The Sizzling History of Fajitas

Iron Cactus FajitasFajitas have grown from obscure, South Texas roots to become a beloved mainstay of Mexican cooking. The history of fajitas, while somewhat blurred, belongs to the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and northern Mexico, where skirt steak was often used as payment to vaqueros (Spanish for “cowboys”). The vaqueros soon became adept at marinating the steak and devouring its various, tasty forms.

The mainstream popularity of fajitas truly began in the 70s as restaurants and concession stands in South Texas awakened the cowboy tradition by grilling skirt steak on sizzling platters and serving them with flour tortillas. Soon, thanks to some very satisfied and loyal customers, their popularity exploded. Ingredients quickly grew to include guacamole, grated cheese and pico de gallo, a combination of fresh onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro.

The tradition of delivering them to the table on a sizzling platter certainly did nothing to inhibit their popularity. Many customers can readily attest that it is hard to resist the delectable smell of sizzling, flavorful steak as it passes by your table.

Soon enough, they became a staple at Mexican restaurants across the state, with many variations on this simple dish.

At Iron Cactus, we appreciate the authentic roots of fajitas and have added our signature unique blends of flavors to create our own interpretation, including such evocative dishes as Tequila Marinated Chicken Breast, Tequila Adobo Marinated Shrimp, an unforgettable steak and chicken combination, and the Achiote Marinated Pork Carnitas. Be sure to come and try one of these delightful dishes for yourself. You will be keeping an authentic tradition alive while delighting your taste buds.

Mezcal

Mezcal is a word that conjures up evocative images of old Mexico. It’s yet another reason why Mexico is unlike any other place. Like the land around it, Mezcal is a world steeped in myth and legend; an experience that connects us to a past realized in smoky wafts of oak and agave.
 
Describing it is like trying to describe the sound a cello makes to a deaf person. It has a fullness and subtlety that emerges slowly. Mezcal is as close as you can get to experiencing pure Mexico in a glass. It’s a mystical, earthy concoction, with roots deep in native culture. Its genius is in its unique creation, as true Mezcal is produced in small towns, located mostly in the state of Oaxaca.
 
Whereas Tequila is only produced from one type of agave plant, Mezca can be produced from different varieties. These differences, along with the closely-guarded recipes and secret preparation techniques are the primary reasons Mezcal has wildly varied tastes.
 
The most important difference from tequila is the smoke. After years of cultivating the agaves, which are grown on the sides of mountains, the pina, or the heart of the plant is buried and smoked over a bed of oak wood for several days. The oak-imparted, blackened heart is then crushed by an old stone wheel pulled by horses and donkeys to extract the precious liquid. The liquid is fermented, then distilled, usually twice, in copper vats, and secret ingredients are added. The Mezcal is then allowed to age in antiquated oak barrels, which provide further flavoring.
 
The result is nothing less than miraculous. The taste is everything Iron Cactus stands for: distinctiveness, authenticity, a spirit that can only be experienced and never quite explained.
 
Right now, Iron Cactus is proud to serve Wahaka Mezcal. Made by 5th generation “mezcaleros” from the small town of San Dionisio Ocotepec, in the state of Oxaaca, it’s as real as it gets. Come sip a a precious glass–you will be transported.