Tag Archives: burrito

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito

[Please enjoy this guest review from Robert – Not Bob, a valued sometimes-contributor to Junk Food Betty who had the privilege (or curse – read on to determine) of being in a test area for this new product. Thanks, Robert!]

In the five (!) years since Junk Food Betty first graced the information superhighway (Congrats, by the way), I’ve almost certainly read more about, and spared more thought for, fast food than I probably had in all my previous years combined. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing, obviously, but it has amused me, and on occasion, I’ve even learned a few things.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area is a seething hotbed of fast food test-marketing. For that reason, I find myself, once again, submitting a guest review, this time for McDonald’s Chorizo Breakfast Burritos. Well, that and the fact that your JFB host isn’t one to eat an egg, regardless of how it’s gussied up.

For those not in the know, there are actually two very dissimilar food items called “Chorizo”. One is a hard, cured European sausage, made from pork and Spanish paprika. The other is a fresh Mexican sausage made of God only knows what.

Chorizo con Huevos, which is Mexican chorizo and eggs, is a breakfast staple of taquerías, and is commonly rolled into burritos or breakfast tacos. However, it’s long been conspicuously absent from the fast food breakfast lineup. Even nominally “Mexican” fast food chains like Taco Bell, not one to shy away from mystery meat, has kept it out of their breakfast burrito offerings. I’m guessing that this is because chorizo tends to be spicy, and not spicy in a way that’s anything like the pickled jalapeño flavor that pretty much forms the basis of the typical fast food consumer’s idea of “spicy”. It has a pretty unique taste and texture, and is not very similar at all to familiar breakfast meats like bacon or ham.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Don't Mess with Breakfast

A quick look at the sign advertising the chorizo burritos also confirms that whoever designed it has little familiarity with chorizo. In the burritos pictured you can clearly see chunks of yellow egg and chunks of something red, which is presumably pretending to be the chorizo. As anyone that’s had it can attest, that’s not the way chorizo and eggs look. When you cook chorizo and eggs together, they basically become one homogenous mass. Perhaps that’s another factor that’s kept it off most breakfast menus. When Americans look at their meat and eggs, they want to see identifiable meat chunks, rather than a pile of eggs that just look like someone got confused with the dye at Easter.

Let’s take a look inside the real burritos.

McDonald's Chorizo Burritos

As I had two burritos to work with, I cross-sectioned one, and unrolled about the other.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Halved

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Open

As you can see, these bear little resemblance to what was pictured, but we all know that that’s the norm with fast food advertising. Anyway, there’s not much to look at here. Chorizo and egg mix, a few red and green pepper bits and a flour tortilla. The strong odor of chorizo seemed pretty promising and, once tasted, I had to admit, these weren’t bad at all. The tortillas themselves left a bit to be desired – the ones you get at taquerías tend to be more flavorful and are typically pan fried before use – but the chorizo y huevos inside tasted exactly like it should. And, for two for $3, seems like a pretty decent breakfast deal.

McDonald's Hot and Mild Picante Sauce Packets

Along with the burritos I received 4 packets of McDonald’s Picante Sauce, two mild and two “hot”. Do not be tempted to put these on your chorizo burritos. Place them in the nearest trash receptacle. I tasted the “hot” and it was thoroughly vile. Putting ketchup on your chorizo burrito would be unforgivable, but would still be a better choice than McDonald’s Picante Sauce. If you do want to put some sauce on your chorizo burritos, that bottle of Tapatío in your file cabinet drawer or those old packets of Taco Bell “Fire Sauce” in your glove box are both much better options.

I do know of at least two taquerías in the path of my morning commute that offer chorizo and egg burritos that are about the same size, and are slightly better, and are slightly cheaper, so I probably wouldn’t make McDonald’s version a regular purchase. However, if I found myself in a taquerías-free zone (yes, even in Texas that can happen) and wanted a breakfast fix, I could definitely see getting them again.

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

  • Score: 4 out of 5 pork salivary glands
  • Price: $3.00
  • Size: 2 burritos
  • Purchased at:McDonald’s #35172

Taco Bell Quad* Steak Burrito

Any Taco Bell employee will tell you that the most difficult part of getting hired on at Taco Bell is learning their bizarre, arbitrary system of weights and measures. A lot of people have a tough time learning that the amount of meat in a Steak Burrito Supreme is a “steak”, and that four steaks make a quad*, as seen here. And that doesn’t even come close to figuring out how much ground beef goes into a “fraud”, or how many jalapenos constitute a “volcano”. It’s like visiting a foreign country, except everyone speaks English and you can drink the water. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that working at Taco Bell is like going to Canada.

Does Canada even have burritos?

If you’re a faithful Junk Food Betty reader or aware of news in any way, you’re aware of some recent meat-based controversy surrounding Taco Bell. This was immediately followed by Taco Bell releasing their new, improved steak products, which are advertised as “thicker, tender steak” The timing of this makes me suspicious that this change in product might’ve been a bit rushed. “LOOK OVER THERE, AMERICA! NEW, IMPROVED STEAK! JUST STOP LOOKING HERE, AT THIS GROUND BEEF”. As the flagship item to showcase the new steak, they’ve launched the Quad* Steak Burrito and Quad* Steak Quesadilla. The Burrito is composed of the new steak, rice, salsa, sour cream (reduced fat for you fat fucks!), and cheddar cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla. It’s not an inspiring configuration of ingredients, to be sure, and can even be accused of being boring. However, it does have a lot of steaks going for it.

You may have noticed that this review, and Taco Bell’s website, have gotten pretty excited about the use of asterisks. This is to inform you, the consumer, that the Quad* Steak products contain four times the amount of steak as that found in a Steak Burrito Supreme. Except that advertising containing asterisks always makes people think that there’s some shady fine print bullshit going on. “What’s with the asterisks?” I can hear you thinking. “How many oats and soys are contained in this ‘meat’?” But you can rest easy, my suspicious friend. Taco Bell’s steak contains no oats, and less than a “kikkoman” worth of soy. There is no legerdemain. Taco Bell just really, really wants you to know precisely how many steaks you’re violently cramming into your sauce-stained, gnashing mouth-hole. The answer, by the way, is a quad*.

Upon purchase of the Quad* Steak Burrito, I immediately seized it from the bag and gave it a precise, bouncing heft to determine its girth. Clocking in at a quad* of steaks, I expected the item, about the same size as a Grilled Stuft Burrito, to have the density of a dying star. While not neutronium-heavy, it has a decent mass, similar to a “sob” of onions or a “blush” of beans. Upon tasting, the steak is obviously the star of the show, as the burrito is stuffed to the gills with the stuff. And it’s changed, as advertised, into thicker, tender pieces (not they don’t use the phrase “more tender”, as that would imply it was tender before and I think that’s illegal to say). The steak is pretty tender, while still being toothsome, and the pieces do appear bigger. Personally, I felt the flavor suffered quite a bit, likely due to being taken from a different cut of meat. It has a less assertive beef flavor that, while it works alright in this product, may not be able to stand up to some of the stronger ingredients in other preparations. This is disappointing, given my long-standing relationship with the Steak Baja Gordita. I’m sorry, baby. It’s not you, it’s me. Wait, actually, no. It’s you. It’s aaallll you.

A thousand times you. I'm actually pretty great.

The quesadilla was also sampled by the Junk Food Betty Division of Product Analysis and Unreasonable Judgement. Long story short, it’s the burrito with less rice and more cheese., and I’m sure you’re blown the Hell away by that. Both are $5 for a quad* of steak, or $4 for a double* of steaks. Given the prices, for $5 I’ll ravage their dollar menu or, better yet, head out of Blandsville and over to Chiptole or a local Mexican joint.

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 disappointing vacations to Blandsville
  • Price: $4.99 for Quad* Steak, $3.99 for a double* steak
  • Size: 1 quad*
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell #004989
  • Nutritional Quirks: 26 “bypasses” of fat

Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito

So is this going to be a thing now? Fritos? Are Fritos the next pomegranate? Sonic has had their Frito Chili Cheese Wrap on the menu for as long as I have been going there, but then they upped the ante with their Sonic Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. Now Taco Bell has hopped on the Frito bandwagon with their new Beefy Crunch Burrito. I’ll let Taco Bell explain:

“Layers of seasoned ground beef, rice, warm nacho cheese sauce, reduced fat sour cream and Flamin’ Hot Fritos wrapped in a warm, flour tortilla.”

Classic Taco Bell move. The first four ingredients in this description should sound familiar because they’re in every other Taco Bell menu item, ever. But hey – Fritos! Flamin’ Hot Fritos, no less. Frito-Lay has Flaminized many of their products. I am quite fond of Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Limon, but they stain your fingers for a whole day, announcing your snacking habits to the world. I also once powered through a whole bag of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns, but in my defense, I was drunk.

So now we’ve got snack food inside fast food. I’m reminded once again of Sonic and their Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger, which stuck jalapeño poppers inside a burger. I like where this is going. Funyuns replacing real onions on a McDonald’s burger. Jack in the Box Ultimate Jack Link Beef Jerky Grilled Cheese Sandwich. KFC chicken breaded with crushed Doritos Blazin’ Buffalo and Ranch. Burger King’s new Ranch Corn Nuts Bacon Cheeseburger.

Oh yeah. This is going all the right places.

Flamin’ Hot Fritos may make the Crunchy Beef Burrito Taco Bell’s most caliente menu item, which is sad because they have a whole Volcano menu devoted to items that are supposed to make your brain blow out the back of your head with the heat but instead just make you wish you had a can of Spicy Hot V8 on hand. It’s no good when you want a beverage to make your mouth burn instead of cool it off.

With pretty much nowhere to go but up in my mind, let’s see what this bitch can deliver.

Okay, so here’s the rub: The Beefy Crunch Burrito has the word “crunch” in its name. But anyone with half a brain would know that Fritos don’t stand a chance when they’re smothered in nacho cheese sauce and reduced fat sour cream.  “Kelley,” you could scream to me in the comments section, “you can’t fault the Fritos for being soggy when you drive all the way home to eat! Eat inside the Taco Bell! You’re being unfair to the Beefy Crunch Burrito when you complain that the Fritos were soggy!”

Yes, the Fritos were soggy. No, I didn’t eat it inside the restaurant. I drove through the drive-thru and took my food home, to eat and photograph in the privacy of my own domicile. Millions of people do that, every day. That’s why we eat fast food. That’s why the drive-thru was invented. Well, that and for people who eat in their cars, but that’s something I just don’t do. Eyes on the road! Hands at ten and two! Didn’t you learn anything in driver’s ed?

I believe fast food companies should prepare for these kinds of situations, and design menu items appropriately. What I’m trying to say here is, don’t blame me, blame Taco Bell. Don’t put something that’s supposed to be crunchy in with a bunch of stuff that will turn it to mush in ten seconds. It’s just going to end poorly.

Rant aside, there was another problem with the Beefy Crunch Burrito. I’ll accept snack foods in my fast food – I just raved about the possibilities a few paragraphs ago – but I’m not going to give them a free pass when it doesn’t work out. And the Beefy Crunch Burrito didn’t. All the regular players got along fine: seasoned beef shook hands with nacho cheese, sour cream said hi to the rice, and warm flour tortilla invited everyone in for a group hug. Then Flamin’ Hot Fritos invited itself over and everyone got uncomfortable. The pronounced and very recognizable corn chip flavor just seemed out of place with everything else, jarring my taste buds and overwhelming all the other flavors. The best word to describe it would be “discordant”. Corn chips just didn’t belong. It felt like I was eating a corn chip burrito with some other stuff thrown in.

As for the Flamin’ Hot portion, I’ll admit, they did give off a little heat. I think it was diluted from the nacho cheese and sour cream, because it wasn’t quite as hot as the Flamin Hot chips themselves. I wished it had been super hot; then maybe it would have drowned out the corn chip taste a bit.

Beefy Crunch Burrito really let me down. It’s not often that I outright dislike a Taco Bell product, but here we are. Points are docked for soggy Fritos, but that’s a design flaw. The real problem is that overpowering corn chip taste that drowns everything else out and really doesn’t belong. Taco Bell isn’t really marketing it as a “blow your brains out spicy” item, but even so, there was very little heat. The Beefy Crunch Burrito is a mess; that said, I still encourage fast food companies to start stuffing snacks into their menu items. Bring on the crazy!

(Update: I decided to bust this down to a score of 1.5 from 2 since it really wasn’t that close to average.)

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 lingering hugs by Flamin’ Hot Fritos
  • Price: $0.99
  • Size: 1 burrito
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell
  • Nutritional Quirks: Let’s put it this way: seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, rice, sour cream, flour tortilla, Flamin’ Hot Fritos.  One of these is not like the other!