No conversation about the bad burrito can happen until you’ve read Darin Ross’ f-bombed open letter/tirade to the guy who made this burrito. The expletive-laden rant sums up everything that can (and did) go wrong with the building of one man’s burrito. There is an art and a science to assembling an awesome burrito that involves layering, proper ingredients, proportion, and food origami. Beneath the tucks and folds of a flour tortilla, there are countless opportunities for burrito fails. Here are some of the worst offenders, and a few suggestions for building a better burrito.
1. Spaghetti and Meatball Burrito with … Chicharrons
The Chef Boyardeeto defies logic and the common law of the burrito. At a bare minimum, there should be black beans, guacamole, salsa, and cheese. If you eat animal, there should be a spicy, slow-cooked or grilled meat present, such as carne asada, pulled pork, or barbecued chicken. Seasoned rice is nearly ubiquitous in a great burrito, but should be used in moderation. You can throw in extras like grilled corn stripped from the cob, or other grilled vegetables. Of course there’s sour cream. But there should be no spaghetti and no meatballs.
2. Dessert Burrito
A fraud and imposter of the highest order, creators of the fruit-stuffed “dessert burrito” have a special place in Dante’s eighth circle of Hell.
3. Sushi Burrito
If you want a giant sushi roll, have a giant sushi roll. Just don’t call it a burrito. And definitely don’t call it a sushirrito.
4. Inside Out Burrito/Smothered Burrito
We have it on good authority that the Travelocity gnome is vacationing somewhere under this pile of tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, beans, cheese, and hashbrowns.
5. Burrito Cake Pops
Enough with the cake pops already.
6. Burrito Soup
If you can consume 85 percent of a burrito through a boba tea straw, it is not a burrito. It is soup.
7. Macaroni & Cheese Burrito
This tugs at our macaroni-and-cheese-loving heartstrings, but that doesn’t make it a killer burrito.
8. Dog Burrito
Burrito is a complete failure as a food. He is not a real burrito. But as a dog, he wins, mainly because there’s a whole subreddit devoted to him. Do not eat this burrito.
9. Big-as-your-head/Big-as-an-infant Burritos
If the burrito requires two hands, a carving knife, or a forklift to insert it into your mouth, it is too big. If the burrito is bigger than the smallest human you know, it is too big. If the burrito is named after a science fiction monster, it is too big. If you want to consume more burrito, make two burritos. A standard 10″ tortilla offers ample room for the proper ratio of burrito ingredients. The bigger the tortilla, the harder the fail.
10. Corn Tortilla Burritos
Listen, we love a good corn tortilla. It is the only proper handle for a great taco. See the cracks and broken edges on this burrito? This is a recipe for wearing a burrito, not eating it. A flour tortilla is sturdy and holds its shape – the pliable medium practically snuggles burrito ingredients in place. Feeling ambitious? Check out our Flour Tortilla recipe from Rick Bayless. If you’ve got issues with flour tortillas, consider the gluten-free and vegetarian burrito. Behold, a recipe for Stuffed Poblano with Black Beans and Cheese.
11. Steamed Burrito
You want the flexibility of a flour tortilla when you’re filling and rolling it, but there’s a fine line between supple and soggy when you’re warming it up. Nuke it in the microwave or steam it and you have to gnaw through a tough, sticky tortilla before you get to the goods. Throw that burrito on an oiled, medium-hot griddle. Griddling all sides of the burrito yields a flaky, crispy envelope that shatters when it meets your teeth.
12. Lettuce Burrito
Oh, sure, the lettuce looks all crispy and bright now. But when you tuck and roll the burrito and the hot ingredients hit it, the lettuce wilts. There is no place for limp, warm lettuce in the greatest burrito ever. Opt for vegetables that can stand the heat, like spicy salsas, avocado, sautéed onions or peppers.
13. Rice Burrito
Rice is a cheap filler restaurants use to dupe you into thinking you’re getting a big-as-your-head burrito. Spanish rice, arroz verde, and other seasoned rice absolutely have a place in the burrito realm, but it’s all a matter of balance. If rice makes up more than 40 to 50 percent of the burrito, you’re not eating a burrito. You’re eating rice wrapped in a tortilla and with condiments.
14. Open-Ended Burrito
The number of Internet diagrams and gifs demonstrating the proper way to tuck and fold a burrito is staggering. Even more shocking is the number of people who still roll burritos, leaving two ingredient-dribbling open ends. For the last time, this is how you fold a burrito:
15. Tiny Burritos (Eaten by Tiny Hamsters)
Why? Because you’ve made it this far, and you deserve the reward of watching a hamster jackknife a tiny burrito.
Colleen Rush is a food and travel writer who eats, drinks, cooks, and writes mostly in New Orleans, but also … everywhere else. She is the author of “The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining” (Broadway Books, 2006), and coauthor of “Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons” (Running Press, 2009) and the upcoming “Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke Roasting, and Basic Curing” (Running Press, 2015). Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.