., Ste. B
Product: New Mexico Pecan Green Chile Roll (a pecan-breaded, stuffed green chile topped with sriracha sauce). Also try their Aqua Reef Roll, featuring Saku tuna, green chile, cucumber and scallion with dynamite sauce.
1900 S Espina St.
Product: Green Chile Chicken Wontons and Green Chile Chicken Wonton Soup.
Caliche’s Frozen Custard
590 S. Valley / 131 N. Roadrunner Pkwy.
(575) 647-5066 / (575) 521-1161
Product: Green Chile Sundae (vanilla custard with green chile marmalade).
790 S. Telshor Blvd.
Product: Green Chile Wonton.
De La Vega’s Pecan Grill and Brewery
500 S. Telshor Blvd.
Product: Stuffed Hatch Green Chiles (three chiles pecan breaded, stuffed with white cheddar, served with ranch dressing), Green Chile Hummus, Green Chile Vodka (Bloody Mary or NM Bloody-Tini), and Green Chile Beer.
2355 Calle de Guadalupe
Product: World’s Largest Green Chile Cheeseburger, Green Chile Cheese Wontons with Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa, Seafood Stuffed Chile Rellenos, Chile Relleno Burger, Green Chile Vodka, Green Chile Bloody Mary, Green Chile Margarita, Green Chile-Tini, Filthy Dirty Green Chile Martini, and Border Berries Margarita (mix of green chiles and black berries).
2410 Calle De San Albino
Product: Chile ‘Rita, an exotic blend of “Besito Caliente” blackberry/habanero sauce, lime juice, Hornitos 100% Agave Reposado tequila & Patron Citrónge. Served on the rocks in a hand-blown “chile” stem glass. Hot stuff for cool people!
Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant
1753 E. University Ave.
Product: Green Chile Meat Lasagna, Green Chile Pizza, and Sausage Green Chile Soup
3000 Harrelson Street
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Pasta Express: (575) 522-5522
Catering: (575) 496-6329
Product: Meat Tortellini with Green Chile Alfredo, Cheese Ravioli with Green Chile Alfredo, Meat and Green Chile Penne Lasagna, Chicken Alfredo with Mushrooms and chopped Green Chile, and Italian Sausage & Green Chile Fettuccini .
The Game Sports Bar and Grill
2605 S. Espina
The Game II Sports Bar and Grill
Address: 4131 Northrise Dr
Product: Green Chile Wings, Pecan Encrusted Green Chile Strips, Green Chile Posole, Green Chile Stew, Cream of Green Chile and Green Chile Mashed Potatoes.
Don Rogelio Villegas Salsas
1800 N. Solano Drive
Available in several grocery stores in Las Cruces
Product: Flame Roasted Green Chile (Jarred).
Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum: Eagle Ranch Mercantile and Snack Bar
New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum
4100 Dripping Springs Road
Product: Green Chile Pistachios, Chile Pistachio Chocolate Bar, Green Chile Dip Mix, Green Chile Stew and Chile Power Gift Basket.
Jerky & More Inc.
344 S. San Pedro St.
Product: Green Chile Jerky.
Las Cruces Candy Co.
580 S. Valley Drive, Ste. 150
Product: Green Chile Pistachio Brittle and Green Chile Pecan Brittle.
Ol’ Gringo Chile Co.
407A Archuleta Rd.
Product: Chile Fanatic Hot Green Chile Salsa (extra hot, hot, medium, mild).
D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro
1720 Avenida de Mesilla
Product: Hatch Green Chile Wine (Fire-roasted, mild Hatch Green Chile is cold-soaked in white wine, allowing traditions of wine & Chile to fuse into one. Semi-sweet and very smooth, this slightly spicy wine brings to life the flavor of the Southwest with its unique New Mexican flair).
The Truck Farm (Desert Farms, Sweet Cannon’s Hots & Tia Rita’s Products)
645 S. Alameda
Product: Desert Farms Green Chile Marmalade, Tia Rita’s Green Chile Seasoning Blends, Tia Rita’s Chile Verde Stew Mix, Tia Rita’s Cornbread Mix, Canon’s Fire Salsa, Just Plain Green Chile (flame roasted chile in a jar, mild, medium & hot), and Canon’s Sweet Hots (sweet green chile in a jar).
The green chile is a valuable commodity in Las Cruces and we honor it with its own research center at the local university. Come learn about the “father of the U.S. chile pepper industry,” Fabian Garcia, and learn how he began standardizing chile pepper varieties in 1888. Visit the Center’s chile pepper garden and shop at their store.
Chile Pepper Institute Visitor Center, Gift Shop & Garden
Gerald Thomas Hall (New Mexico State University Campus) Rm. 256
945 College Drive
Chile Pepper Institute
*Chile Pepper Institute Garden located at 113 West University Avenue.
Product: Green Chile Gift Shop & Garden.
Las Cruces New Year’s Eve Chile Drop
Come celebrate New Year’s Eve in Las Cruces, New Mexico! Inspired by New York’s ball drop, Las Cruces celebrates the New Year by dropping a 15 foot illuminated chile. The inaugural event took place on New Year’s eve 2014/2015. Las Crucens celebrated the coming new year on Main Street Downtown with music by DAMN Union and Randy Granger, spirits by High Desert Brewery, Bosque Brewery and Amaro Winery, food from a wide variety of food trucks, a kid’s area, and plenty of fun. The event was a huge success, so check back for details for next year’s Chile Drop!
2551 E. Lohman Ave. / 2501 N Main St. / 1285 El Paseo Rd.
(575) 521-9837 / (575) 524-1980 / (575) 523-5538
Lowe’s Fiesta Foods
2180 N Main St.
3970 E Lohman Ave.
495 N Valley Dr.
1701 E University Ave.
Wal-Mart / Wal-Mart Super Center / Wal-Mart
3331 Rinconada Blvd. / 571 Walton Blvd. / 1550 S. Valley Drive
(575) 680-3772 / (575) 525-1222 / (575) 523-4924
- One fresh, medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
- One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
- Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up the metabolism.
- Teas & lozenges are made with chile peppers for the treatment of a sore throat.
- The Capsaicinoids (the chemical that make chile peppers hot) are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.
- Wild chiles are easily spread by birds because birds do not have the receptors in their mouths to feel the heat.
- Chile peppers originated in South America and then spread to Central and North America.
- The Indians of the American tropics cultivated the chile pepper for centuries for both its culinary and medicinal uses.
- On his first voyage to the Western hemisphere, Christopher Columbus mistakenly called the fiery chile pod “pepper” because of its heat, believing it to be a relative of black pepper.
- All chile peppers are edible, even ornamentals. Ornamentals, however, have been bred for their appearance and usually have little to no flavor, or can be very hot.
- Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, which all belong to the nightshade family.
- The color extracted from very red chile pepper pods, oleoresin, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.
- There are 26 known species of chile pepper, five of which are domesticated.
*Information obtain from the Chile Pepper Institute publication, New Mexico State University © 2007
Roasting your own New Mexico Green Chile:
Origins of the Mesilla Valley Green Chile Pepper:
If you want to taste the best green chile in the country then look no further than Las Cruces, New Mexico. This city is nestled in the middle of most fertile land in the state, the Mesilla Valley. It is considered the “mecca of green chile production” and farmers harvest millions of tons each year. This rich agricultural land is nurtured by the waters of the Rio Grande River and produces the tastiest green chile ever known to the palate. This hot, spicy fruit is revered in Las Cruces and is deeply-rooted in this city’s culture, economy and food.
*Chile is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU’s)
Rio Grande 21: The Rio Grande 21 is a hybrid between New Mexico No. 6 and Anaheim. It was released by Dr. Harper in 1967. It was similar to New Mexico No. 9. The pods were large, smooth with thick flesh. Its heat ranged from 500–700 SHU’s.
NuMex R Naky: This variety was developed in 1985 and is a cross-breed between the Rio Grande 21 and the New Mexico 6-4. It is very mild and turns from green to red when mature. It is excellent for roasting or stuffing. Its heat range is from 260 to 750 SKU’s.
New Mexico No. 6: This chile was released in 1950 and at the time was suited for the processing industry and for producing green chile for the fresh market. It was modified and rereleased in 1957 as New Mexico 6-4 with a reduction in heat. The original No. 6 heat range is from 700–900 SHU’s.
New Mexico 6-4: For many years this was a chile fan favorite of New Mexico-style cuisine. The chile was long, smooth, savory and just right, with mild heat from 300 to 500 SHUs. The peppers were commonly used for eating fresh in chile relleno, but were also great for roasting, drying, stuffing, frying, and canning.
Heritage New Mexico 6-4: The New Mexico 6-4 Heritage chile pepper was developed around 1998 from a seed bank of the original New Mexico 6-4. The original NM 6-4, which was released in 1957, had “run out,” meaning that after so many years of commercial growing, it had lost much of its flavor and aroma. In 1998 Dr. Paul Bosland, along with NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute and Biad Chili, used seeds from the original NM 6-4 that had been frozen in a storage lab to create the new line of chile. The result was a chile with five times more flavor and aroma than the original, and the flavor is even stronger and richer when roasted. They grow to 5-8 inches in length and its heat range is from 1,000 to 2,000 SHU’s.
New Mexico No. 9: At the time, this pepper was a favorite among New Mexico style cuisine. The pods were long, smooth, savory and just right with medium heat from 1,000 to 1,500 SHUs. These peppers were great for roasting, drying, stuffing, frying, and canning. This pod became the chile standard in 1950, and helped establish the Mexican food industry in the United States.
Sandia: This chile was developed in 1956 and is one of the hottest chile peppers grown in the Mesilla Valley. It is slightly hotter than a jalapeno, however, it is also versatile and very tasty green chile! It grows between five to eight inches when mature and has medium-thick walls that add a nice crunch to salsa. It can be used in everything from enchiladas to rellenos, or any other dish which calls for a good kick because of its heat. Its heat level can range from 1,500 to 2,000 SHU’s. It is consistently hot and spicy, without being too overpowering.
NuMex Big Jim: This variety was developed in 1975. It is a large meaty chile with medium heat from 500 to 2,000 SHU’s. It’s an Anaheim-type pod that grows about 12″ long. Their skin is ideal for grilling or roasting. It has a lively flavor and is great for homemade rellenos, offering plenty of space for stuffing your favorite toppings and accompaniments. Although peppers will turn red, most New Mexico type green chiles are tastiest when harvested green. Dried, the red fruits make beautiful strings of peppers called ristras. It is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest hot pepper!
Heritage NuMex Big Jim: A versatile chile pepper, it can be used fresh, canned, fried, or dried. It has a distinctive New Mexico chile flavor and medium hot pungency. The pods are large, around 9 inches long with thick flesh and moderately flat. They are ideal for plate-size chile rellenos stuffed with cheese or meat. Their heat ranges from 2000 to 4,000 SHU’s. It was developed in 2008 and improved the original NuMex Big Jim variety. The new heritage variety has more flavor and heat levels that are more consistent.
NuMex Joe E. Parker: This New Mexico variety was named after Mr. Joe E. Parker, a graduate of NMSU’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics, who helped to evaluate this selection of chile. It originally came from one plant selected from a field of open-pollinated “New Mexico 6-4” peppers. The variety was released in 1990. The chiles grow to about 8 inches and has excellent flavor with thick flesh. The great taste of this chile and its consistent heat level make it a favorite in New Mexico restaurants. The NuMex Joe E. Parker can be a great chile for canning whole, and is excellent for chiles rellenos, or for grilling or roasting, due to its thicker walls. Its heat ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 SHU’s.
Herirloom NuMex Española Improved: The Espanola was developed in New Mexico in the 1980s by crossing a Sandia pepper with the northern New Mexico landrace chile “Espanola”. They grow to 5-7” and mature from green to a deep red. The young green fruits can be used to make green chile or chiles rellenos, while the red peppers are sometimes dried to make ristras or ground into a smoky chili powder. The Espanola is also popular in many dishes to add just a little kick. It grows in the high altitudes of northern New Mexico. Its heat ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 SHU’s.
Heirloom NuMex Sandia Hot: This chile pod grows to about 7 inches and has medium thick walls making it ideal for both fresh and roasted chiles. They are also good for chile ristras. This is an improved version of the original Sandia Chile Pepper. Its heat ranges from 7,000 to 9,000 SHU’s.
Heriloom NuMex Barker’s X Hot: The Barker’s Hot chili pepper is an extra-hot chile, the hottest New Mexico-type pepper. This heirloom chile blends good flavor with plenty of heat. With thin skins, this pepper prepares quickly in the kitchen, making it a good candidate for roasting, frying whole, or stuffing. Green fruits ripen to bright red; heat increases as peppers become redder. Its heat ranges from 9,000 to 15,000 SHU’s.
Lumbre: The very hottest XX hot New Mexico type chile. It is sold in fresh markets as Hatch Double X-Hot in the late summer. Pods are small at 5 inches but don’t be fooled they are screaming hot. The heat ranges from 9,000 to 10,000 SHU’s.