This work is the result of 3 years of collaborative research between Mississippi State Univ. and New Mexico State Univ. Physical, chemical, and sensory characteristics were studied to assess eating quality of popular New Mexico pecan (Carya illinoinensis) cultivars. The force and energy necessary to break (shear) pecan nuts, and Hunter `a' and hue angle values varied with harvest year and cultivar. All other traits, including sensory evaluation results, varied only with cultivar. `Ideal' was of light color, small size, and not as firm as the others, while `Burkett' was soft and slightly rancid. `Wichita' was the cultivar rated best by panelists, despite its slightly darker color. `Western Schley' and `Salopek' were also acceptable, although not as acceptable as `Wichita'.