I’m not sure there’s anything more classic American than a cheeseburger. When I was a teenager, my dad worked for a European-owned company, and two employees who were visiting the United States came over to our house. When I asked them what their stereotypes were of Americans, they didn’t hesitate. “Overweight people who eat cheeseburgers and French fries,” they told me.
I’ll readily admit that I do like cheeseburgers. Bacon cheeseburgers are terrific. I also like a good mushroom and swiss burger. And I’ve got no problem with a traditional cheeseburger topped with ketchup, mustard, and pickles.
Occasionally, I’ll see the cheeseburger formula translated into other foods. Cheeseburger pizza comes to mind, for instance. Recently, when I was at Aldi’s distant cousin, Trader Joe’s, I saw a new one: a cheeseburger burrito.
Color me interested.
The Trader Joe’s Cheeseburger Burrito can be found in the store’s refrigerated section, next to the ready-made sandwiches, wraps, and other burritos. The 8-ounch burrito comes in paper wrapping and costs $4.49, or about 56 cents an ounce.
The label advertises it as “cooked seasoned beef crumble with cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, and dill pickle relish in a flour tortilla.” The burrito is refrigerated and listed as perishable. It also has a best-by date on it. Keep that in mind if you pick one up.
It’s precooked, so you can heat it either in the oven or in the microwave. To heat in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the wrapper. For a crisp tortilla, place the burrito on a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and heat for 20 to 25 minutes. For a softer tortilla, cover the burrito loosely with foil, place on a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven, and heat for 22 to 28 minutes. In all cases, let it stand for 1 minute before serving.
To microwave the burrito, unwrap the burrito and use the wrapper to loosely rewrap the burrito. Place on a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes, or until hot, rotating halfway through heating. Finally, let stand before serving.
I opted for the microwave method on account of it being much faster. My standard microwave had this thing hot and ready in closer to 1 minute and 15 seconds, but your mileage may vary.
I really liked this burrito. The tortilla is surprisingly soft, a tribute to the fact that it’s not frozen, and the ingredients feel more fresh than I would expect from a store-bought burrito. It definitely has cheeseburger vibes, from the ground beef to the cheddar cheese. Little elements like the dill pickle relish add a dash of pickle to the flavor, and the tomatoes and onions add depth, too. It doesn’t at all taste like a Tex-Mex burrito — this is a cheeseburger wrapped in a tortilla.
All that flavor comes at a cost. The burrito has a full 610 calories, including 31 grams of fat (40% of your recommended daily allowance), 90 milligrams of cholesterol (30%), 1,190 milligrams of sodium (52%), and 53 grams of carbs (19%). There’s also 27 grams of protein and a fair amount of calcium (25%). The ingredients list, too, is long, in part because of the fact that this is a complex burrito, but also because this is a processed food.
In terms of allergens, it contains milk, eggs, soy, and wheat.
The Trader Joe’s Cheeseburger Burrito is truth in advertising: a burrito that has genuine cheeseburger flavor. For around $4.50, you get an 8-ounce burrito that has handmade taste and texture, thanks to the fact that it’s not frozen. It’s also especially high in fat, sodium, and calories, which probably makes this best as a sometimes food.