What Makes a Great Frozen Red Hot Beef Burrito

The aroma and taste profiles of a high-quality spicy beef burrito should include chili, beef, flour tortilla and bean notes. There may also be toasty, cooked onion/garlic, cumin and oregano notes to add to the overall character of the burrito. The chili “character” may be powdered or fresh and there may also be an oil note. If there is a raw onion note, it should be low/minimal as to not overwhelm the other desired notes.

The taste profile should lead with saltiness, followed by a little sweetness, sourness, bitterness and an expected level of umami.

The texture should include a tender initial bite of the tortilla. There will be some chewiness of the tortilla, but it shouldn’t be overly hard or doughy. The filling should be moist and rich, and there may be a low amount of gristle from the meat. There will be an expected level of cohesiveness, adhesiveness and heat intensity to stay true to the “spicy” name. The degree of “mushiness” of the filling is stylistic, but it should not be overly mushy and the dissolve should be moderately long.

It should appear to have some structural integrity and not be completely exploded or broken. The filling should appear moist but the size of the grind within the filling is stylistic. There may be some visible oil but the burrito should not appear overly saturated. Ideally, the flour tortilla may look “toasty/toasted.”

Tasting terms

  • umami

    One of the basic tastes; the savory flavor in meat and broths; sometimes an additive (MSG). Example: Natural Parmesan cheese, meats, seaweed, fish sauce and sesame exhibit an umami taste.

  • flavor note

    An individual flavor that exists within a given food’s blend of flavors. Example: Tomato sauce might have a basil flavor note.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.