The burrito is an example of filling, satisfying, and really delicious Tex-Mex food. Ingredients that will really quell your hunger – rice, meat, vegetables, cheese, beans, etc. – are wrapped inside a folded soft tortilla. This is not just a snack – this is a complete food!
The history of the burrito is never really truly defined. This food was introduced to the United States during the 1900s and from then on, many people are making it and selling it in different parts of the country. The Mission burrito is one of the popular types of burritos. It was thought to have originated in San Francisco in the 1960s.
Anywhere you go today, there is a good chance there is a nearby Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican restaurant or food truck, and there, you are sure to find burritos.
- Folk history: this food became known as “burrito” because the vendor of this food used a small donkey (which is “burrito” in Spanish) to move around and sell the food he made.
- The first known reference to burritos was from a Los Angeles restaurant called El Cholo Spanish Café.
- Duane R. Roberts invented the frozen burrito in 1956.
- It is possible that an entry found in the 1895 book Diccionario de Mexicanismos could be referring to what we now know as burrito.
Burrito Buying Guide
You can buy burritos from food trucks, restaurants, food stalls, or anywhere that sell Mexican or Tex-Mex food. If you’ve been to several authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants in the area, try something new and buy from small businesses selling home-made burritos This food, along with other Tex-Mex / authentic Mexican dishes, is ubiquitous in Texas because Texans love this food.
If you are eating a store-bought burrito in a box, make sure to read the instructions on how to prepare the food. You can use the microwave to reheat the burrito. Remove the burrito from the packaging. If it is wrapped in foil, make sure to remove all the foil wrapper. Wrap a damp paper towel around the frozen burrito and put it on the microwaveable plate before putting it inside the microwave and microwaving it for 2 to 3 minutes on a high setting.
Burrito Production & Farming in Texas
In the 2016 book Encyclopedia of Food Grains (Second Edition), the United States ranks second behind Mexico in terms of producing tortillas, which is used in making a burrito. The 2016 book Encyclopedia of Food and Health noted that “tortillas currently represent 30% of all baked product sales in the United States” and that “approximately 120 million tortillas are consumed yearly in the United States, making these the second most popular baked product, after white bread.”
Besides Mexico and the US, other countries producing tortillas include the UK, Spain, France, Australia, Brazil, India, China, and Korea.
Boutique, small-scale tortillerias, and home-made tortilla-based products – A 2015 study conducted by a Chicago-based marketing consultancy reveals not just the growth of Mexican cuisine business in the US but also the growing preference of home cooks to prepare Mexican dishes like the burrito, proof of which is the consumer data on purchases made: $2.26 billion on hard and soft tortilla and taco kits, $251.8 million on refried beans, and $60 million on other Mexican food items. In Texas and the US overall, restaurants and businesses involved in Mexican food like burritos have been experiencing growth in sales. Its popularity in Texas and the US, in general, is not just because it is delicious, but in the age of health-conscious consumers, tortillas and tortilla-based foods like the burrito are a healthy food option as well.
Processed/refrigerated tortilla and tortilla-based food, as well as restaurants offering freshly made tortilla and tortilla-based food (like the burrito) in Texas and the US offer customers a wide variety of options that align with health-related preferences (e.g. non-GMO, certified organic, all-natural, preservative-free, vegan, low-sodium, low-fat, gluten-free, whole grain, multi-grain, etc.)
Stakeholders involved in the tortilla industry (including tortilla-based food like the burrito) are confident that new markets will open in Europe, Asia, Africa in the coming years.
A 2017 survey conducted by Forbes counting the number of Mexican restaurants in a city revealed that 4 of the top 10 cities with the most number of Mexican restaurants are from Texas – Austin (8th), Dallas (7th), San Antonio (6th), and Houston (4th).
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Despite the promise of many big brands, it is possible that many store-bought, commercially-sold burritos – or the ingredients involved in the making of a burrito (meat, vegetables, and tortilla) – are still tainted with preservatives, artificial color, or other types of industrial additives that could be harmful to the body.
- Meat in burritos could be coming from animals raised using antibiotics.
- Meat in burritos is preserved using these chemical preservatives – smoke flavor, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.
- It is possible that some companies producing commercial tortillas are using dough conditioners like bromide, azodicarbonamide, and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides (DATEM).
According to author Robin Burnside who wrote the book Homesteader’s Kitchen, commercially-produced wraps used to make burritos at home may contain artificial and chemical additives. “Wraps can be purchased in many varieties, so choose whatever kind you like, but please read the label as many of the commercial brands have artificial flavoring, coloring, and other questionable ingredients.”
The most common burrito packaging is aluminum or paper wrapper. Sometimes, you will come across a food truck or restaurant with a different packaging like roll boxes custom-made for burritos.
There is a correct way to eat a burrito depending on what you have in front of you. If you are eating a burrito without sauce on top, you can eat it with your bare hands. No cutlery is necessary. But if you are eating a burrito poured with sauce on top of it, this one requires a plate and a fork (and yes, it would be better if you eat sitting down).
Leftover burritos should be refrigerated to avoid spoiling. Be sure to eat this within 3 to 4 days. Any longer than that and it is possible the burritos start to go bad, and eating this is dangerous to your health.
Make your own burritos:
Burrito is an easy-to-make food that can really fill you up, which is why it is good to have this on the fridge especially for people who are active and always on the go and do not have much time to spend in the kitchen to cook. A burrito is suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any time you feel like eating.
Yield: This recipe makes 6 burritos.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning mix
- 1 ½ cups refried beans or 1 ½ cups drained and rinsed black beans
- ¾ cup corn kernels
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 6 large 10-inch flour tortillas
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Garnish – finely diced red onion, lettuce, diced tomato or salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, guacamole
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
Step 3. Cook beef with taco seasoning mix. Follow the instructions on the package.
Step 4. At the center of the tortilla, even spread the ingredients (beans, rice, beef, corn, and cheese).
Step 5. Fold the tortilla.
Step 6. Put it on the baking dish.
Step 7. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes.