Texans may think they’ve cornered the market on good BBQ, but don’t discount us New Mexicans. We know a thing or two about this all-American sauce that somehow manages to meld sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors to mouth-watering perfection.
Whether you’re looking to sample the offerings around town or to try your hand behind the grill, check out this handy guide to the best BBQ sauce in the Southwest.
Written by Zak Hansen and Jessica Muncrief
Alfonso Serna makes his BBQ the old-fashioned way. “I’m a stick-burner,” he explains. “No electricity, no gas, all my meats are smoked between 13 to 16 hours, using flavors from the Valley, whether it’s things I find at the Farmers’ Market or chiles from Hatch.”
Alfonso just opened up his first brick and mortar restaurant over the summer, but he’s no newbie to the game. Team Borderland BBQ has been competing (and winning awards!) at competitions around the country since 1994.
You may have seen Alfonso around town in his 26-foot mobile kitchen food truck, and now he has realized a long held dream of opening up shop in Tortugas. His menu includes ribs, brisket, and pork, along with a green chile cheeseburger that he says has been selling really well. He also offers up a full line of sides and inventive dishes like smoked BBQ hot wings and brisket nachos.
The kicker? Borderland BBQ is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 11am to 7pm, or whenever he sells out. And yes, he pretty much always sells out. Alfonso recommends showing up no later than 3pm to ensure you get to taste the good stuff.
800-2 Renteria St.
Rasco’s BBQ, tucked away in the downtown area, does brisk business, serving up their selection of meats—brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage—all smoked 18 hours. Rasco’s offers two sauces, a “regular”—though the taste is anything but—and a spicy, but why choose just one?
Rasco’s smoked meats are available by the pound, in sandwiches and tacos—yes, tacos—and served as plates with a selection of specialty sides… and what’s a barbecue without sides? Cookout staples like potato salad, smoked corn on the cob, thick-cut French fries, and coleslaw are joined by unique takes on traditional sides, like Rasco’s deep-fried mac and cheese and their namesake baked beans, a sweet-hot signature slow-cooked with tomato, onion, and jalapeños.
125 S. Campo St.
Las Crucens have been satisfying their barbecue cravings at Ranchway BBQ, since Elsa and Chuy Rodriguez opened the joint way back in 1974. Today, son Chico and grandson Michael, familiar faces behind the counter to regulars, are carrying on the family legacy. Stop in and you’ll likely hear the patrons and employees trading family news or gossip on a first-name basis, which happens after you’ve made someone a meal, in some cases daily, for five decades.
Ranchway’s menu is loaded with familiar Mexican favorites, but the restaurant also made its name off the barbecue beef and pork brisket and ribs — slow-cooked, sweet-but-savory rarities in our neck of the woods. Try the tender, thin-sliced brisket in a bañado (smothered) burrito or as a plate with beans and potato salad. For an extra bit of Las Cruces flair, make sure to add some Hatch green chile to your order.
Ranchway BBQ & Mexican Food | 604 N. Valley Drive | 575-523-7361
Las Cruces native Kirk Muncrief now calls Duke City home, and his line of BBQ sauces, spices, and rubs are must for the home cook who truly appreciates New Mexican flavor. If you’re looking for barbequing tips and ideas, check out AlbuKirky’s blog and social media channels. Kirk’s wife, Cheryl Valadez, shares her tried and true recipes for perfectly baked bread, and they’ve collaborated on many other locally-inspired dishes.
AlbuKirky Seasonings | albukirky.com
If you like your BBQ with a whole lot of spice, there’s only one place to go: the Chile Pepper Institute. Located conveniently on the NMSU campus in Gerald Thomas Hall (there’s designated parking for CPI visitors in the parking lot around back), the CPI gift shop carries their signature line of Holy Jolokia hot sauces, which includes a BBQ sauce, as well as Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Barbeque Sauce.
Chile Pepper Institute Visitor Center & Gift Shop
Gerald Thomas Hall, Room 265
945 College Ave | cpi.nmsu.edu
Las Cruces favorite Dick’s Café is well-known for great Mexican food and according to Las Cruces magazine’s reader poll, the best green chile cheeseburger in town. So it comes as no surprise that their sister company, Smokey Dick’s BBQ, offers up a pretty tasty sauce that’s made and bottled right here in Las Cruces.
Smokey Dick’s BBQ
Nothing says New Mexican like throwing in a few green chiles. Fiesta Mild Green Chile Bar-B-Que Sauce is naturally made right here in-state, offering up an unexpected fusion of flavors that makes this BBQ a must-try for the person who thinks they’ve tried green chile in every form.
Andele Mercado | 1950 Calle del Norte
HAVE IT CATERED
If you enjoyed the BBQ spread at the last wedding or event you attended, there’s a good chance it was catered by one of these locally-owned businesses.
Smokey Dick’s BBQ