Way, way back in 1949 a man named Jim Knudson and his wife, Margaret, were served tacos for dinner at a friend’s home. What made this experience unique is that neither had eaten a taco before. Jim Knudson was experienced in the food industry and thought offering tacos to the American public was a good idea. After perfecting his recipe that included a dusting of canned Parmesan Cheese, Jim introduced the “Tayco” to the menu of his Grass Valley restaurant. Much to his surprise, customers were not enthusiastic about the new menu item. The taco was not a hit, but Jim Knudson was not about to give up.
In 1954, Jim and his wife converted a 16-foot trailer into a mobile kitchen. A regular Grass Valley customer gave Jim the nickname “Jimboy”. This inspired the two to name their restaurant trailer “Jimboy’s Spanish Tacos. The trailer was towed to Kings Beach, California that summer. Jimboy began selling his tacos to beach goers and celebrities alike. Kings Beach was in close proximity to the set of Bonanza in the Tahoe forest and the “Cartwrights” were known to get their taco fix from Jimboy’s. They were not alone. When stars like Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra were appearing in Lake Tahoe, they too were said to have dined on tacos from a kitchen on wheels. Eventually Jimboy added burritos, rice and beans to his authentic American Taco menu.
Jimboy’s is now 65 years old. Not bad for a trailer kitchen. While this isn’t exactly Jimboy’s recipe, it was inspired by the first American Taco chain. Hope you enjoy!
Jimboy Inspired Beefy Burrito
Beefy Meat Filling
2 tablespoons Dried Onion Flakes
3/4 cup Water
2 lbs Ground Chuck
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Taco Seasoning
2 tablespoons Mexican Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt or to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Jalapeno Sauce to taste
To Make the Beefy Meat Filling
Mix dried onion with water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes.
Combine ground beef, flour, taco seasoning, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Mix well. Add onions and water. Mix again.
In a large cast iron skillet, cook beef mixture until browned, about 15 minutes. Stir often while cooking so no large chunks form; it should be more like a paste.
Once everything is cooked through, add the Worcestershire and Jalapeno Sauces. Taste filling, adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to assemble the burritos.
1/4 cup Mexican Cotija Cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup canned Parmesan Cheese
6 large Flour Tortillas, Burrito size
3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Sour Cream
6 slices American Cheese
To Assemble Burrito
Crumble the Cotija Cheese onto a plate. Add Parmesan Cheese. Blend the cheeses together and set aside.
Dice tomatoes into small pieces and set aside.
Warm tortillas on a griddle with just a little cooking spray for easy roll. As the tortillas are warmed, stack them on a plate. Set aside until ready to use.
Lay one tortilla at a time on a flat work surface. Spread about 1 tablespoon or so of sour cream over the entire tortilla. Place about 1/4 cup or so of meat filling down the center of the tortilla. You’ll want the burrito full without over flowing.
Sprinkle meat filling with some of the diced tomatoes. Cut American Cheese into strips. Lay over the filling.
Fold one end of the tortilla over the filling, then firmly roll into a burrito. Set aside and continue to make remaining burritos.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Lightly fry the burritos for a crisp exterior.
Press burritos onto the cheese blend for a light dusting. The burritos are now ready to serve and enjoy.
For a complete meal, serve with flavorful Spanish or Mexican Rice and refried beans.