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.
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.
When I first started making flour tortillas, I would sometimes overwork the dough, which then meant rolling them out was difficult and I ended up with firm tortillas. The more you practice, the more you get a feel for when to stop kneading: As I knead the dough, I look for signs of the dough beginning to give a little push back, which usually happens after 10 to 15 minutes. I check by pressing my thumb into the dough-just look for a slow spring back. If the dough springs back immediately, then I know I have gone too far-then I'd let it rest for an extra hour before rolling.
Giving the dough time to rest before rolling is a crucial step in the process. Not enough resting time will result in the dough being a little more difficult to roll out. The best way to check if you're ready for rolling is to press down on one of the portioned balls. If the dough remains pressed with no spring-back, then your tortillas are ready to be rolled. If not, then let the dough rest longer.
I have been eating breakfast burritos for as long as I can remember, and so far I must say that this is my favorite version, and the one I most love serving at my burrito popup, Los Burritos Juarez. The creaminess of the cheesy soft-scrambled eggs and silky beans is contrasted by the crispy bacon strips and the tortilla chips mixed in with the eggs.
I'll leave you with one more trick before you get rolling: the key to a perfect BEC (and beans) burrito is making sure everything is seasoned well. Taste each component as you go, then bring it all together for the ultimate morning meal.