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The 10 Most Important Burritos in Burrito History

Thumbnail image for elpacificoburrito.jpg
Photo by Sarah Bennett
Cylindrical God
Burritos have been on my mind as of recent, and not just because of the whole pendejada involving Chipotle putting short stories by authors on its cups and bags...none of whom are Latinos. I'm doing something with burritos that will come out...soon, and I think I'm going to have one tonight at 2 a.m. just for the hell of it.

But back to the Chipotle mess: while America loves to gorge on the cylindrical gods, they seem to not care about its past, its history, its pioneers (a topic I cover ad nauseum in my book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America). So let's rectify that, shall we? In no particular order, behold the 10 most important burritos in burrito history!

See also:

10. The Intergalactic Breakfast Burrito

samurai-burrito-fountain-valley.9650258.87.jpg
Photo by the Elmo Monster
Not the space burrito in question, but intergalactic enough

Taco USA begins with the amazing scene of America's astronauts enjoying breakfast burritos in outer space. Astronauts have been eating Mexican food up in the heavens since the 1980s, and what was once considered a joke is now so crucial to the NASA diet that they've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to figure out how to make a tortilla that will last in space for months without rotting. Doesn't matter; according to astronauts, their favorite space tortillas come from an unnamed tortilleria in Houston, which many sneak up with them.

9. The Earliest-Ever Burrito Mentioned in English

erna_fergusson_burrito.jpg
Mexican Cookbook
Fergusson's recipe

Burritos are only recent immigrants to the United States. The earliest mention dates back to Erna Fergusson's 1934's Mexican Cookbook. Notice how Fergusson describes them as "little burros," as "burros" is still the name associated in Arizona and Sonora with what the rest of the world calls "burritos." Is there an even-earlier recipe out there?

8. The Burritos that Fed Braceros

panchosburrito.jpg
Photo by Sarah Bennett
Another random burrito

Burritos did not start getting eaten en masse until the late 1940s and early 1950s with the advent of the bracero program, the joint U.S.-Mexico agreement in which Mexico agreed to subject its citizens to cheap wages (that were still better than what they got in la patria) in American agricultural jobs. To seem like benevolent massas, the American farmers would feed their workers burritos. Only problem? Almost all the braceros came from central Mexico, where flour tortillas were unknown, let burritos. Which meant that braceros despised burritos--welcome to America!

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77 comments
alaamiah1
alaamiah1

the real-time web – that smorgasbord of sites and services which allows you to broadcast whatever is going on in your liferight nowOther examples include the social network Foursquare, which lets you inform your friends when you’re at a particular venue, and a variety of sites that let you 

Pauliejuanakraquer
Pauliejuanakraquer

 Chinga, ese.. Where's the Bombero? And hay-soos in the tortilla is in South Phoenix, not NM.


..you rookie.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

I checked a book I have that describes life in Tuscon in 1870. Nope, no burritos. It describes enchiladas, tamales, tortillas, frijoles, chile con carne, washed down with boiling coffee or chocolate. And yes, the enchiladas are dipped in a red chile "stew" before filling.


No mention of rice. When did that start being part of Mexican food?

Alexander McLaren Dale
Alexander McLaren Dale

You left off El Toro Bravo half carnitas half chicharones the holy grail of burritos!!!!

Burqueno_By_The_Bay
Burqueno_By_The_Bay

If that burrito at #1 didn't have sour cream and guacamole sitting next to it, it would almost pass for a New Mexican burrito.


Salvador H. Barahona
Salvador H. Barahona

Finally somebody it's doing a story on the important matters, but no mention of the Tapatia burrito one of the best in O.C.?

Paul Martinez
Paul Martinez

back in the eighties the favorite was a chorizo burrito , followed by eggs , ham , and potato , which is currently called a breakfast burrito

Dan Heredia
Dan Heredia

When I was a kid back in the 50's my Grandma called them "tacos". So, if rolled up in a flour tortilla it's a "burrito" and in a folded corn tortilla it's a "taco"? First time I recall tacos being called burritos was when Taco Bell started showing up in the neighborhood.

nick581
nick581

The chille relleno burrito at Papa's Taco House & Cantina in Yorba Linda is the bomb. Good breakfast burrito as well. Packed with breakfast meats.

Nic Falc
Nic Falc

Papas Taco House & Cantina in Yorba Linda. Best chile relleno burrito & breakfast burrito in town.

Gordon Myers
Gordon Myers

Burritos are a food that I enjoy eating.

Dale Kim
Dale Kim

Hijole!! ahaha, people on the East Coast been raving about Chipotle, but c'mon.. Californians should know better ;)

Alma Jake
Alma Jake

Lmao!! Don't forget chipotle too

Keoni Yu
Keoni Yu

Good times Matt. Good times.

Ro Ar
Ro Ar

Great article, and thanks for mentioning the Del Taco bean burrito. I was never a fan of Del Taco, preferred to get my Mexifake food from Taco Bell, but when I was unemployed those Del Taco bean and cheese burritos kept me alive. And on Fridays, for an added treat (again unemployed, needed something to look forward to) I got them as a green burrito and they were extra wonderful.

Jesus Leon
Jesus Leon

Los Unicos pinches burritos que conosia en Mexico son Los que cargan Lena cabrones

Randal Boss Hurley
Randal Boss Hurley

It's fucking unholy bro! And I count the fucking days til I can have one!

Justin McMahon
Justin McMahon

Carne asada burrito at La Tiendita in San Clemente, Holmes! Randal Boss Hurley will back me up.

Will Eudave
Will Eudave

whats up with that breakfast burrito you said you were gonna write about. i still need to see whats up with that spot

Dale Kim
Dale Kim

pinche gabachos.. they think wahoo's and pf chang's is authentic ethnic foods smh..

deekeews888
deekeews888

hahahaha pinche gabachos in the oc..

ICregular
ICregular

Did he really not bring up "THE BREAKFAST BURRITO"?  pendejo ....

Chad Macy
Chad Macy

10 most important burritos in OC history: 1 Carne Asada pura carne with that gringo killer red chile sauce that could power a small Midwest town. ~ Serranos. SA 1970's 2 La Carreta en Warner/Bristol, which later became the last standing Serranos & at least 5 other incarnations that don't deserve honorable mention. 3 Jalapeños Carne Asada - the original from 1988 whilst Rustin in Tustin & baked w/ munchies after school. Still the best, crack-ridden high cost but most flavorful asada in OC. That's about it. Those 3 are/were perfect 10's in my gringo Chicano heritage.

Marcos Huerta
Marcos Huerta

this post is stupid. in fact this whole content has become dull...

jvasquez5
jvasquez5

throwing in my two cents, hands down the best made burritos are from Tapatio in Santana. the beef tongue tacos they make are also at the top. stay away from taqueria de anda unless you enjoy hugging a waste basket, that place is gacho and you'll walk out with a busted digestive trac

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@JGlanton Your book is wrong—and in Tucson, they're called "burros," not burritos.

Hitman_Corleone
Hitman_Corleone

And you pinche gooks think Pizza Hut and Dominoes is real Italian food!

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

@GustavoArellano @JGlanton Which part is wrong? There were no burritos described, so I would have thought that you would agree. The author of the book was living in Tucson in 1870 and went into a lot of detail on social life, social conventions, food, and drink.  

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