Chile 'Sloppers' Put Pueblo, CO on the Map

Just exactly what they are? We'll explain.

On Monday, November 21, 2011 - 17:54
Pueblo, CO

In Pueblo, a burger is more than just a burger.

Smother it with the city's famous green chilis and top with raw onions and you've got a slopper, Pueblo's unique contribution to the food world.

Slopper Beginnings

The origin of the messy meal (most often served in a bowl, to be eaten with a spoon) is a little cloudy. Although it is known to have originated in Pueblo, no one can agree on which restaurant was the first to serve it.

Today, more than 25 Pueblo restaurants slop up sloppers, and they're all a little different.

“It’s the green chili,” says Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce president Rod Slyhoff. “Everyone’s green chili recipe is different to their taste. Almost all of the recipes are handed down from generation to generation and perfected along the way, and highly guarded.”

Where to Find a Slopper

Just a few slopper favorites in the city include the Hen House in Pueblo West, Romero's Cafe on the Riverwalk, Jorge’s Sombrero, Papa Jose’s Union Cafe, and Star Bar on Spring Street.

Star Bar goes through about five gallons of green chili a day. Five pounds of green chilies, five pounds of pork, diced tomatoes and a bit of salt and pepper go into the pot and are simmered for at least two hours. The result is chili that’s brought customers back ever since the Star Bar began serving up the slopper 45 years ago.

It's All in the Name

Many restaurants give their creations distinctive names.

Romero’s Café serves a Green Giant Slopper, and Mad Hatter Bar & Grille sells a Mad Slopper. And then there's the Thunder Humper at Gold Dust Saloon.

“The chili can also range from being really thin to really thick,” Slyhoff says. “Some restaurants use potatoes to thicken it, while others use a roux of corn starch and milk to thicken it, and a couple places even use refried beans.”

In addition, the green chili can be served mild, medium or hot.

And just in case you're wondering, Slyhoff practices what he preaches.

“I’m working on having a slopper at all 25 locations,” Slyhoff says. “So far, they’re all excellent.”

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