At Jalapeño Inferno, we consider Hatch a sacred place (owner Terry lived in New Mexico early in his career). Major controversy exists regionally between the Pueblo Colorado chili (misspelling intended), California, and Arizona versions. All claim theirs is the best. We subscribe to the “terroir” concept from our training and experience in the fine wine world. A layman would say the meaning of the French term is that the chiles (and grapes) taste like where they were grown. It is our belief that Hatch Chiles taste unique to the soil around Hatch and that all others, however very tasty, are simply not as flavorful. We do not want to engage in a debate regarding Pueblo vs. Hatch—sorry!
We offer a couple of pointers when choosing your own chiles. Many of the local Phoenix larger chain grocery stores feature them every season First; look for a bright, green color – the brighter the better. Second, check the shape as well, the perfect pepper is symmetrical. Pick one up, the skin should be smooth, and upon squeezing, should be firm. It should feel fairly heavy in the hand for its size, ready to burst with flavor. Too much work? Sit back and let us do all the work – and order another Margarita!
Each year, for the last 20 years, we ask our friends over at Grand Avenue Produce in Phoenix to send a truck over to get these locally famous chiles for us for our annual Hatch Chile menu. We ask them to source the XX HOT ones—usually determined by the pickers in the field. And every year at Jalapeño Inferno, these precious chiles run out extremely fast.