Chipotle's Carne Asada Review: The Third Time's A Charm For This Menu Item

Chipotle's Carne Asada
Chipotle's Carne Asada - Michael Palan / Static Media

For most of Chipotle's history, chicken, steak, and pork carnitas were the only options for protein power. To further satisfy an ever-picky eating world, the chain has experimented with adding new proteins throughout the years, such as Barbacoa in 2010 and the plant-based Sofritas in 2014. This year, one of those former proteins is making a comeback: carne asada.

First hitting stores in the latter part of 2019, carne asada rapidly became the company's fastest-selling new protein with 10 million curious customers trying it out. Still, Chipotle wasn't fully satisfied with it and found a new meat supplier before bringing it back in the fall of 2020... before it vanished, again.

Chipotle is now giving carne asada a new lease on life for a limited time only. Will it be that the third time's the charm for the protein, or will it follow its earlier 2023 brethren chicken al pastor out the door and onto to browner pastor-s? We got a sneak peek and eat at the latest and perhaps greatest incarnation of Chipotle's carne asada, and here is our chew and review for you to stew on...

Read more: 21 McDonald's Hacks You Should Know Before Ordering

What Does Chipotle's Carne Asada Taste Like?

Carne Asada rice and beans
Carne Asada rice and beans - Michael Palan / Static Media

For the purpose of taste testing Chipotle's new take on carne asada, we tried the protein in two forms. The first choice was our usual: a standard overstuffed Chipotle burrito order, with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, including both white AND brown rice, and both black AND pinto beans, but sans tomatillo-red chili salsa. The other option we chose was the fajita quesadilla. The taste results were not exactly the same.

Chicken is normally our go-to protein, but in our dolled-up muy gordo burrito, it rarely stands out amongst the commotion, and the same was true when carne asada took its place. Thankfully we had much more luck with the less busy, but totally delicious fajita quesadilla. Its suggested sides were white rice, black beans, and sour cream for dipping, and yet not a single one of them was necessary to enhance its greatness. The carne asada was tender, soft, and toothsome. Perfectly cooked, the strip pieces were neither too chewy nor at all tough. The juicy beef had visible specs of cilantro, and its taste shared hints of lime.

In the quesadilla, Monterey Jack cheese is melted over the meat, and the combo of the two is such a sultry, salty duo that they could stand alone in a bowl to be eaten up. Still, the fajita veggies add another layer of succulent softness to the inside that is encased in a crunchy quesadilla shell.

What Is Chipotle's Carne Asada Made Of?

open Chipotle burrito
open Chipotle burrito - Michael Palan / Static Media

Chipotle's carne asada is beef steak seasoned and marinated with salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, cumin, chipotle, cumin, oregano, thyme, rosemary, coriander, bay leaves, and sunflower oil. It is cooked on a grill, and then topped off with some freshly-squeezed lime and hand-chopped cilantro.

A 4-ounce serving of carne asada nets 250 calories, 14 grams of total fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 740 milligrams of sodium, and contains 1 gram of carbs. The same serving size accounts for 29 grams of protein, and it is a good source of vitamin A, accounting for 60% of a recommended daily diet. Carne asada also has a decent amount of calcium and iron.

Above information is only for the carne asada protein itself. For additional nutritional values on other Chipotle items that can be added alongside it, please consult the menu and nutritional calculator.

When And Where To Order Chipotle's Carne Asada

packaged foods
packaged foods - Michael Palan / Static Media

Starting September 13, Chipotle's carne asada protein is available for a limited time, at both United States and Canadian locations, while supplies last. It can be ordered at any time Chipotle is open during business hours, and opening and closing times vary per location.

All items on Chipotle's menu can be ordered in-store or by pre-ordering through the app or online for pickup or delivery, if available in your area. Either allows you to customize your order and earn points. Chipotle does have a drive-thru option, awesomely named Chipotlane, but it is only available to use to pick up digital orders placed in advance.

How To Order Chipotle's Carne Asada

Chipotle receipt and bag
Chipotle receipt and bag - Michael Palan / Static Media

Like all Chipotle proteins, carne asada can be added to any burrito, burrito bowl, Lifestyle bowl, salad, tacos, or kids meal. As mentioned, it can also be had as a quesadilla, which is only available for ordering digitally, via Chipotle's app or website. Carne asada cannot be ordered a la carte as a stand-alone side.

Prices vary depending on the vessel you choose to have it reside in. Extra portions of meat are always an option at Chipotle, but come at an extra cost. Also, if variety is the spice of your life, you can always ask for a half-portion of carne asada and a half portion of another protein.

The Final Verdict

Carne Asada closeup
Carne Asada closeup - Michael Palan / Static Media

Bringing back carne asada to Chipotle's menus for a third time runs a risk of eaters having a case of déjà vu and asking a lot of questions. Didn't Chipotle have this? If so, why did it go away? Was there something wrong with it? Now that it's back, what's new and possibly improved about it?

Worry not dear eaters and readers, for one bite of the tender and juicy new edition and you'll understand. Carne asada is such an excellent beef option, Chipotle's steak and barbacoa will start to get jealous that they're getting left behind.

Though it's available through the app, our recommendation for full flavor appreciation is to order your carne asada as the protein in your fajita quesadilla. Three sides are included, but none are necessary to enjoy these triangles of deliciousness. Since the carne asada has no sign of being spicy, feel free to heat it up on your own, perhaps dousing it with any of the three Tabasco sauces usually on hand at Chipotle locations. With or without an added kick, it looks like the third time's a charm for Chipotle's carne asada.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.