Of all the culinary creations in the world, few single items encompass an entire meal quite like the burrito: meat, beans, rice, salsa, maybe some vegetables, all wrapped up in that versatile food vessel—the tortilla. In the best burritos, each ingredient stands out in every bite while at the same time harmonizing inside its tortilla casing. It may well be the perfect food for any meal (see: breakfast burritos), though it's just as satisfying while capping off a night on the town with one last hurrah of gluttony. Traditional, Americanized, or fused with any number of ethnic cuisines, the burrito has become as much a part of American food culture as the hamburger; enjoyed coast to coast, by all walks of life. Regale yourself with a homemade tortilla from Changos Taqueria, a "Cheezy Beef" from Habanero's or go all out with beef tongue from La Pasadita.
Consuming this gastronomic bomb leaves you tenuously balancing between a compact, delicious meal and a lap full of stained clothes and hunger. Some burritos are simply too messy to eat with one's hands, proudly taking up the plate on which they're laid, but true professionals know how to eat theirs wrapped in foil. Starting slowly at one end and working down, the foil holds all the juices in until you get to the last bite. Thanks to gravity, what would have been just a tortilla is now a tortilla that has been sitting in juices — a wad of burrito essence to finish off almost a foot of food.
However perfect and unshakeable this concoction may seem, bad burritos do exist. Lucky for you, this list only covers the country's best. The Daily Meal searched the land of the free to seek out the best burritos around, from glorified bodegas and holes-in-the-wall to flashier, younger joints. We consulted our own group of chefs and city experts, along with nationally and locally trusted sources online and in print in cities across the country. Some great places didn't make the list, but after qualifying the food based on heft, tortilla-wrapping skill and of course, flavor, the burritos from these 10 places emerged as the clear winners.
Check out the slideshow above to view some of the best burritos in the nation.