Enchirito (Spanish pronunciation: [entʃiˈɾito]) is the trademarked name of Taco Bell's menu item of the Tex-Mex food similar to an enchilada. It is composed of a flour tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef taco meat (with options to substitute steak or chicken), beans, diced onions, cheddar cheese, and "red sauce".
There is an unsubstantiated claim that the Enchirito was invented in 1967 by a high school student in Montebello, CA. The student, Robert McCrea, was awarded a certificate and $25.00 by Taco Bell for his creation which when submitted was called the Burlotta, later changed to the Enchirito by Taco Bell. [better source needed]
The original enchirito of the 1970s was advertized as a special tortilla filled with ground beef, pinto beans, and onions; topped red sauce, cheese and olives; and served in a reheatable aluminum foil tray. The special tortilla was most likely made out of corn.
The coining of the name Enchirito (a portmanteau of the words enchilada and burrito) for this item was a bit of a peculiar action by Taco Bell. It was the only item on the menu, at the time, to not use the common Mexican food nomenclature for that item. Whereas a burrito is typically a flour tortilla filled with beans, and an enchilada is typically a corn tortilla filled with meat and smothered in chile sauce, the name Enchirito communicates the combination of these elements. On the other hand, it appears the unusual name was not to help Americans unfamiliar with the Spanish names of the food items; indeed, for many years Taco Bell menu boards featured a system of phonetic pronunciation guides next to each item.
Even after the Enchirito was officially discontinued in 1993, some customers still ordered them, and word spread through the Internet that many restaurants would still make them with the ingredients they had available. Due to this underground popularity, it was decided to bring it back, and commercials, featuring the Taco Bell chihuahua promoting the Enchirito, began airing on December 26, 1999, with later commercials in mid-2000 featuring the rapping or singing styles of the "five guys with no talent". However, some things about the item had changed. The serving container had become a coated pressed-paper oblong bowl when dining in, or a black plastic bowl with a clear plastic lid if ordering from the drive-thru. Most significantly, the character of the dish was altered by changing the yellow corn masa tortilla to a white wheat flour tortilla. The sliced olives were omitted. The chicken Enchirito and the steak Enchirito, which respectively substitute chicken or steak for the ground beef, were also introduced as options. The Enchirito is served with a plastic spork. The Enchirito was once again discontinued when Taco Bell introduced the Smothered Burrito on July 25, 2013. While it may not be currently seen on the menu, it can be requested when ordering.
A typical ground beef enchirito contains 209 calories, 17 grams of fat (8 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, and 1110 milligrams of sodium.
- "Specialties: Enchirito". Taco Bell Corp. Archived from the original on 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
- LA Times food Section dated July 1968,
- Montebello News, and Montebelo News, Whittier Daily News in the food Sections and local news.
- Robes, Karen (2008-06-11). "Cerritos entrepreneur Dan Jones, creator of the enchirito, has gone from fast-food cook to franchisee". Long Beach Press-Telegram.
- "Local Man Invents 'Souped-Up' Enchilada". Corsicana Daily Sun. 1971-01-27. p. 11B.
- "Taco Bell Ad". El Paso Herald-Post. 1971-02-13. p. 56.
- "Taco Bell Ad". Las Cruces Sun-News. 1974-05-03. p. 27.
- "Fast food in 1973". SFGate. 2013-04-04.
- Hernandez, Greg (2000-01-04). "Hey! Pick Up the Enchirito!; Taco Bell is ringing in the new year with something old: the enchirito". Los Angeles Times. Link via ProQuest.
- Lansner, Jonathan (2000-02-07). "Special orders not upsetting - At some chains, they're almost normal". Orange County Register.
- Valdespino, Anne (2000-01-22). "Enchirito Returns as a Gooey, Gooey Blast From the Past normal". Los Angeles Times.
- MacArthur, Kate (2000-07-03). "Taco Bell fences in Chihuahua for ads". Advertising Age.
- Hoffman, Ken (2000-01-21). "Something old, something goo (ey)". Houston Chronicle.
- Woo, Michelle (2013-07-26). "Taco Bell Introduces The Smothered Burrito". OC Weekly.
- Barness, Sarah (2014-02-21). "Taco Bell's Secret Menu Will Put You Into A Food Coma (VIDEO)". Huffington Post.
- "Full Nutrition Information: All Items". Taco Bell. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20.