Why It Works
- Homemade flour tortillas are far more delicious than most of the store-bought options.
- Keeping the tortillas well wrapped ensures they stay warm and pliable.
Made from a few components, yet full of complex flavor, the burritos commonly found in Northern Mexico stand in stark contrast to the overstuffed version north of the border. They're significantly smaller, for starters, with two or three required to make a meal for one person. They also usually feature a much more pared down assortment of fillings, such as freshly mashed beans with cheese, or the machaca guisada (braised dried beef with onions and tomato) featured here. Some fresh, crunchy cucumbers and a squeeze of lime round the meal out.
Because so few ingredients are required, they need to be of the highest quality. Most critically, the eight-inch flour tortillas really should be freshly made, either by a local tortilleria or at home with a recipe like this one, which is rich with lard and milk.
This recipe makes six small burritos, which can work as a snack for a larger group or a meal for just two or three people, but it can easily be scaled up by doubling the braised machaca recipe and using the full batch of flour tortillas in the linked recipe.
These burritos can also easily be turned into pan-fried burritos, called chivichangas in Sonora, Mexico. Just add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the prepared burritos to the hot oil, and fry, turning once, until just-crispy and golden on both sides.
In a saucepan, combine Machaca Guisada with 1 tablespoon water. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Remove from heat.
To Re-Warm Tortillas (Only if Needed): Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat until warmed through, then, working with 1 at a time, add a tortilla and cook, flipping once, until just warmed through, about 20 seconds. Return warmed tortilla to a cloth towel or tortilla warmer to ensure it remains warm and pliable. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
To Form Burritos: Working with 1 tortilla at a time, set tortilla on a work surface and spoon 3 heaping tablespoons of machaca guisada in center, piling it so that it forms a 2 1/2- by 1-inch horizontal mound.
Using your hands, fold the left and right sides up and over the filling, then roll tortilla from the bottom up to form a small burrito-like package. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Serve burritos while still warm with the lime wedges and cucumber slices on the side.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The burritos are best made right before serving.