ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After several years on pause, the Beef Jerky Showdown is back this year. Jerky makers will compete in two categories at the 2023 New Mexico State Fair.

The two categories are: salt and pepper flavor and green chile flavor. For each category there will be a people’s choice award.

“We are excited to have the Beef Jerky Showdown back at the fair,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said in a press release. “It is a great way to experience a New Mexico twist on a traditional snack. All fairgoers should come by the Agriculture Building Courtyard and cast their votes for the best beef jerky in New Mexico.”

The showdown is happening Friday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m. The next day, at 1:00 p.m. there will be a Battle of the Salsas competition.

The first 200 people to attend the salsa competition will act as the judges. They’ll get salsa samples, tortilla chips, and a score sheet. Last year, Black Market Salsa won with its Belligerent Batch.

“Last year’s win for Belligerent Batch was an amazing honor,” Black Market Salsa CEO Mike Greiner said in a press release. “Winning any tasting competition is a great feeling, especially when the votes are coming from fair attendees, from the people of New Mexico; the distinction is more rewarding. I was born and raised in Las Cruces and have known New Mexico’s food culture all my life, so to be told we have the best salsa and to receive the Battle of the Salsas trophy is very fulfilling.”

And last, but not least, at noon on Monday, September 11, the Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge will begin. Burgers will be cooked on-site and judged by pre-selected community members. A limited number of fairgoers will also have a chance to taste samples for a people’s choice competition.

“The green chile cheeseburger is an iconic food in New Mexico,” Agriculture Secretary Witte said. “The New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge at the New Mexico State Fair is a win-win, because it gathers the community to celebrate and enjoy some of the best food in the state.”

Agriculture events at the fair include:

  • Beef Jerky Showdown 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8
  • Battle of the Salsas 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9
  • Green Chile Cheese Burger Challenge 12 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11
  • Red, White and Brews Happy Hours 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, Saturday, Sept. 9, Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept 16
  • Country Store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 through Sunday, Sept. 17 (located inside the Agriculture Building)