Is there any argument that can be made against the fact that a burrito, when made properly, is a beautiful thing? No, no there is not because it is as true a fact as that the sky is blue. Much like the Arquillian Galaxy that was contained in a pendant on Orion’s belt — yes, that is a Men in Black reference, and you’re welcome — a burrito has everything you could need or want in life. You’ve got your proteins, your dairy, your starches, and (the most important food group) your guacamole all wrapped in a wonderful, warm tortilla.
With so much stuff contained within, though, an issue arises. How exactly do you get all of that stuff in there without the tortilla exploding like an alien hatching from inside and beginning its campaign of world domination? A taco (or burrito) salad is great, but if one wants a salad, then one orders a salad. The goal for a burrito is that you get all of that goodness on the go. You should be able to hold it in your hand without the threat of spending 20 minutes in the bathroom cleaning salsa off your shirt.
To achieve the perfect burrito, you need to know two things: just how much stuff to put in and how to fold it so that it stays together even after you take a few bites. If you’ve ever made a burrito yourself, you know what we’re talking about. You can’t just throw everything in there and hope for the best. If you do, you’re going to have a bad time.
We reached out to Oliver Kremer, co-CEO of the fast-casual chain Dos Toros, to learn the best technique for making a burrito. Below, check out his step-by-step instructions, as well as a few helpful tips and tricks.
How to Make a Burrito
- Starts with a 13-inch flour tortilla, the thinnest one you can get your hands on.
- Add a 3.5-inch by 7-inch, 1-ounce slice of Monterey Jack cheese (the milder, the better).
- Then you need the Nemco Fresh-O-Matic steamer, which cost over a thousand bucks and is what brings the tortilla to life and melts the cheese. Push the button and wait 10 long Mississippis to achieve maximum tortilla pliability and cheesy meltiness. [Editor’s note: This steamer isn’t quite the same, but only costs $121.]
- Lay down a piece of foil — 10.75-inch by 12-inch — shiny side down.
- Put the tortilla on the foil so the strip of cheese is perpendicular to your body and lay every ingredient out in a long line for better integration.
- Now, beans first, because the beans are hotter than the rice and do the final melting of the cheese. The cheese, meanwhile, protects the tortilla from the beans so they don’t break through. Also beans and cheese are a special kind of fusion.
- Take the time to strain out excess liquid/bean juice.
- Then the rice — you want red, Mexican rice, sautéed before cooking, fluffed out for 30 minutes in the pot. Sautéing toasts and opens the grains.
- Don’t put too much rice on the burrito. It plays a pivotal role, but too much and it becomes filler. It shouldn’t be the main event. The rice also has the critical task of absorbing excess bean liquid.
- Choose your meat. We recommend carnitas (not simply pulled, but braised and caramelized) as the classic choice and the meat you’re least likely to find cooked properly by any of our competitors.
- Now add the pico de gallo — simple, classic, don’t overthink it. Make it with plenty of cilantro.
- Now guacamole — again, simple, avocado-forward, the ripest Hass avocados you can find. Add some salt and lime and a little of the pico to the guac. Put plenty on and be generous; you never want to be stingy with guacamole. [Editor’s note: If you want to up your guac game, check out this tequila-infused guacamole that is as easy as it is delicious.]
- The sour cream comes next. Ideally something legit and thick.
- Now hot sauce: classic verde with tomatillos and plenty of jalapeños, charred to explode the seeds and make it even hotter.
Now it’s time to roll this baby.
How to Fold a Burrito
- Fold the sides of the tortilla in, leaving three fingers of daylight between them.
- Bring the back of the tortilla over the top and pull towards you with one hand while stretching the front of the tortilla forward with the other.
- Now roll forward while continually tucking and holding the front edges taut with your pinkies.
- Repeat this with the foil.
- If you can balance your burrito by standing it on one end then give yourself a pat on the back – you just rolled a nice one.