A really good burrito – like sex, skydiving, or an 18-year-old scotch – is a euphoric experience. Indeed, few foods beat the combination of soft tortilla, zesty rice and beans, charred protein, creamy guacamole, and spicy salsa.
Problem is, really good, euphoria-inducing burritos seem to be available only at a few key taquerias around your city – places like Anna's in Boston, La Azteca in Los Angeles, and Changos in Austin – and their taste can seemingly never be replicated at home.
We're here to tell you that it can.
"You can definitely make a killer burrito at home," says Mike Kamio, owner of Boston burrito institution Anna's Taqueria. "Heck, I had to start in my own home – it just takes making each individual ingredient special." In short: Perfecting the individual parts is what makes the whole.
Here, Kamio has provided us with a few tips – no recipes, rules, laws, orders, or commands, nothing set in stone. Just tips to help you perfect each ingredient, which in turn will take your burrito from ordinary to extraordinary, and, ultimately, make it your very own. Use them as your guide, toy with your recipe, and turn your kitchen into a Grade A taqueria – Tejano music not required.
Fill, fold, and roll out your tortilla carefully.
You can have all the perfect ingredients, but if you make one wrong move when it comes to rolling, you'll be left with a less satisfying mound of what was once a damn good burrito. Fear not. We've all experienced the hairline tear caused by too much filling in an overly dry tortilla – which is why burrito joints like Anna's steam their tortillas beforehand. "We have a fancy machine, but you just need a microwave," says Kamio. Wrap a large tortilla in a damp paper towel and nuke it until it's warm, or about 15 seconds. After that, Kamio says, lay the tortilla out and spread the ingredients evenly from left to right, in the middle. Fold the end closest to you just over and then under the mound of fillings. Hold one hand there and use the other to tightly fold in the left and then right ends (like the triangle corner of sheets when making your bed – you do make your bed, right?). Continue rolling tightly to the other side.