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How to Make Any Burrito in 5 Steps

By • July 8, 2013 • 37 Comments

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Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: You don't need a recipe to make a burrito -- you just need to know the art of burrito rolling.

How to Make a Burrito

The burrito's essence is a big hunk of stuff (meat, beans, rice, etc.) wrapped up in a large flour tortilla. It gets its name from the pack animals, the burros, which delivered them from Sonora when our borders were more porous than they are now. In central and southern Mexico the tortilla of preference is corn. This makes for a nice taco, but not a burrito.

The arc of the story goes like this: a burrito is border food, a hybrid of northern Mexico and the U.S. border states, its wellspring in Southern California and Arizona. Diana Kennedy’s book My Mexico doesn’t even mention it. However, you can learn a lot from Gustavo Arellano’s Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.

In his book Arellano describes the “Mission Style” burrito, which originated in San Francisco’s Mission district. This was the prototypical assembly line concept that the Chipotle chain eventually adopted. The steps you will see below are based on this style. The essence is a very large flour tortilla filled up with beans, rice, etc., swiftly folded and then taking on an external carapace of aluminum foil. You don't need a recipe for this. You just need to know how to roll.

How to Make Any Burrito in 5 Steps

1. Heat your oven to 350° F and then go to work. First, set up your mise en place: your meat of choice, heated refried beans (canned is fine), cooked long grain rice, grated cheese (swiss, jack, cheddar, or a mix) or crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro (optional), chopped cabbage, salsa of your preference -- homemade is best, but you can use a jarred salsa. I like the Rick Bayless tomatillo style.

How to Make a Burrito

2. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil just larger than the big flour tortilla you are about to lay on top of it. You need the largest tortilla you can find for this -- I use 10-inch. Next, cover the midsection of your tortilla with a layer of beans and your cheese of choice. Spoon on some rice, chopped cabbage, a sprinkle of cilantro, and then a generous drizzle of salsa. That’s the fill.

How to Make a Burrito


3. Next: the fold and the wrap. Pretend you are facing north. Fold over the east and west sides to cover the ingredients by about a third of the way from each end.

How to Make a Burrito

4. Now pull the south side (closest to you) over the ingredients, allowing a margin at the far end. Pull toward you as you roll northward. Seal by pushing everything on top of that last bare margin of tortilla. Sometimes it helps to dip a finger in water and run it along the margin first. You might need to poke the ends in a bit to keep tucked.

How to Make a Burrito

5. To finish, wrap the burrito in the foil in exactly the same way you folded the tortilla. Bake this in the oven for 8 minutes. Lunch is ready.

How to Make a Burrito

Still want a recipe? Here are a few things to put in that burrito:
Chicken Tinga
Diana Kennedy's Carnitas
Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde)

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (37)

Tags: not recipes, burrito, mexican food, summer, lunch, how to, california, mission-style burrito, san francisco, how-to & diy

Comments (37)

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about 1 year ago frog

Peter Fox wrote a great piece on the history and evolution of the burrito:
Burritos -- A Search For Beginnings
By Peter Fox, The Washington Post © 4 November 1998
It can be had at the Washington Post Archive for a fee, but I have a copy if you would like me to send it to you.

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Frog, I would love to read that. I just this past week interviewed Gustavo Arellano and the burrito is a key thread. Unfortunately the precise history (and dates) is a bit murky. Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles and I like to think his last meal was a burrito and not a Tombstone chimichanga. Yes, please send.

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about 1 year ago frog

Burritos -- A Search For Beginnings
By Peter Fox, The Washington Post © 4 November 1998

I love burritos. I'm a burrito brother. Literally. In 1989 I founded Burrito Brothers, Washington's first burrito place, so you'd think that by now I'd be an expert on the subject. I did know that burritos were made by wrapping a flour tortilla around any number of fillings, usually meat, beans, rice and salsa. While I was growing up in San Francisco, I knew them by the nickname "logs," a term of endearment for a healthful fast food that filled your stomach without emptying your wallet.
Then, a couple of years ago, my favorite food evolved into something different. Suddenly they weren't being called burritos at all. They were "wraps," and they were everywhere--except, it seemed, in Mexican restaurants. This got me wondering about the process of culinary evolution. Where did the original burrito come from? What did it taste like? Was it anything like what I knew as a burrito? After all, if a pollo asada burrito could turn into a grilled-chicken Caesar salad wrap overnight, who knew what evolution the burrito went through to become what we know it as today? I decided to find out.
In late June, I met with Dana Ingersoll, a freelance photographer, and began a cross-country quest for the origin of the burrito. We were determined to trace its history through the people who know it best--the owners and operators of old burrito places. As we followed the historical trail, and got closer and closer to the source, the burritos became smaller and smaller, and our favorite ingredients disappeared one by one. When we finally found what we thought was the original burrito, it was very different from the burritos we knew and loved. The burrito's evolution seemed like a cross-generational version of the children's game of telephone, in which a message is passed through so many people that the message at the end is completely different from the original.
I must say upfront that this search was viewed with some skepticism by the many people with whom I spoke. Burritos are not considered worthy of study by serious students of Mexican cuisine. Many Mexican cookbooks do not mention burritos at all, or dismiss them as "Tex-Mex" or as an Americanized version of Mexican food. My questions were often met with looks that made me feel as if I had stepped into a diner in America to inquire in all seriousness about the origins of the tossed salad, or as if I had asked a hot dog vendor if he knew precisely why they were called "hot dogs." Here's what I found.

San Francisco
San Francisco is the burrito capital of the United States. I got hooked on burritos there as a high-school kid. I was fascinated by the skill of the Mexican-born burrito makers. While their English was rough, their movements were smooth and precise as they spooned beans, rice and salsa into freshly steamed flour tortillas. With a quick flip, tuck and roll, the food was transformed into an edible cylinder of bliss wrapped in foil.
The best and oldest places are in San Francisco's Mission District, the neighborhood named for Mission Dolores, the Spanish mission built in 1776. It is a predominantly Latino neighborhood, and burritos are the food of the Mission. Ask any San Franciscan to name his or her favorite burrito place, and you will hear about El Toro, La Taqueria, Taqueria Can Cun, Taqueria La Cumbre, El Farolito, La Rondalla, Andele, Taqueria Pancho Villa, El Faro, Taqueria San Jose and many others. Everyone has a favorite, and each place has its specialty. My favorites are the chile relleno burritos at Pancho Villa, the bean and cheese burrito with fresh avocado at La Taqueria, and the vegetarian burrito at Taqueria Can Cun.
The first places to serve burritos here were La Cumbre on Valencia Street and El Faro on Folsom Street. Both were originally markets (El Faro was a grocery, La Cumbre a meat market) that began serving burritos and tacos in the late 1960s. A few years later, both places dropped their other operations to concentrate on the popular burritos.
Our first step was to talk to Raul Duran, owner of La Cumbre. He said he began selling burritos after a friend from Los Angeles told him that people there were making money selling them. (That made L.A. our next stop.) Duran first tried burritos in Tijuana, Mexico, but didn't remember ever having them as a kid growing up in a little Mexican town near the border near El Paso. He did, however, remember guys with carts or just a pot of cooked meat who sold tacos in the streets. "One guy would sell beef tripe, another pork, another tongue. They would make up a bunch of stuff at the beginning of the day, and then sell until it was all gone. Those tacos were fantastic." Duran changed his former meat market into a taquer{idotless}a because he was inspired by those street vendors. The tacos were small, typically just meat in a tortilla, and you would eat several to make a meal. (Almost by definition, tacos are made with corn tortillas, and burritos with flour tortillas. Tacos tend to be small because, given the lack of gluten in corn, there's a limit to how big corn tortillas can be.)
The burritos at Duran's La Cumbre and everywhere else in San Francisco, however, are big. Really big. Most of them weigh at least a pound, and at many places you can get deluxe burritos or superburritos that are even bigger. Typically, the burritos are made with a 12-inch flour tortilla that is either steamed or grilled, then filled with pinto or black beans (whole or refried), rice and fresh tomato salsa. You can then choose from several types of meats like carne asada (grilled beef), carnitas (slow-cooked pork), chicken (in green tomatillo sauce, red chili sauce or grilled), al pastor (pork cutlets stacked on a gyro spindle and sliced), chile verde (pork in green sauce), lengua (beef tongue) or cabeza (head). Extras like guacamole, sour cream, cheese, tomato, lettuce, cilantro and salsas from red to green and hot to mild can be added as well. Some of the larger places offer other foods like chiles rellenos, flautas, grilled shrimp, grilled green onions, and more.
The burrito here in San Francisco may have been infected with the American bigger-is-better syndrome. Duran told us that customers really like big burritos, and so that's what he makes. But that, remember, was just since the late '60s. We decided to move on to L.A., source of Duran's burrito inspiration and where we hoped to find evidence of earlier burritos.

Los Angeles
L.A. does have an older Mexican "colonia" than San Francisco. The oldest continuously run Mexican restaurant there, opened in 1927, is El Cholo. They make a superb green corn tamale, delicate and light (made from sweet young corn and served only when corn is in season), but El Cholo didn't start serving burritos until the late '70s, well after the San Francisco places.
Olvera Street downtown has some great little Mexican places that date back to the 1930s. One of them, La Luz del Dia, makes corn tortillas by hand in the traditional way. When I walked in, I saw four or five Mexican woman rolling out the tortillas using a metate, a grinding stone made from volcanic stone. The food was great, but there were no burritos. The owner, Frank Cazares, explained that burritos are not part of most Mexican cooking because small corn tortillas, not flour tortillas, are popular in most of Mexico. Flour tortillas, he said, are popular only in Northern Mexico, in the state of Sonora in particular. He also said he knew of some popular places in Tijuana that served burritos. Sonora, Tijuana--Sonora sounded promising, but Tijuana was closer. I wondered where to go next.
The next day, I began asking around in East L.A., along Cesar Chavez Street, formerly Brooklyn Avenue, the heart of the oldest Latin neighborhood in the city. I was directed to a small place on Evergreen called El Tepeyac. It has served burritos since 1954, and the founder and owner, Manuel Rojas, greeted us, answered some questions and let us try his burritos. The place has a devoted following, and at lunch that day I met six people who said they'd been customers for 30 years or more. The burritos were a little different here. They were served on plates, not wrapped in foil, and could be ordered with sauce on top, which you would never find in San Francisco. They were just as big here, though. One of the burritos, Manuel's Special, weighed nearly five pounds! The burritos were not just big, they were tasty. All the ingredients were absolutely fresh, and the sauces were complex. The guacamole was wonderfully flavorful, and the beans were light.
Rojas and Lucy Martinez, our waitress (who has worked at El Tepeyac for 25 years), both said they first tried burritos in Tijuana. That was enough for us: We drove south and crossed the border.
Tijuana, Baja California
In Tijuana, we met Ricardo Torres, a boxing trainer who is a friend of Miguel Hara, the owner of La Taqueria in San Francisco. Torres told us that the oldest and most famous burritos in Tijuana came from Restaurante del Bol Corona, which has several locations in town. We found one about a 10-minute drive from downtown, near the bullfighting ring. It was a small building with a carryout window and some high chairs set up at an outdoor counter.
The menu here was exclusively burritos, but these burritos were very different from the ones north of the border. They were about half the size of California burritos, and usually had only one or two ingredients inside. They were also folded differently: The meat-filled 12-inch tortilla was folded on a hot griddle into a flat rectangle, not the usual cylinder. Several kinds of beef were offered as fillings (carne asada, caldillo or stew, and machaca, made by boiling and shredding beef), pork (carnitas and chile verde), chicken (in red chilies), shrimp (grilled), lobster, and beans and cheese. There was no rice, no guacamole, no sour cream. There were two salsas, one hot and one mild, both excellent. The burritos were great, but different from what we were used to.
Restaurante del Bol Corona has a long history. It started in 1934 as a small bar with an eight-seat counter that served burritos as snacks. By the 1950s, it had added eight bowling lanes and had become an entertainment destination on Tijuana's Main Street (now Avenida Revolucion). That location popularized burritos in Tijuana and showed many future entrepreneurs that there was a future in the burrito business. It also allowed Restuarante del Bol Corona to expand, and open additional locations in Tijuana. Today Bol Corona also wholesales burritos to convenience stores, and has a factory that manufactures 60,000 flour tortillas a day.
The owner (and son of the founder) Leopoldo "Polo" Borquez, spent the morning with me touring his tortilla factory and talking burritos. He told me that his family came from Alamos and Navojoa in Sonora, where he thought burritos originated. He was certain that his father had been the first to serve burritos in Tijuana, and may have been the first anywhere to make shrimp and lobster burritos. This made our next step obvious.

Hermosillo, Sonora
Sonora is just south of Arizona. Most of the state is an arid plain, dotted with saguaro cacti. The area is well suited to ranching and it is known for the quality of its beef. As we had been told to expect, flour tortillas were the norm here. They came in a wide variety of sizes and thicknesses, from very small (4-inch diameter) to the legendary tortillas sobacas, or armpit tortillas, which get their name because they stretch from the shoulder to the hand of the person making them.
In Hermosillo, the state capital, we found lots of street vendors serving burritos. In the main mercado, or market, several stalls made fresh flour tortillas, and several served burritos. The Hermosillo burritos were tasty and much like the ones we had seen in Tijuana, but none of the vendors or market proprietors knew anything about the burrito's origins.
As we left the market, we walked along a tree-lined street on a high sidewalk adjoining a park. We were disappointed--after all, this was the capital city of the state that we hoped was the birthplace of the burrito. Just as we were about to give up and move on to another city, we heard a voice call out to us in English, "Hey, are you guys looking for something? Maybe I can help you."
We looked over and saw a friendly-looking young man in a pickup truck looking over at us. "My name is Alberto," he called. "I'm visiting my parents here. Can I help you?"
We were a little guarded at first, but Alberto Munoz turned out to be our angel. He took us to Restaurant Xochimilco (so-chee-MEEL-ko), which has been in business for 49 years. It seats 300, and is Sonora's top restaurant.
The owner and founder, Poncho Durazo, is 80 years old and an authority on Sonoran cooking. Durazo told us that machaca burritos (the ones made with boiled, shredded beef) are the Sonora tradition. Before refrigeration, he said, beef was preserved by drying it in thin slices. Machaca is made by later pounding and cooking the dried beef back to tenderness. The word comes from the Spanish machacar, which means to pound or crush. Beef machaca was a staple for the miners, ranchers and cowboys who lived on these arid plains in the 19th century. Machaca burritos were an easily portable meal for these workers. The name "burrito" probably comes from an old Spanish saying, "If I had a horse, I would go make my fortune, but I only have a little donkey" (the Spanish for "little donkey" is "burrito").
Durazo makes his machaca and machaca burritos the traditional way, just the way his mother made them and her mother before that. So finally, we felt, we had found the holy grail and would taste the original burrito!
But when the burrito came out from the kitchen, we wondered if there had been some mistake. This humble burrito was very small--maybe 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter, a far cry from the hefty burritos we were used to. The meat, while smoky and flavorful, was a little bit dry and chewy, as you might expect dried beef to be.
I was disappointed, but only for a moment: I realized that all was as it should be. I had found the original burrito, but I had also found out something more basic. Things change. Tastes change. Foods evolve. Each new cook interprets the past and creates a new riff on an old theme. The original may not be the best. It is not that new is better or that old is better, but that each interpretation may be valid for a particular time and place. For me, I'll stick with the California style any day. But that is my own bias. It's what I grew up on. So although I traveled far to make my discovery, I, like the burrito itself, eventually folded back on myself and came home to the old standby.
Peter Fox reported on his burrito quest for National Public Radio this past summer. Photographer Dana Ingersoll recorded their month-long trek.

The Makings of a Classic Burrito
The following recipes make the components of classic beef or chicken burritos. To assemble the burrito: Steam or grill a 12-inch flour tortilla for 30 seconds to soften it. Then spoon about 1/4 cup salsa, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup meat down the center of the burrito. Fold 2 to 3 inches of the right and left sides in. Flip the bottom up over the filling, tuck it in and roll up the burrito. Cheese, guacamole, hot sauce or sour cream may be added to the filling as desired.

Pollo Asada
(Grilled Chicken)
(Makes enough for 4 burritos)
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt to taste
2 to 3 limes
About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat the grill or broiler.
Remove the skin from the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with the salt and lime juice to taste. Brush lightly with the oil. Grill or broil on both sides until cooked. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Per serving: 233 calories, 38 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 104 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 223 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

Carne Asada
(Grilled Beef)
(Makes enough for 4 burritos)
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (flank steak can be substituted)
Salt to taste
About 2 tablespoons oil
Preheat the grill or broiler.
Trim all fat from the skirt steaks and pound until no more than 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt, brush with oil, and grill or broiler on both sides until cooked. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Per serving (using flank steak): 324 calories, 41 gm protein, 0 gm carbohydrates, 17 gm fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 6 gm saturated fat, 220 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

Burrito Rice
(Makes enough for 12 burritos)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons corn or canola oil
2 cups long-grain white rice (not parboiled rice)
Salt to taste
4 cups water
Saute the tomatoes, onions and garlic in oil in a saucepan until the onions become limp and some of the moisture from the tomatoes has evaporated. Add the rice and salt, saute for a couple of minutes longer. Add the water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir to fluff the rice and allow to stand for a few minutes with the cover on.
Per serving: 161 calories, 3 gm protein, 30 gm carbohydrates, 3 fat, 0 mg cholesterol, trace saturated fat, 183 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Burrito Beans
(Makes enough for 12 burritos)
1 pound dried pinto or black beans
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons salt
Pick through the beans, discarding stones or dirt. Wash the beans three times. Place them in a large stockpot and cover with water (cover the beans by 2 to 3 inches). Discard any beans that float. Add the whole garlic cloves and the chopped onion. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the beans are soft, but not quite done. Add the salt and continue simmering until the beans are tender and cooked, but not mushy.
Per serving: 188 calories, 11 gm protein, 35 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, trace saturated fat, 536 mg sodium, 10 gm dietary fiber

Salsa Bandera
("Flag" Salsa)
(Makes enough for 12 burritos)
This salsa contains the red, white and green of the Mexican flag. The recipe comes from Nancy de Valenzuela at Ceneduria Somala in Alamos, Mexico.
3 large tomatoes, chopped very fine
2 medium white onions, chopped very fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
2 stalks celery, chopped very fine
6 jalapeno chili peppers or 1 medium cucumber
Oregano to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the tomatoes, onions, garlic and celery in a bowl. For a hot salsa, use the jalapenos with their seeds, chopped fine. For medium heat, remove the seeds from the chilies first. For mild salsa, substitute the cucumber, chopped fine, for the chilies. Season with a few dashes of oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 40 calories, 2 gm protein, 8 gm carbohydrates, trace fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber



 

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Señor Frog, thank you very much posting that! I looked back into the footnotes of Gustavo's TACO USA and indeed the Fox article is cited. At some point I will share my own interview with the author which was a lot of fun to write. By the way, El Tepeyac was one of the shrines of my college years. But so was Lucy's on Pico blvd. No wonder DC has better burritos than NYC. By the way, The Flying Burrito Brothers were one of the all time great LA bands.

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about 1 year ago bugbitten

Great article, pierino. Thanks!

Karl

about 1 year ago Karl Rosaen

Karl is Food52's VP of Technology.

Great post. A related tip: burritos are freezer friendly! Sometimes I'll make a ton in one day and then freeze them in batches of two.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Karl, I had no idea! But it makes perfect sense . . . wrapping the burrito tightly, then wrapping tightly in foil. Many thanks for letting us know. So, so useful. ;o)

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about 1 year ago marialissio

So from my cultural background (Italian) this looks like fusion fast food from the American side of the border on the west coast. My mother would revolve in her grave if I prepared this in our house. My husband would consider it grounds for divorce. I live in a "keep it pure" world. Am I missing out on something great or what?

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Actually a burrito is (with some exceptions)no more fusion food than a sandwich is. It's looked on with some disdain south of the border because it's associated with poverty. For the braceros who entered our country to work in our fields in the days before Caesar Chavez. It usually consisted of nothing more than a flour tortilla and beans.
As to fusion, Roy Choi (Korean-American) in LA was heavily influenced by Mexican food and decided to combine it with Korean. David Chang in New York (also Korean-American)tried it out but it didn't go over so well in NYC.

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

If that's how you and your family feels about food, I'd wager you're probably missing out on a lot of great stuff! I'm not sure how a burrito isn't pure, unless it's just a regional thing. Italian food isn't the only good food out there!

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Speaking of regional, the official state food of Arizona is the chimichanga, a deep fried burrito. It probably originated in Tuscon but a place in Phoenix has also made a claim. Apparently the state legislature in Arizona doesn't have anything more serious to do.

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I wish there were a way to edit comment typos, because that should be "Tucson". The most credible claim to the chimichanga is El Charro. Very good "border" food. Another good one in town is Poca Cosa.

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about 1 year ago ElfHerself

Yes, you are missing out on something great!

Chris_in_oslo

about 1 year ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I saw pierino's recent hotline description of how to make a burrito and thought it was brilliantly clear. So clear that I found myself making burritos even though there are great ones to be had all around me. The FOOD52 pictures make it even better. Go out, everyone (or rather, stay in, everyone!)and have a burrito.

Pict1821

about 1 year ago Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

Thanks pierino, I know what I'll be having for dinner tonight!

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Excellent piece. I especially appreciate the historical background, not to mention your impeccable writing. FOOD52 needs more pierino on the Features page! ;o)

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

AJ here is my interview with Gustavo Arellano http://eggsinpurgatory...
It just didn't seem to fit any of the Food52 "Features" formats. But anyway it was really fun. He's a very smart guy.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, pierino! Will take a look at that soon. Inspired by the conversation here, I checked out Gustavo Arellano's book from the library -- fascinating, delightfully quirky and a fun read. ;o)

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about 1 year ago Trena

Great tips, thanks Pierino!

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about 1 year ago thirschfeld

Makes me want a burrito, badly!

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Heating up the tortilla makes it so much easier to wrap, with no chances of tearing. Also, when you put the beans in, don't tap them on to the tortilla, or it'll ruin the tortilla! And don't "unwrap, or it's in your lap". Unwrap the burrito, slowly, as you eat it!

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I will politely disagree with darksideofthespoon with regard to heating the tortilla. Soft tortillas get sticky real quickly. I learned this the hard way when I was a breakfast cook at a B&B. I use a 10" very soft flour tortilla and at least this version gets a bake in the oven so it will be plenty warm when it comes out. But there are myriad versions of this typical border food. Again you can skip the bean step completely.

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Fair enough! Maybe you have more pliable tortilla's than I have access, too, but if I don't heat them, the sides tear open while I roll it - not matter how gentile I am! (I make a lot of burrito's.... I work in a mexican restaurant!) And a burrito without beans is a tragedy. ;) Just sayin'!

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

access to*. Darn phone's auto correct!

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Ain't nothing wrong with being gentile, especially if you are cooking pork ;-) Beans are good. Especially when they are cooked the traditional way with lard.

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Ahah. Oh god! My phone is evil. Gentle. ;)

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about 1 year ago savorthis

We like to flip flop the tortilla over a low burner on our stove (gas, of course) first. Not only does it make a few nice toasty charred spots, but the steam inside the tortilla puffs it up a bit. It's also important to peel the foil carefully as you go. You only need to chew on foil once with a filling to never, ever want to do it again! But oh how I miss the real Mission burritos! Denver makes 'em good and smothered, but our first stop in SF is almost always El Farolito (home of the famous painting Trompo de Pastor).

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about 1 year ago acookswords

I have better luck with pre-heating the tortilla, also, darksideofthespoon. It's especially helpful this time year when I want a burrito filled with cold, crisp textures for which warming in the oven is inappropriate.

Cakes

about 1 year ago Bevi

I was taught by my goddaughter's husband, a native Mexican, to heat the tortilla directly over the gas flame, getting a char in spots, and folding immediately. We never had a problem with stickiness. His parents owned a restaurant in Los Angeles and they used that and several other methods to preheat their tortillas.

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Bevi, the true heart and soul of the burrito is in Los Angeles and there are so many ways to work with it. If you are going to serve it plain, sans foil, that's one way to go. But if you are doing it "mission style" that step is not necessary. Soon we will get to the other LA thing which is the "wet" burrito, no foil, run under the salamander or broiler. This is what makes burritos great is that there are so many things you can do with the basic format---which makes it a perfect five step process.

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about 1 year ago acookswords

Not to mention fewer steps; I've never thought of either the one true burrito, or as something requiring a specific number of steps. That's always been the beauty of the beast, to me.

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about 1 year ago acookswords

It is difficult to place a response where it best belongs here. By fewer steps, I was referring to heating the tortilla first (I have never experienced stickiness, even with fresh ones I'm able to find locally), skipping the foil and oven heating when making one with crisp, chilled filling. And a requisite number of steps is puzzling; it's a burrito, not a recipe.

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about 1 year ago sansan123

savorthis. Oh, you have made me home sick. I live in France but whenever I fly out to SF, whoever meets me at the airport comes armed with a burrito from El Farolito!I will use the rolling technique since am doing chilie verde next week and can freeze a bunch

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about 1 year ago beejay45

Oh, man! You have me cracking up! ;)

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about 1 year ago beejay45

Dang. No where I meant to put that comment. Sorry.

Zester_003

about 1 year ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

The example I've used here is meatless. I had to make about 25 of these recently and some of the guests were vegetarian. You can add meat of course. My personal favorite is carnitas. With meat you might want to omit the beans but the filling is up to you. I like a nice fat burrito but be careful not to overstuff or you will get the dreaded burrito blow out.

Miglore

about 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

For any eagle eyes out there, we did use grilled fish in the burrito pictured above, simply because we had it on hand! (And it turned out to make an excellent burrito.)