Sunken Meat Burrito

"Toucan Taco, an old, hole-in-the-wall family-owned and operated restaurant in Laurel, Maryland, serves some of the best and most unique Mexican food I have ever tasted. Until I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, I had gone to Toucan Taco at least once a week for a delicious Sunken Meat Burrito. But now that I am on a low sodium diet, Toucan Taco is "off limits" to me. So I embarked on a mission to clone these sunken beauties and, after numerous “close-but-no-cigar” attempts, I did it! I have isted “regular” ingredients, but it’s incredibly easy to significantly reduce the sodium content by using reduced-sodium, low-sodium, or sodium-free beef stock, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and tortillas. "
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
4 burritos




  • ------TheFilling--------------.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef with the flour, red pepper, chili powder, salt, minced onion, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • DO NOT include the cocoa powder.
  • Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients into the ground beef.
  • Add the seasoned beef mixture and all the liquid to a crock pot.
  • Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on the mixture.
  • Cook on low for about 2 hours.
  • Every 20 to 30 minutes, sprinkle a tiny amount of cocoa powder on the mixture, and mash with a potato masher.
  • Remove meat and water to saucepan.
  • Add refried beans, if desired.
  • Simmer gently until water evaporates.
  • ----------TheSinking Gravy---------------.
  • Melt bacon fat or oil.
  • Gently sauté chopped onion and mushrooms until tender.
  • Set this mixture aside.
  • Combine ¼ cup of the beef stock with the flour in a jar with a tight-fitting lid- shake mixture vigorously until smooth.
  • Combine stock/flour mixture with remaining stock in a heavy saucepan.
  • Add tomato paste and whisk until tomato paste is thoroughly mixed in.
  • Bring the stock mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or so, whisking frequently, until mixture begins to thicken.
  • Add all remaining ingredients as well as onion/mushroom/fat mixture.
  • Simmer until heated throughout.
  • Add salt, pepper and other spices to taste.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place 3 to 4 ounces of beef or beef/bean mixture in the center of each tortilla.
  • Sprinkle minced onion and then cheese, generously, on top of beef.
  • Fold the filled tortillas into oblong burritos.
  • Place each burrito, folded side down, into an 8" x 4" baking pan OR place all the burritos into a baking pan large enough to accommodate them without letting them touch one another.
  • Pour gravy into baking pan until burrito is barely covered.
  • Sprinkle more cheese, generously, on top of each burrito.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes OR bake 10 to 15 minutes and then broil until cheese is bubbling.
  • Add hot sauce, crumbled tostados, sour cream and/or guacamole, if desired.
  • Serve with a taco salad (or other salad of your choice) on the side.

Questions & Replies

Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. this was a great recipe, a little sweet when its all done, id recommend cutting back on the cider vinegar ( i think thats what made it a little sugary) maybe use half water instead, and dont start this unles you have all afternoon available! but otherwise it tasted great!
  2. FABULOUS! This recipe was fantastic - the filling was PERFECT and the sauce was just as good - I spiced it up a bit more by adding more jalapeno's to the sauce and some hot sauce to the filling! Even better the next day! GREAT recipe! Worth the time it took to put it together!
  3. My family loved this. Admittedly, it was time consuming to make, but then I knew that going into it. Worth the time and effort. I wouldn't change a thing.
  4. He's right!! he did get it!!!I'm from Rockville Md. which used to have a Tippy's Taco House(toucan taco)which closed when i moved to La. and I've tried everywhere to find a burrito as good a tippy's.I follwed Millers recipe but for the filling only,and with a few add on's the blend came out precise!! Many thanks to Miller for allowing me to enjoy a tippy's burrito anytime I need one. God bless, Keith Zibrat,Baton Rouge
  5. Gosh, Miller, I really hesitated making this review because I have to say this is the first recipe of yours that I was not totally pleased with. I followed your ingredient list exactly. I only left out the recaito, which was listed as optional, in the filling. The filling had a good taste but I felt the addition of flour gave it a "pasty" consistency which wasn't needed. My main problem was with the gravy. I felt it was far too sweet and tasted more like barbeque sauce. It was not like any mexican gravy I have had before. I think we would have liked it better if we had just left out the cider vinegar and molasses. I served it with sour cream and that helped to cut the sweet taste down a bit. This recipe was very time consuming and I had high expectations, given the rave reviews, but overall I was disappointed. Sorry!


Gavin "Miller" Duncan passed away November 12, 2004 in Laurel, MD from complications of a "broken" heart. The outpouring of support from the Recipezaar community while his health was declining was a huge comfort to him and even "perked him up" a bit in his final month. Miller was a huge asset to Recipezaar, not only due to his incredible collection of recipes, but his participation in the forums. Miller was known for his wonderful low-sodium recipes, his warmth, and last, but not least, his wicked, dry sense of humor. Liza at Recipezaar ********************************************************* No, the picture to the left is not me. It is, in fact, a picture of famous TV Chef Jamie Oliver (a/k/a Thpit Boy)’s grandfather, the late Sir Topaz McWhacker. Note the strong family resemblance, most noticeable in the nose, eyebrows, and general lack of cleanliness Legend has it that Topaz taught Thpit everything that he knows about whacking and about only washing and combing his hair twice a year. . Instead of the trivia that many Recipezaar members have displayed on their “About Me” pages, I thought it might be a tad more helpful if I were to provide some beneficial information that you can put to good practical use either in your own kitchen or when you are watching the antics of some celebrated TV chefs. So, for your enlightenment..... . . Chairman Kaga: When he says “Ion Shff”, he really means “Iron Chef” or, perhaps, “I need a Kleenex” . Chef Paula Deen: When she says “awl”, she really means “oil”. When she says “y’all”, she really means “everyone except m’all”. When she says “bring the water to a bawl”, I have no clue what she means - I thought you could only make a baby “bawl”. And, boys and girls, you can easily Deenize the sentences that you use in your very own kitchen, such as “All y’all can bawl your corn in olive awl or wrap it in aluminum fawl”. . Emeril Lagasse: When he says “confectionery sugar’, he really means “confectioners’ sugar”. When he says “pappa-reeka”, he really means “paprika”. When he says “inside of”, he really means “in”. When he says “a little”, he really means “a lot”. Have you ever tried to count the number of times he says “a little” during any given show? Don’t – it will drive you nuts. When he says “cardamin”, he really means “cardamom”. When he says “my water don’t come seasoned”, what he really means is “I need a new joke writer”. When he says “that www dot food thing”, he really means “I flunked Computerese 101”. . Iron Chef Morimoto: When he says “Foo Netwu”, he really means “Food Network”. . Dessert Dude Jacques Torres: When he says “I going”, he really means “I am going”. (The verb “to be” has apparently been deleted from the French language.) . Spit Boy Jamie Oliver: When he says “whack it in the oven”, he really means “I am into hot, kinky stuff”. When he says “Bob’s yer uncle”, what he really means is “you’d better ask your aunt how well she REALLY knew that mailman named Robert”. When he says “rocket”, he really means “an older weapon being used in Iraq”. When he says “Fewd Netwuk”, he really means “Food Network”. . Numerous chefs: When they say “codfish” and “tunafish”, what they really mean is “cod” and “tuna”, respectively. Please note that they use these terms so that you don’t go out and buy “codanimal” or “tunavegetable” by mistake. Having said that, I have no clue as to why they don’t refer to “troutfish”, “salmonfish”, “red snapperfish”, etc., etc. . Giggly-Wiggly Rachael Ray: When she says “EVOO”, she really means “don’t use BOCO (boring old corn oil)”. When she says “a little lettuce action going on”, she really means “with only 8 minutes left in the game, cabbages are still in the lead, but lettuces are making a strong comeback”. . Two Fat Ladies: When they say “I gwing”, they really mean “I am going” or “Sorry, but we have been watching too many episodes of Jacques Torres’ show”. . Please note that the above is not all-inclusive. If there are other celebrity chef words or phrases that have you stumped, please post an "ISO" message in the discussion forums and I will find the translation for you.
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes