I love Chipotle. The people who tell me they don’t like Chipotle or that X local store is better (that’s a placeholder, FYI, because as far as I am aware, there is not a fast-casual burrito place called X), I scoff. I’ve tried some others. They’re fine. I’ll eat it. But Chipotle? Chipotle is my fast-casual food love, now and always. One summer, probably six or seven years ago, Chipotle ran a rewards program where if you ate a certain amount of burritos each month for the summer, you’d win the ultimate prize of free Chipotle catering for 20 people. You’re dang right I got that reward! I don’t remember exactly how many burritos you had to eat in a month, but I know it kept me going there at least two to three times a week weekly, month after month in the summer. And I never tired of it! I love Chipotle!
There’s enough combinations of rice (white or brown), beans (Pinto or black), meat (barbacoa (like a shredded beef), chicken, steak, carnitas, carne asada when they have it, sofritas (plant-based, and yes, it’s good) and even going meatless entirely and without the sofritas, then fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, tomatillo-green chili salsa, tomatillo-red chili salsa (my favorite, but dangerous to get because it’s HOT), cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and of course, the godly guacamole, and even godlier chips. In fact, as much as I love everything I just said, sometimes I go to Chipotle more for the chips than the burrito. Also, instead of going the burrito route with the tortilla, there’s always the burrito bowl. That’s a fine option and allows better mixing. But typically go with the tortilla; it’s hard to pass up the flavor of it, and a burrito is just more fun. Fun fact: As much as I’m a Chipotle head, I’ve never gone the taco route. Maybe one of these days.
So, suffice it to say, when I got that promotional email from Chipotle telling me they have smoked brisket, you’re darn right I was there THE NEXT DAY getting Chipotle and that smoked brisket. I got it with white rice, black beans, fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, and cheese, and of course, a side of chips. And welp. I’m sad to report … it wasn’t that good.
They overcooked it. Granted, I did go to a different location than usual and my criticism could be specific to this location and that night and that shift, but at that location, on that night, and with that shift, it wasn’t that good. I’m pretty amenable to overcooked food. Again, folks, I’m a garbage disposal easy to please. Toss a moldy bit of rye bread at me, and I’ll lather it up with butter. Overcooked hot dogs and burgers? Sure. Bacon? Heck yeah, that’s the best actually. But three foods come to mind that aren’t good overcooked: fish, chicken, and brisket. The whole point of brisket is its mouth-watering juiciness. So, burning it takes away from that experience.
Instead, I had to rely on the usual toppings I get from Chipotle (and the chips after) to make it a worthwhile experience. Bah. Naturally, I will try it again just to see if it’s a that location, that night and that shift problem, or if Chipotle didn’t get the recipe on this one right for mass production in burritos and bowls.
In the promotional email, they say it’s marinated and finished with garlic, cumin, coriander, and Mexican peppers. All of those flavors sound great to experience if they weren’t butchered by being overcooked (see what I did there?).
It’s okay. I still love you, Chipotle. You’re my forever favorite. For the record, my favorite meat from Chipotle is the barbacoa and it’s always on point and delicious and savory, something I was expecting out of this smoked brisket.
CEO Brian Niccol told Yahoo Finance in August that they are also experimenting with cauliflower rice. When that comes out, you know I’ll be there, Chipotle.
Have you had a chance to try the smoked brisket from Chipotle? What do you normally get there?