The internet is replete with compilations abounding in truth and humor entitled “You Know You’re From New Mexico When…” Perhaps most resonating in factuality are the items which depict just how much New Mexicans value their culinary traditions. For example, you know you’re from New Mexico when: your favorite breakfast meat is sliced fried bologna; you buy green chile by the bushel and red chile by the gallon; most restaurants you go to begin with ‘El’ or ‘Los’; you have an extra freezer just for green chile; you think Sadie’s was better when it was in a bowling alley; and you can order your Big Mac with green chile.
Even if you’ve lived in the Land of Enchantment for only a short time, several items on that short list will ring with veracity for you. If you’re a lifelong resident, however, the list may get your dander up a bit because, conspicuous by their absence, are sacrosanct New Mexican foods and culinary traditions we treasure. We would add to the list, you know you’re from New Mexico when: your trail mix consists of pinon and carne seca and instead of popcorn, your home movie nights consist of eating chicharrones in front of the television.
You also know you’re from New Mexico if you can drive down the street and pass several stores selling carne seca. New Mexicans have always had an affinity for carne seca whose literal translation is “dried beef” but for which a more accurate description would be “dehydrated beef.” Spanish conquistadores and settlers learned the process for making carne seca from indigenous peoples, quickly discerning the value of preserving and ease of transporting dehydrated meats as they set off on their conquests. When they settled down and raised cattle for their families, they retained their carne seca preparation traditions. Years of preparing it had taught them that beyond its practicality, carne seca is an addictively delicious meat treat.
Frank Chavez and his family have been provisioning New Mexicans with high-quality, delicious carne seca for three decades, proffering some thirteen flavors. The carne seca is hung and dried in a controlled environment until the desired texture is achieved. The thin strips of dehydrated beef are then marinated in such ingredients as Hatch red and green chile with no additives or preservatives. Any triskaidekaphobia you might have will dissipate when you feast your eyes and wrap your lips around any of the thirteen flavors: original (salt only), peppered (salt and pepper), green chile, red chile, tangy teriyaki, extra hot teriyaki, lemon peppered, old-fashioned, garlic, extra hot Habanero, hot chile con limon and Christmas (red and green chile).
27 November 2013: Texturally, the carne seca is absolutely perfect. That means it snaps when you bite into it or break apart a piece. It isn’t stringy in the least and is lean and super delicious. The chile con limon is not to be missed. Chile con limon is a very popular Mexican spice mix combining chile spices, salt, lemon and lime to impart an addictive piquant-tangy-citrusy flavor. The heat is real. So is the citrusy flavor. Other early favorites include the extra hot teriyaki and the garlic, but that’s likely to change with future visits and more sampling.
Chavez, an Albuquerque native who grew up in the area around Central and Atrisco, realizes that New Mexican’s can’t live on carne seca alone. When he launched his second instantiation of the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company, he diversified its offerings by selling chicharrones, too…and if there’s anything New Mexicans love as much as carne seca, it’s chicharrones. We also love hot and spicy New Mexico Quality (the store brand) red chile chips so Chavez makes the very best, created with the same high standards as other products in the store.
Several months before relocating from diminutive digs to a rather capacious space (1527 4th Street, N.W.), Chavez once again listened to his customers (a novel concept more restaurateurs should embrace) who were clamoring for more. He expanded the menu beyond carne seca, chicharonnes and red chile chips, restructuring the store to include several tables for eat-in dining. One of the first to visit after the menu expansion was Rudy Vigil, the Sandia savant who’s led me to some great restaurants. Rudy endorsed the burritos at the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company with the same enthusiasm he has for the University of New Mexico Lobos.
In July, 2019, The New Mexico Beef Jerky Company relocated to its third space on 4th Street, this one just a couple blocks south (1425 4th Street, N.W.) of its previous home. Long-time Duke City residents might recognize this address as having once been home to Harper’s Furriers, Inc. Exterior north- and south-facing walls festooned with signage for both the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company AND the Wanderlust Vegan Eatery might confuse first-time visitors. Things aren’t much clearer when you step inside until you see queues directing visitors to one option or the other. Contrary to what you might think, the vegan fare isn’t fried in manteca nor are the chicharrones made from seitan. This is truly a case of never the twain shall meet–two disparate concepts working well in the same space.
The standard menu features breakfast (served with eggs, beans, papas, chile cheese and a tortilla) and lunch plates (served with beans, papas and a tortilla). Ten breakfast burritos (served all day long), nine lunch burritos, burgers (tortilla or bun), sandwiches and tacos make up the menu, but savvy diners will quickly pick up on the fact that they can also order chicharrones in half or full-pound sizes. Even better, they can indulge in a chicharrones plate which comes with two tortillas and four ounces of chile for a half-pound portion. Order a full pound of chicharrones and you’ll double the number of tortillas and chile portion size if you order the full pound. You’ll also double your enjoyment.
1 November 2013: Order the taco burgers as an appetizer to begin your experience in New Mexico Beef Jerky Company deliciousness. The taco burgers are simple in their construction: a hard-shell corn tortilla, a hamburger-style beef patty, lettuce and your choice of red or green chile (or both). More tacos should be made with hamburger patties. Texturally, hamburgers have an advantage in that they don’t fall off the taco shell. Hamburger patties are also superior in flavor to fried ground beef. The real kicker, literally and figuratively, is the green chile which bites back with a vengeance. It’s an excellent chile, some of the best in town.
1 November 2013: The carne adovada burrito is so good, it’s easy to imagine yourself having one for breakfast and one for lunch two or seven times a week. The breakfast version is made with carne adovada, eggs, cheese and potatoes while the lunch version omits the eggs (though as previously noted, breakfast burritos are available all day long). The carne adovada is outstanding with tender tendrils of porcine perfection marinated in a rich, piquant red chile made from chile pods. Burritos are generously engorged, easily twice as thick as most hand-held burritos…and most of the filling is carne, not potatoes. They’re easily affordable and will fill you up. My much-missed adovada adoring amigo Ruben Hendrickson called them “unbelievably good,” a sentiment you’ll echo. Another friend Richard Valdez believes these are the very best carne adovada burritos in town. Frankly, I can’t think of any better.
1 November 2013: By most measures, the carne adovada burrito would be the best burrito at most restaurants’ burrito line-up, but it may not even be the best burrito at the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company. That honor probably belongs to the chicharrones burrito (with beans and chile), the only possible way in which chicharrones could be improved. The chicharrones are exemplars of crackling pork. They’re crispy, crunchy and redolent with porcine goodness. This burrito is tailor-made for green chile, an R-rated variety in that it may be unsuitable (too piquant) for some children, adults who don’t have an asbestos-lined mouth and Texans. This is chile the way New Mexicans have been preparing it for generations, not dumbed down for tourist tastes.
27 November 2013: The ground beef for the burgers comes from the same beef used to create the old-fashioned carne seca. Each beef patty is hand-formed and prepared at about medium-well then topped with mustard and onions. Green chile (a must-have) and cheese are optional. As a green chile cheeseburger, the emphasis here is on chile as in plenty of piquancy. If you’ve ever lamented not being able to discern any chile on your green chile cheeseburger, this is a burger for you. The chile is not only piquant, it’s got a nice flavor. The beef patty exceeds the circumference of the bun and is thick, probably a good eight ounces of delicious, rich beef. Burgers are served with New Mexico Quality red chile chips.
24 September 2014: Baloney! If you’ve ever wondered why the popular Italian sausage is synonymous with a term commonly associated with nonsense, bunkum or insincerity, you’re not alone. It turns out the word “baloney” was first used in the 1930s as a reference to the disingenuousness of government bureaucracies. The term was later applied to “Bologna” sausages because the sausage tasted nothing like the meat used to make them (a mixture of smoked, spiced meat from cows and pigs).
24 September 2014: There’s nothing insincere or nonsensical about the love of baloney, the sausage. It’s long been a favorite among families in rural New Mexico, a realization some restaurants are only now starting to grasp. New Mexicans love the log-sized baloney we slice ourselves so that it’s three or four times the height of the single-sliced baloney sold in supermarkets. We like to grill or fry it over low heat so that it acquires a smoky char and we love our boloney on a tortilla. That’s how Frank’s crew prepares its baloney sandwich: two thick slices of grilled baloney, melted cheese, lettuce and an incendiary green chile that will bring sweat to your brow. It’s the baloney sandwich of my youth recaptured and for my friends Bill and Phil, it’s a new way to appreciate the “Rodney Dangerfield” of meat products. They’ve become hooked on the baloney sandwiches, much to the detriment of ordering anything else.
30 January 2020: Baloney–it’s not just for sandwiches anymore! In fact, baloney is a versatile ingredient that improves almost every dish in which it’s used (and it’s pretty terrific on its own, too). In addition to using it on the aforementioned baloney sandwich, the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company deploys baloney on its burritos, too. Were it not for that sublime carne adovada, the baloney, egg and cheese burrito would be in contention for best burrito in town. The only thing that can improve this winner is beans.
9 October 2014: When I asked the genial server manning the counter whether or not the chorizo burrito included cumin, his answer validated my long-held assertion that cumin has no place in New Mexican food. He told me: “we don’t use sobaco on anything here.” Sobaco is Spanish for armpit, a description my friend Bill also uses to describe cumin. The chorizo burrito (eggs, potatoes, cheese, chorizo in a flour tortilla) is the best I’ve had in memory, maybe the best ever. The chorizo has a wonderfully piquant kick. It’s not nearly as piquant as the XX-Hot chile of the day (a placard at the counter will tell you how hot the chile is ), but it’s got personality and deliciousness.
17 November 2014: Chile cheese fries aren’t a new idea. Several New Mexican restaurants offer them though very few are notable. At the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company, they’re so memorable you might wish they were available at every meal. The French fries are reminiscent of the fries at the K&I Diner in that they’re soft and easy to pick up en masse with a fork. The cheese is shredded, not gloppy. The chile, of course, is fantastic! The plate includes a garnish of chopped tomatoes and lettuce which go surprisingly well with the fries.
7 February 2015: In past years there have been efforts to define New Mexico’s best sandwich. More often than not, the de facto best “sandwich” named has been the green chile cheeseburger. While the green chile cheeseburger is outstanding in its own right, as a sandwich it’s a cop-out choice, especially considering the surfeit of superb sandwiches crafted throughout the Land of Enchantment. Among the very best unique to New Mexico sandwiches is the green chile Philly, essentially a Philadelphia cheese steak with green chile.
Enter into the fray the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company whose green chile Philly might be in the company of the one once served at the much-missed Itsa Italian Ice as among Albuquerque’s very best. It’s an overstuffed behemoth brimming with red, yellow and green peppers, cheese, chopped steak and the restaurant’s fabulous green chile. It’s a concordant collection of ingredients in a soft, chewy bread canvas.
4 December 2015: As faithful readers know, I’m not monogamous when it comes to food…or restaurants. Life would be so boring if limited to a few favorite dishes or favorite restaurants. That’s one of the reasons the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company suits me. Virtually every time I visit there’s something new on the menu just beckoning me to try it. Invariably the new dish becomes yet another favorite pushed back on an ever-increasing rotation of favorites. Add to the mix the restaurant’s posole, a rather unique dish in that the posole is topped with crunchy, crispy chicharonnes. What a novel and wonderful way to enjoy one of New Mexico’s favorite dishes. It’s available with your choice of red or green chile.
When it comes to service, many restaurants can learn a thing or two from Frank Chavez and his crew. By the time our taco burgers were delivered to our table during our inaugural visit, Frank had already secured our unending loyalty with a generous sample of chicharrones. For “dessert” he brought us chicharrones in red chile and samples of the beef jerky. He had us at chicharrones. We’ll continue to frequent this outstanding restaurant.
New Mexico Beef Jerky Company
1425 4th Street, N.W
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 30 December 2020
1st VISIT: 1 November 2013
# OF VISITS: 11
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Chicharrones, Chicharrones Burrito, Carne Adovada Burrito, Taco Burger, Beef Jerky, Green Chile Cheeseburger, New Mexico Quality Red Chile Chips, Baloney Sandwich, Chorizo Burrito, Chile Cheese Fries, Enchiladas, Green Chile Philly, Posole with Chicharrones
24 thoughts on “New Mexico Beef Jerky Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico”
I haven’t made it over in awhile…I need my fix of taco burgers, and carne adovada burritos, and now I definitely must try posole with chicharrones – yum! Thanks for keeping up with the old favorites, Gil!
JUST STUMBLED INTO YESTERDAY FOR LUNCH.THEY HAD JUST MOVED INTO THERE NEW LOCATION DOWN THE STREET. WHAT A GREAT PLACE, PEOPLE AND FOOD. GAVE US A SAMPLE OF THE CHICHARRONES AS WE WALKED IN.THAT DID IT FOR ME, HAD THE CHICHARRIRONES BURRITO WITH GREEN AND WIFE HAD CARNE PLATE RED. BOTH OUTSTANDING AND PLENTY OF FOOD.ADDED THIS PLACE TO OUR MASTER LIST.
My SO and I did lunch there today. Great food and great service. Gil, not enthusiastic as you about their chorizo. It was good but…. Loved their red chile. It was great, nicely piquant and really flavorful. The burritos were like all day suckers, We’ll get several meals out of ours. The chicharrones are outstanding. We’ll certainly be back.
Nice! I can’t wait to try the new place…maybe even mañana morning. The previous location was getting a little tight! It’s a regular routine now for us to pick up a pound and a half of red chile and peppered carne seca…it’s a household staple!! I love thier tacos burgers with red chile. I also appreciate the genuine customer service that Frank offers. I mean, he is really, really, the real deal! He is so friendly, warm, kind and generous. I have seen him treat folks from all walks of life with the same kindness and dignity. One day there were some fuddy duddy lawyers from downtown in there picking up some lunch and a homeless man walked in…Frank treated the homeless man with such kindness that it brought tears to my eyes. The lawyer dudes were speachless because they might’ve thought that Frank was sucking up to them and of course they acted like the poor man would contaminate them with his presence. Frank has a heart of gold and it also comes through in his yummy food. I’m so happy for him and wish him lots of prosperity and success!
My third visit was this morning, first to the new location. Finally had an opportunity to try the chicharones breakfast burrito. Very very good! Gil you are spot on with your description “They’re crispy, crunchy and redolent with porcine goodness”. I cannot think of a better way to describe them.
I would love to try their food, but I am a vegetarian, do they have veggie alternatives?
At this time the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company does NOT have veggie alternatives, however, a number of vegetarians have expressed interest in dining at this fabulous restaurant. As customer oriented as Frank Chavez and his staff are, it wouldn’t surprise me if they added a few vegetarian dishes in the future.
Carnivores out there will be happy to hear that the beans are prepared not with manteca (lard), but with chicharron drippings.
All fans of the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company will also be happy to hear that this fabulous eatery has moved to a new location at 1527 4th Street, N.W., about three blocks south of its former location. Many of you might remember that location as the former home of the 4 Aces Grill.
The New Mexico Beef Jerky Company is a wonderful lunch spot. The owner is always friendly and welcoming. I usually get 3 taco burgers, which are cooked to perfection but today I had the chicken fajita plate. To my surprise it was delicious. The chicken was tender, well carmelized, and served with hot flour tortillas.
I told my friend that the NMBJC is what I imagine if my husband had started his own restaurant. It is heavy on the “beef” and light on veggies and unnecessary side items. You go to the NMBJC if you want meat, meat, and more meat. And the chile cheese fries are excellent too!
I always leave satisfied!
Que Sera sera !
I’ve put Sat. December 20th at 2 pm on my calendar to drop in lest some other FOGgers might be there as well, to wish “Bienvenidos/Salud!” to the new location.
~ If ya don’t have time to eat, one can pick up “Carinos” of Jerky there for the “””Holidays””” as well as go (then or after) just 3 blocks West and up two to make it a ‘Grande Carino’ (or lest ya need something for Vegetarians), at http://www.thepopcorncannery.com/index.html (The “Christmas” (chile) popcorn is excellent IMHO, tho the Carmel Corn…oh heck, get both!!!!
I had lunch there this week, the Carne Adovada burrito. It was large and the meat was well cooked, no cumin. I had asked for red chile but they didn’t put any in it, as it turns out the amount of chile in the meat is scarce. I was offered a sample of either Jerky or Chicharrones while I waited, I chose the Chicharrones of course. Very tasty and I commented to the guy standing next to me that I have to cook them myself to get them that good. Definitely going back, I’ll remind them to put some red in it.
This was my second trip back in a week for one of their bologna sandwiches. They are wonderful and for a mere 6 bucks you also get chips and a drink!
I’ve been there more than 1/2 dozen times – it gets better every time.
If you like the taco burgers at Bob’s burgers, (and I admit that I do) the ones at NM Beef Jerky are the same concept but an order of magnitude better.
Thanks for introducing me to this, Gil!
So many Chicas bonitas, so little time. It’s always so great to get a reminder of a Top ‘Little’ place to “just” chow down! Maybe a ‘list’ of 5 at the end of each month would be helpful for those of us who are aged and…well, leave it at that.
~ In any event, as I’m sure I’ve noted elsewhere re Baloney/Round Steak (some say akin to Spam), if you get some let’s say 1/4″(?) slices at e.g. WallyMart’s Deli, snip a couple of 1/4″ slits on the edge and one in the middle to facilitate even (flat), quick frying in the pan when doing at home! Un-or lightly toasted Wonder Bread with mayo and, of course, green chile makes it complete or tell us your recipe, e.g. maybe a slice of Swiss!
~ Re his jerky as a Carino? They’ve always gotten me OXOXs or at least a Thumbs/Halluces Up!
Yo….stopped in to pick up two baggies of Jerky for Carinos.
Tried a sample of the “Green Chile” infused.
Whoa….this is not your tourist grade piquancy!!! After munching and swallowing just that one and one half inch’ square sample, the heat lasted me 8.73 minutes on the way home.
Considering the ‘Gueros’ I’m giving them to, I was best to stay with the “Original”, but I know the mix I’m getting me next time.
– Have always had my Chicharonnes with Red! A few days ago, Learned yar never too old to learn: maybe it was just his Green…OMG, Muy Sabrosa…but con Chicharonnes added in, that’s a Yum Yum!
– Need a last minute Carino to give for Christmas or the holidays or just want to indulgence yourself being without a Squeeze on New Year’s Eve? Get yourself a 1/4 pound “baggy” of Jerky to chill on!! I’ve usually shied away cuz my previous experiences have been with stuff ya gotta pull on like ya do with a playful, gnarling dog and his toy. Alas, lest it was overlooked, ask and Frank will offer you a sample of his more “tender” jerky which comes in several taste experiences, albeit I didn’t see silliness the likes of Rocky-Road, Filetto, GCCB,!
(Yo, for O-C types only: while the address is 1900 4th, the whole building at Haines is labelled 1900…NMBeefJ is at the north end with parking on the side/back; i.e. not the liquor store! http://tinyurl.com/qxtycyf )
I have been buying carne seca from him since he only had the store on Central. So glad to see his success. He’s a good man and the food and prices can’t be beat! Go there! I spread the word every chance I get.
Frank has to be one of BEST business owners Ive actually met that providers services to his customers like FAMILY! He has really shown my family what it means to have a home cooked meal that I didn’t make myself. Frank has been very loyal & his beef jerky is quite consistent. I LOVE the HOT teryaki! I was able to try the taco burgers last time I dropped by. Frank allowed my kids to be themselves, I didn’t feel that the enviroment was anything less than GREAT. Frank I appreciate YOU and your hard work… YOU’VE come so far and the food is outstanding. Thank you again…Kelly HOPE & Faith.. I know you remember US. or my kids lol
OK, I guess I should say I had two (gotta try a red and a green, right?). Great burrito. My only “complaint” is that the green had more chicharones in it than the red, which could have used a few more. Other than that, service was great, food was great.
Had a taste of the wife’s carne adobada, and it was pretty darn good. Got 1/2 lb of the green chile carne seca. MMM, I love carne seca that has been hung on the percha as opposed to laying flat in a dehydrator. I should have tried samples of the others (red and habanero intrigue me, but that is why you go back more times, right?).
All in a all, a very enthusiastic thumbs up for this great little restaurant! Can’t wait to try the taco burgers…
What a nice surprise! I had a chicharone burrito with red and taco burgers. Both were great. The perfect ratio of beans and chicharones. I also picked up some red chile beef jerky – also excellent. The gave me a taste of their carne adovada. It really melts in your mouth! Very good flavor. My only regret was that they did not offer any diet soda. This will be a regular place for me from now on – it’s close to where I work.
Gil, you called it correctly. I had a carne adovada burrito there on Friday. It was so good. I’m definitely heading back there soon. I also picked up some of their chile & limon beef jerky – it was also very good, but be prepared for some serious heat.
Best beef jerky ever! Long time customer who didn’t believe things could get any better but Frank has out done himself by serving the most delicious burritos. If you love meat, this is the place to go! I also agree with the other comments regarding the hospitality not only from Frank and his crew but from Frank’s beautiful wife and kids!
I always thought that there was nothing better than a home cooked meal, but i was wrong New Mexico Beef Jerky Co. is just as good. The food is amazing, but what really makes this place what it is, is the hospitality you receive the moment you walk in. “thanks Frank for a wonderful experience”
I can’t wait to try this place. I have been unable to find a hand-held (i.e., not from a sit-down restaurant) chicarone burrito that gets me excited. In order to get my fix, I usually have to resort to getting a side of chicharonnes and red chile from Mary & Titos with a tortilla and make my own.
Great review, Gil. I’m going there for lunch today. Thank you.