Making the iconic food truck burrito at home. Rated as a 2 out of 5 for difficulty, once you’ve got your taco meat made, you’ll be enjoying this hearty lunch time favorite with little effort and skipping the line at the food truck.
The food truck phenom
Like a Hollywood big budget exploding fireball, the Food Truck, or now Food Cart, offerings are off the charts these days. One epicenter of this phenomenon is nearby (for me) Portland Oregon. Even outside the city food carts have become readily available wherever there is traffic, or people. It is very cool. Some of the best Thai, Mexican, Crepes, Indian food…you get the idea, some of the best food you can find is coming out of these tiny kitchens.
The evolution of this mobile ‘food group’ is certainly interesting, and kind of surprising. Back in the day the quilted stainless steel sided truck would pull up to a job site, drop open the windows of the refrigerated interior and sell pre-made sandwich to the working population. Big cities had their hot dog carts and other simple food vendors. Don’t misunderstand, simple, not bad. A dog dressed the way you like it is still a fun quick meal.
Variety and choice
Food in general has undergone huge growth in the sheer variety of food types, nations of origin, historical or ethnicity, and regional specialties. Instead of being tied to just the raw ingredients that were local, we can now get any component from the farthest reaches of the planet. Enjoying all this makes it really hard to keep the weight off, but regardless, that is for another day.
It only makes sense that we Americans would embrace cooking styles and foods from our nearest neighbor to the south. Sharing the border means that we also share enough climate and environment to share the ingredient list and production. This is not meant to raise the debate issue of whose food is it, why is it different here or there or wherever. That gets too tiring.
Let’s just agree to ask one question and one question only; does it taste good?
Yes, yes it does
Burritos in particular lend themselves to, oh, everything. You like it, put it in a burrito. From a more traditional group of ingredients, like we use here, to jicama or fried yucca root, the humble burrito makes room for it all. Your imagination is the only limiting factor.
In the early 1500s the Spanish brought wheat flour, pigs, and a bunch of other less good stuff, to the Americas. In northern Mexico wheat grew better than corn, and was therefore more popular and used for tortillas more often. So, Sonora or Chihuahua are the likely spots for the roots of burritos as we know them. In 1895 the word burrito made it into a Spanish language dictionary, attributed to Guanajuato region though, defined roughly as a tortilla with bits of meat or other ingredients.
The Burrito Migrates North
In the United States in the 1930s we see the first noted in a Los Angeles restaurant El Cholo Sonora Café. Around the same time an English language Mexican cookbook contained a burrito recipe. It was arguably close to being ruined when the first frozen burrito hit the market in 1956.
Fortunately, the idea survived, flourished, and was extensively expanded upon. Wet burritos, slathered with enchilada sauce, became a popular item. The chimichanga wonder years had deep fried burritos on menus all over the country. And, one of our favorites, the breakfast burrito. What could be better than taters, eggs, meat – mmm, chorizo – all rolled up into a handy edible carrying case. A true food renaissance. To bring this full circle, breakfast burritos were an early stalwart item for food carts all over. Easy to make with minimal prep they were ideal.
Making the Iconic Food Cart Burro
This recipe is a great example how and why prep works in the restaurant biz, and in particular a contained cooking environment like a food truck. You can build a great burrito in 10 minutes or less, if you have done your 30 minutes of prep. You can even build 6 burritos in the same 10 minutes, that’s why getting things set is so important.
The beauty of a burrito is that you can put almost anything inside and the magical tortilla makes it taste great! We’re going straightforward and simple for this build, but by all means feel free to play away with ingredients that you want to incorporate. The hardest step sometimes is limiting what you put in so that you can actually wrap the tortilla around it all.
Fill ‘er up
In the case of this burrito, we are going to use taco meat made from ground beef as part of our filling. Here is the link to our great recipe for that (link taco meat). We also need white rice, fresh cooked or warmed up, and refried beans, also warm.
Our fresh ingredient list we want some rough chopped cilantro and some finely minced onion, plus some fresh lime to squeeze. Add some sour cream and shredded cheese, we are good to go.
Food Truck Burrito Recipe
- 6 Ounces Taco Meat
- 2 Large flour tortillas
- 1 Cup cooked rice
- 1 Cup refried beans
- 3 Ounces sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons minced onions
- 1 Lime Juice
- 1 Ounce fresh cilantro chopped
- 4 Ounces shredded cheese
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Warm up flour giant tortillas
- Spread a few Tablespoons of refried beans on the tortilla
- Evenly distribute a few Tablespoons of rice
- Add a few ounces of taco meat
- Put cheese directly on top of the warm ingredients
- Add minced onions
- Add cilantro
- Spread sour cream along the open side closest to you
- Fold the ends of the tortilla inward
- Roll into a cylinder
- Place with the end of the tortilla down, on a medium-warm surface with a little melted butter
- Brown then flip to brown other side, adding a little butter to brown in
- Slice on the angle, serve and enjoy!