Follow Bill Richardson's lead to the family-run Badland’s Burgers in Grants—the outgoing governor and former presidential candidate named the Millie Burger ($6.95) the state's best in the 2009 Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge. The winning burger's two one-third-pound patties are lightly charred over an open flame, then topped with smoky green chile, bacon, and guacamole.
Watch your ten-ounce burger prepared medium rare on a 50-year-old cast-iron grill at Bobcat Bite, a roadside diner that's been around since 1953 ($7.90). Mind this mom-and-pop's odd hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7:50 p.m.
Brace yourself for the fresh-roasted green-chile topping the hand-ground burger at the original Owl Café (77 U.S. Highway 380; 575-835-9946) in San Antonio ($4.45). The special blend—spicier than most—can also be purchased in pint-size jars for $5.
Choose between the medium (quarter-pound) or large (half-pound) burger—served on a bun or tortilla—at the Little Red Hamburger Hut. (The locals still call it Wimpy's, trademark lawsuit be damned.) Order at the counter: Burgers are freshly ground, consistently cooked well done, and doused with green or red chile (the "Little Red"). Operating hours are erratic, so call ahead.