HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


what are the top 3 things that make the best burrito? [moved from SF Bay Board]

name the top three things food wise that make for the best burrito?
also name 1 thing that makes the best burrito atmosphere....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. Grilled ingredients
    2. Perfectly-browned very fresh, well-made tortillas
    3. Actually tasty rice and beans.. each should have enough flavor that you'd be compelled to eat them on their own.

    1. and how must one make perfect rice and beans?

      1. I'm not an expert on cooking rice or beans, and others may vary in whether this is too much going on in the rice.. but I'd think something along these lines for the rice... I suspect cooking in a good stock has a lot to do with it all:

        ... maybe something like this for the beans:

        Though I suspect a bit of saturated fat would improve the taste.

        1. One word: LARD (okay, call it fat or natural "juices")

          Lard for the griddle to toast the torilla, lard in the beans and "juices" in the meat (just like any other preparation).

          1. Fresh:

            1) Salsa
            2) Guacamole
            3) Cilantro


            1 Reply
            1. re: TexasToast

              I'm on board with TT's suggestion of fresh ingredients - no matter what you choose to put in it.

              A tip I learned from a friend - if you have gas burners, lightly (& quickly) drag store-bought flour burrito wraps over the flames with tongs until you begin to see slight browning. DO NOT BURN and do NOT leave them and walk away! They 'toast' quickly. You just want to bring out the flavour so they aren't so doughy to the taste. I so miss my gas stove!

            2. Clearly you are not talking a burrito as we eat them in LA. In LA, the ONLY ingredient worth talking about is well-prepared and tasty meat, whether it be carne asada, carnitas, al pastor or other varieties and cuts. Quality meat is what makes the burrito.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DanaB

                Yeah, I think we may be talking about fru fru burrito's; say like Freebirds/ Chipotle/ Qdoba.


                1. re: DanaB

                  I agree with DanaB. I'm from L.A. too. Freshly marinated grilled carne asada with grilled green onions and lime juice. A good burrito.

                2. The tortilla!
                  If that's no good, everything is a bust.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rcburli

                    SF style
                    1. Great Rice
                    2. lime and cilantro (a single entity for me)
                    3. Grilled, not greasy, veggies

                    ambience: funky aluminum foil statues (for other Texans out there)

                    Tacqueria style:
                    1. soft corn tortilla
                    2. flavorful carne asada with some chew
                    3. avacado "glue" between meat and tortilla

                    ambience: bright clashing colors and a circa 1975 pinball machine

                  2. 1) well grilled/marinated meats
                    2) handmade (if possible) tortilla-flour if its a burrito
                    3) fresh guacamole- nothing is worse than eating oxidized brown guacamole that tastes "off"

                    1. i always order my burrito's with melted cheddar cheese and a creamy garlicky ranch type sauce............yumm...........
                      and of coarse the re-fried beans are necessary.
                      The place I go to always grills the outside of the fresh tortilla so its crisp and warm...............all these combined make for one great burrito!

                      1. The One True Burrito must contain:
                        1) best quality tortilla possible, never steamed, big enough Only for a 'one handed' pickup
                        2) meat trimmed, marinated and cooked appropriately. Beef - grilled, chicken - roasted, pork - as appropriate
                        3) bare minimum of refried beans or rice (<10%) unless veggie;
                        fresh salsa, chopped onions, cilantro (con todo, por favor); no other options UNLESS REQUESTED!

                        Note - breakfast burritos are a Whole 'nother subject.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DiveFan

                          Though I DO make really good breakfast ones. I'd forgotten about that. I'll have to make one soon.


                        2. im assuming all these rules aplly for burritops you buy at a shop. or are these at home suggestions?!?! i was asking about in a shop.

                          1. Coming from am L.A. Chicana...

                            1) You start with the filling, which is either fresh made meats or day old stews. My favorite burrito is made with Chile Verde my mom made for dinner the night before.

                            2)BIG Flour Tortilla, cooked on a comal, so that is just starts to get crisp. You roll with the slightly more done side on the inside so it can hold the stew in without the tortilla getting to 'wet'

                            3) Good Salsa. ON the side. Putting salsa in a burrito is NOT the same as putting salsa inside a taco. THere is too much mass to cover, the salsa pools in uneven spots. The best thing to do to make sure you get even heat is to spoon in the salsa with each bite.

                            That is it... no rice! not beans! ANd goodness me... NO STEAMED TORTILLAS!!!


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Dommy

                              Agree with Dommy. No rice or beans. Listen to her! Especially the salsa part!

                            2. Whole Beans(ala La Cumbre) instead of Refried make the difference.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bbqboy

                                Yes, whole beans make all the difference. If you spot a burrito
                                stand that uses whole beans instead of refritos,
                                leave immediately and walk across the street to a taqueria
                                that understands what a burro should taste like.

                              2. My list of top 3 "things" to a great burrito:

                                1. PROPORTION. Regardless of what you stuff it with, it's got to have the right proporation. Too much grilled carne and too little rice (or beans or whatever) then you've basically got a sandwich or a soft taco with an oversized tortilla wrapper.

                                2. TORTILLA. Gotta be hand-made and fresh; no steaming either.

                                3. CONDIMENTS. Guacamole and the salsa have to fresh and bring enough "wetness" to the burrito to counterbalance the "dryness" of the meat and tortilla.

                                1. First I have to decide which type of meat I'll be having.

                                  Then I decide on the type of tortilla...I guess we're talking burrito so mine would be flour for the most part except when eating carnitas then it has to be corn and only corn, but then I guess you'd call it a taco.

                                  Those are my two essential ingredients. All other things added depend on the type of meat. More then likely salsa will be added but not necessarily so. For example; with chili colorado or chili verde, no salsa. Otherwise salsa.