NM Rodeo Burgers – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

NM Rodeo Burgers In Rio Rancho

“Traveling with the rodeo
It’s the only life I’ll ever know
I started in New Mexico
Must have been a thousand years ago.”
~Lyrics to “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” by Paul Davis

Although my friends and I were all fairly accomplished horse riders in the svelte and carefree days of our youth, Peñasco didn’t have a high school rodeo team so we couldn’t show off our skills in the arena of competition. Instead we entertained ourselves with such non-sanctioned “rodeo” events as hand-fishing for bottom-feeding suckers and tossing them into a chicken coop where a frenzied take-away melee would ensue with feathers and fish entrails flying. We also enjoyed tossing wet bailing wire into electrical wires overhead. if done right, the bailing wire returned to earth a smoldering ashen heap reminiscent of snake fireworks.

Risking life and limb with thousands of volts of electrical current was child’s play compared to riding rambunctious young bulls who would invariably toss us to the ground with impunity. My days of bull riding ended when a recalcitrant bull was spooked by a horse who aimed a kick at my flank, leaving me no recourse but to jump off into a fresh, fetid pile of horse and cow sh…er, excrement. Memories of walking home to face my mom covered head-to-toe in manure were rekindled when a Burger King commercial for its new “rodeo burger” aired. It wasn’t the brawny beef on the hoof we rode I associated with that commercial, but the dung pile into which I fell. That’s the “appeal” chain restaurants seem to have with me.

The Rodeo Burgers Menu

I did a double-take when first spotting the NM Rodeo Burgers restaurant in Rio Rancho. My first thought was of the maverick rodeo days of my youth then of America’s eagerly litigious society and its affinity for copyright infringement lawsuits. A quick Google search revealed a number of Rodeo Burgers throughout the fruited plain and even Canada so copyright shouldn’t be an issue. Side note: Even though Rio Rancho can’t claim the very first Rodeo Burgers restaurant across the fruited plain, the Land of Enchantment is one of several claimants to having held the very first rodeo in America. That rodeo transpired in Santa Fe some 65 years before New Mexico joined the Union. Take that Texas!

The NM Rodeo Burgers is more a “joint” than a “restaurant.” There are no indoor sit-down amenities save for a handful of concrete picnic tables where you can dine al fresco (or “al viento” on windy days). To place your order, you can either drive up or walk up to the counter at the front of the edifice which once housed a Weinerschnitzel (which long ago misplaced its “Der”). While its address (900 36th Place, N.E.) may sound residential and unfamiliar, look for it off Southern Boulevard in the same cul-de-sac which is home to the Turtle Mountain Brewery.

The Rodeo Burgers Unique Hamburger Menu

The Rodeo Burgers menu (pictured above) may be limited in terms of sheer numbers, but for sheer variety look within the burgers themselves. The Cowboy Burger, for example, includes spam and green bell peppers, two ingredients not often found in burgers around these parts. The 8 Second Burger is even more uniquely adorned. If you’re inclined to think these burgers were designed by a rodeo clown, you really need to lasso one before passing judgment.

You’d think that with my personal rodeo experiences, my inaugural burger would have been the 8 Second Burger (in the rodeo vernacular, eight seconds is the length of time a rider should remain on a bucking bull for it to be considered a good ride). Even cowboys start with baby steps, ergo the Cowboy Burger. What caused me most trepidation is actually one of the best aspects of this burger. That would be the Spam (ukuleles playing Home on the Range in the background) which, though a bit salty, complemented the beef very well. The green chile, described as mild chopped green chile, actually has more bite than found in most green chile cheeseburgers. The beef patty extended beyond the sesame seed buns and the burger was made fresh to order. On the debits and credits side of the ledger, these were the credits.

The Cowboy Burger

On the debits side, the beef is prepared at medium-well, a degree of doneness which almost always means desiccated beef (no napkins necessary). The green peppers are sliced into rather thick ribbons which makes them more prevalent an ingredient than all but the most ardent green pepper lovers would enjoy. The lettuce was a bit wilted. Still, this is a burger I’ll order again if only to confirm how good Spam can be on a burger.

The same can’t be said for the Rancher, a hot dog whose composition isn’t described on the drive-up menu. Certainly the ranching profession is far from glamorous, but a restaurant creative enough to add Spam to a burger can certainly gussy up a hot dog with exciting and innovative ingredients. Alas, upon wrapping the Rancher at home, it was nothing more than a toasted bun with a sliced hot dog. No mustard. No onions. No relish. No sense of rodeo adventure. If the ordering protocol is to stipulate the ingredients with which you want your hot dog prepared, it certainly wasn’t described anywhere. Grrrrr!

The Rancher

Rodeo Burgers shows some imagination and creativity in its menu, but must perform well on every single order or discerning diners won’t return.

NM Rodeo Burgers
900 36th Place, N.E.
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 5 September 2014
COST: $$
BEST BET:Cowboy Burger

Nm Rodeo Burgers on Urbanspoon

12 thoughts on “NM Rodeo Burgers – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

  1. I feel honored to have a small part in all this discussion on the intricate delicacy of ‘SPAM’! I now realize I had a very sheltered childhood and missed out on a lot. If wish Helms was still there and I also miss Van DeCamp chocolate chip cookies. Does Spam go with Green or Red Chile or is Christmas Spam a must???

  2. Spam, spam, spam. Sorry I could not mis that chance. But seriously, Sr. Plata Hawaii has created a culinary culture with spam since the military introduced it to the locals. You can see SPAM Sushi on restaurant menues and nobody even raises an eyebrow. The street food scene has picked up in it too. Central NM is sometimes slower to get hit with culinary trends as you know. Happy eating!

    1. The Spam sushi to which you refer is available at Kim’s Hawaiian BBQ, one of the Duke City’s most popular food trucks.

      Spam lovers should head on out to Cafe Placitas for their “Spam, Eggs, Bacon and Spam” plate. It’s reputed to be calorifically delicious.

      The Pueblo Harvest Cafe on the grounds of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center offers Spam as an option on huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos and a la carte.

      A must read for Duke City area Spam lovers comes from the Albuquerque Journal’s recently retired (and already much missed) columnist Leslie Linthicum. Here she write about the New Mexico State Fair’s Spam contest where intrepid cooks prove the versatility and deliciousness of Spam.

  3. Yes, I noticed the buger after I hit Send Comment but in defense I never claimed I could type. In proofing less than 24-hours after writing something I always read exactly what I intended to write. Reading it the next day all I can think is “2nd grade dropout!”
    I am afraid we are not brothers. Mom’s name was Velma and I never set foot in Joizy or New York until I was almost 18 and only for one day then. I was working an after school and summer job at the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company when a few days before college was to start there was going to be a Union vote. The manager figured he knew how all us kids would vote so we were all fired. Dad worked for Braniff so I got a $3 round trip pass to NYC and one day to wander around by myself. -quick cultural shock. The day before going I went dove hunting with some friends and was covered with chiggers, especially on what we will call my private parts. My most distinct memory is the misery of walking in such a condition.

  4. Jim,
    Velveeta from the foil package was the bomb. I used it for omelets, on fresh, never toasted, bagels and Bialys.
    Peanut butter and jelly on fresh, never toasted white bread kept me alive as a kid.
    Baloney and cheese, especially Velveeta on fresh, never toasted rye was as good as it gets.
    Was your mother’s name Beatrice?
    Are you my long lost brother?
    And if you’re listening, B-A-L, you place one slice of fresh, never toasted white, or fresh, never toasted rye in the palm of your hand. Then you spread the PB, or jelly, never Welch’s grape, onto said slice. And adding potato chips to the simplicity of a terrific PB and J, well gag me with a spoon.
    And Jim, it that a bugger or a burger, or a buger? Make mine a burger, thanks.

  5. Sr Plata, Unfortunately I did grow up with Spam. It was Mom’s home cooking (which she learned from her mother). 2/3 of our dinners were boiled chicken & mashed potatoes but we occasionally were treated with canned sardines, Spam, PB&J, baloney, hot dogs, liverwurst or fine cheese such as pimento or Velveeta. Years later I bought a can of Spam. My God the salt but that would probably make it good with a buger; just put the shaker away.

  6. OMG Sr. Plata…where oh where have you been? As my Aunt was want to chide Folks who would try to yank her chain about my uncle (a Normandy Lander) being a travelling salesman selling Spam for Hormel Co.: Eh! It’s what kept food on the table!!!
    ~Lo and behold there is even a national SPAM Championship recipe contest to which you can submit a recipe entry during our very own State Fair http://tinyurl.com/l5gmrsj Be forewarned however, as New Mexican roots in the contest run deep http://tinyurl.com/k36v2cw
    ~Personally, I can’t bring myself to try Spam on a burger. I prefer it unadulterated, except for a little mayo on toast. Tips: I think a quick saute of thin slices is best vs straight out of the can or the moderne, single slice pack. If you are a Veggie/Vegan, I class it in the category of “Unknown” akin to the dogs of The Dog House so it’s no problema to indulge in!!!!
    ~Re “in the Plata So Cal home it was a PB&(Knott’s)J”:. Again, I’m so sorry you were deprived! Next time, as I’ve stated elsewhere: toast the white (Helm’s or Wonder) bread. This prevents tearing when spreading on the (nutty) peanut butter upon which you can spread Knott’s jelly or Welch’s Grape Jelly. On the opposing toast, spread Marshmallow Fluff http://tinyurl.com/nawb47j for the Ultimate PB&J&MF!!!!! A few potato chips, for a sweet/salty contrast is the ultimate delight!

  7. Hello my Friend, would like to hear more about spam as an item served in restaurant food, this is a first for me to see it on a menu. I didn’t grow up with it, a sandwich was a peanut butter and knots berry farm jelly in the Plata So Cal home….

    1. Hello Tom

      You’re a man after my own heart. A burger should always be hand-ground chuck (preferably hormone-free chuck shoulder and chuck tenders as used at the Santa Fe Bite) with an 80/20 fat ratio for optimum taste and juiciness–and it should never be prepared beyond medium. Unfortunately you can’t always count on burger purveyors to do their part. I cringe every time a cook mashes the spatula on a beef patty.


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