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The Oklahoma City Fast Food Breakfast Burrito Codex


I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

In the frankly too many years I've been writing about food, I have proclaimed many things to be "God's perfect fruit."

- Gyros

- Samosas

- Macarons

And today, another joins the list: The breakfast burrito. Hey, I love non-breakfast burritos, too, but when you talk about the intersection of flavor, texture, and user-friendly design, it's hard to beat a breakfast burrito.

Restaurants know this. A breakfast burrito is more than the sum of its parts, which is also why they can charge you for more than the sum of the parts and people will happily pay for the privilege.

There's another reason people go nuts for these bundles of breakfast happiness and that is that breakfast burritos are only simple to eat. Actually constructing one is more difficult than one might assume, certainly if that one is me. I have tried and failed to make a great breakfast burrito about once a week for the last 8,000 years and never really cracked the code.

The tortilla needs to be flour, but the tortillas I get at the store aren't quite right. Too dense, too tender, too flavorless, too filled with preservatives. And when I try to make my own tortillas (or use the kind that come raw and require the user to fry them), the tortillas are great. . . but not for burritos.

If my local taco truck opened before 11 a.m., perhaps they would make the ideal breakfast burrito, the same way they frequently make my favorite simple-but-delicious carne asada and carnitas burritos. But even the taquerias that do open early don't always nail the breakfast burrito as well as they do the breakfast taco.

Breakfast taco eggs, for instance, can still be a little wet, which gives them a dreamy texture, but that would sog up a burrito almost instantly. A taco can just stack ingredients one on the other, but a burrito requires a little more thought to ensure each bite is satisfying without altering the texture in an unpleasant way.

While my personal choice for a breakfast burrito has been and remains the Big Truck Burrito with flank steak from Big Truck Tacos, I do not live or work close enough to BTT to make that a reality as often as I'd like.

Enter the fast food restaurants. At this point, plenty of drive-thru locations will happily shove a breakfast burrito wrapped in wax paper into your hands on the way to work, but with varying degrees of success.

And there's nothing quite as sad as an unsuccessful breakfast burrito. Nothing ruins a morning (and a shirt) like a poorly executed breakfast burrito. Which is why, please hold your applause, I have taken it upon myself to test them all out for you.

Over the coming months, I will return to this space with updates of fast food breakfast burritos available in OKC.

Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store

The first breakfast burritos I got from Braum's were deeply disappointing. So much so that I refrained from trying them again for nigh on a decade. But, necessity is the mother of eating whatever's close by, and that is how I found myself back in the Braum's drive-thru hoping beyond hope that they'd improved in the last ten years.

Uh, they had. Big time.

Braum's has five different version of the breakfast burrito and each of them has their own charms, though there are two I return to most often.

Grande Breakfast Burrito - The bog standard Braum's Breakfast Burrito is fine. Flour tortilla, scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage, pepperjack cheese, onions and tomatoes. Nothing wrong with it, though it's not a powerhouse of flavor. The Grande adds two very important ingredients: jalapenos and hash browns. The added heat from the jalapenos and the crunch (and fattiness) of the hash browns give it more heft and put this in the echelon of the ideal fast food breakfast burrito.

Braum's Grande Breakfast Burrito (cross section)

3-Meat Breakfast Burrito - Lol, this thing is so stuffed with meat it's almost a parody. It's the standard breakfast burrito with two more meats (bacon and ham) and jalapenos. The bacon is especially crispy and they're not shy about packing it in. Sometimes I, an avowed carnivore, have to wonder if maybe it's too much meat. I like it, but it's not my go-to choice.

California Chipotle Breakfast Burrito - I have to assume they say California because of the guacamole slathered inside it. Really, it's the basic stuff—egg, sausage, tomato, onion, cheese—but with guac and "chipotle sauce." That sauce gets a little lost, at least in my experience, because the guacamole really takes over for the other flavors. If you love avocados, you might want this one. If you hate them, avoid at all costs, because you're going to taste a lot of avocado.

Spanish Breakfast Burrito - DING DING DING! On the rare occasions when I don't want the Grande, it's the Spanish for me. Once again, you get the usual stuff, but with a slightly thinner layer of guac and the addition of jalapenos. Why do I prefer regular jalapenos to the smoked chipotle style? The green freshness of the peppers isn't as smoky as the chipotle, which lets the other ingredients contribute more. And the heat is more pronounced here than it is in the chipotle. Healthy? Probably not. But it's still got some veggies, so I can fool myself into thinking I'm starting off my day on the right foot.

Braum's Spanish Breakfast Burrito (cross section)

One other selling point: the price. Braum's Breakfast Burritos are as big or bigger than most fast food breakfast burritos while keeping in the affordable $3 range. Cheaper and better? Let's make that the Oklahoma standard.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.