Mixed beef and chicken fajita ingredients, served on a hot iron skillet
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Southwestern United States|
|Main ingredient(s)||Tortillas, meat|
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
A fajita (pron.: //; Spanish: [faˈxita]) is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato.
Faijita is a Mexican term or Tex-Mex for little meat (chicken and beef) strips. The word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The exact time in which the dish was named fajita is unclear.
The word "faja" is Spanish for "strip", "band", "sash", or "belt".
The first serious study of the history of fajitas was done in 1984 by Homero Recio as part of his graduate work in animal science at Texas A&M. Recio was intrigued by a spike in the retail price of skirt steak, and that sparked his research into the dish that took the once humble skirt steak from throwaway cut to menu star. Recio found anecdotal evidence describing the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname going back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) as part of their pay. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat wasn't available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.
Sonny Falcon is believed to have operated the first commercial fajita taco stand at a weeklong outdoor event in Kyle, Texas, in 1969. He also went to rodeos, fairs, and outdoor festivals selling his fajita taco. An Austin reporter christened him "The Fajita King" and Falcon was able to trademark the name. However, it is also widely believed that the first retail fajita plate was sold in Georgetown, Texas. But there is no way to know with any kind of certainty who did it first.
The food became popular in Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin and San Antonio. In southern Arizona, the term was unknown except as a cut of meat until the 1990s, when Mexican fast food restaurants started using the word in their marketing. In recent years, fajitas have become popular at American casual dining restaurants.
In many restaurants, the fajita meat is brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments.
See also 
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