Note: I got to visit the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California, this week, hence all of this impressive knowledge.
First introduced last September, the Volcano Taco appeared on Taco Bell's menu for only three months. Whether it was the red crunchy taco shell (just the normal one with artificial dyes) or the spicy orange goop (which goes by "Lava Sauce") or the limited-time-only appeal, people were into it. Really into it. When it disappeared from menus, Facebook groups formed with folks acting like it was the fast-food apocalypse--even worse than when the Crazy Gordita Crunch left us.
Thankfully, all the members of "I Refuse to Go to Taco Bell Until They Bring Back the Volcano Taco" can stop freaking out. It's back as a permanent item, joined by the Volcano Double Beef Burrito. Both have the pretty standard taco and burrito skeleton (ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese, sour cream) multiplied by the Lava Sauce.
Fast-food never seems to get that spicy, but this is a noble attempt. The Lava Sauce will get your attention without making you wear a sweatband. Of course, the elite fire eaters could probably drink a mug's worth and be fine. But please don't, that's pretty gross. After the jump, more than you ever need to know about Taco Bell's Volcano menu.
The Double Beef Burrito weighs 10.8 ounces. A whole ounce of that is the Lava Sauce. They also throw in strips of the red crunchy taco shell, probably to make up for the lack of red flour tortilla jacket here. They're looking into it.
The embryonic stages of the burrito. Yes, that's a sour cream gun you see in the top right. More on that below.
The mayo-based potion of cheese and peppers is one-and-a-half times spicier than the Fire Sauce. On the Scoville scale, it comes in at 800 scovilles compared to the Fire Sauce's 500. It goes up to 16 million, to give you some perspective.
Nice frontal view. The Volcano Taco weighs a mere 3.4 ounces. As with red velvet cake, there's something so mystical about that not-found-in-nature red color. But to repeat, the red crunchy taco tastes exactly like the off-whitish one. Apparently in Taco Bell focus groups though, people still thought it was spicier. You eat with your eyes, I guess.
The Lava Sauce isn't in sauce packets yet, but Taco Bell representatives said maybe some day, just maybe. People are starting to request it slathered all over other things and since Taco Bell adopts a very pro-DIY menu approach (you can mix and match all you want; crazy, I know) they're cool with that.
Bonus: Taco Bell Gadgets
Here are some tools you might find behind a typical Taco Bell counter.
The Meat Rake: The rectangular scooping device for the foundational beef ingredient. This is when you're supposed to start picturing a pile of seasoned ground beef in autumn months with little kids running through it and fathers attempting to plastic bag it.
The Sour Cream Gun: A weapon powered by white glop. Why didn't we fight wars with this?! OMG, they let me play with it.
The Guacamole Gun: The SCG's condiment artillery cousin.
Potato Wedge Receptacle: A team of engineers made sure those windows in the wedge-catching device allowed them to breathe, without letting any escape.
Jalapeño Holey Spoon: To prevent the soggyfication by jalapeño juice.
Note: I did not come across a meat hose.
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.