If you grew up along the border between Mexico and the U.S. like I did, then you know that burritos are a way of life. I remember going to work with my dad in El Paso during my school breaks and seeing all of the construction workers eating burritos that their spouses made for them to bring along on the job. I realized that we were built on burritos, and that those burritos are the ultimate easily-transportable, eat-on-the-go food.
Border-style burritos, whether they’re packed in a lunch box or served at a restaurant, are unique because of their homemade flour tortillas and the stewy guisado filling. These differ from what you would encounter in the rest of the States: Border burritos tend to be a lot slimmer since the only add-ons, beyond a guisado—sometimes carnitas, sometimes chile colorado, sometimes chile relleno, or something else—are refried beans or guacamole. You won't find any rice, lettuce, or sour cream inside, as you might in a California-style burrito.
My family and I would go eat burritos almost every weekend when I was a kid, and one of my favorite burritos to this day is a cheesy breakfast burrito. Bacon, egg, and cheese burritos—or BEC burritos—hold a special place in my heart; they’re the affordable but delicious meal that fed me throughout my early cooking career in Austin. A fresh flour tortilla is the key to making the ultimate breakfast burrito—and a bad store-bought one is likely what’s ruining any other breakfast burrito you might encounter.
How to make a great flour tortilla
A really good burrito starts with a really good tortilla, one that’s pliable, elastic, and fluffy. If you’ve never made fresh tortillas at home before, know that repetition is key; with a little practice you’ll get there.
In order to make the tortilla dough a bit easier to work with, make sure it’s kept hydrated. Even when following my recipe exactly, your dough may vary from day to day, depending on the weather and moisture in the air. When measuring the hot water to add to the dough, I like to keep an extra cup on hand, just in case it is needed. As I begin to knead the dough, I am looking for something that starts off a bit sticky but slowly takes the shape of a smooth ball. Whenever your dough is resting, be sure to cover it to avoid letting it dry out.