One of the very popular and all-time favorite Mexican dishes for so many is the fajita! The fajita is a tasty dish that is served sizzling hot. The fajita is an assortment of peppers and meat that comes together to create a bold flavored dish. However, have you ever wondered about the evolution or history of this popular Mexican dish? Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant will take you back and share how the fajita came to be and why it is such a popular Mexican dish.
Fajita Campfire Dinner?
A modern fajita can be made with a number of different meats and peppers. However, that always wasn’t so. Traditionally a fajita is served with beef, which is where fajitas get their name. In Spanish the word “faja” means “belt or girdle” and the full term fajita means “little strap”. The first evidence of fajitas coming out of Mexico was in the late 1930’s. A group of workers that came out of Mexican and into West Texas were sometimes paid in meat and other foods when money was tight. The workers were often given the less desirable part, such as the skirt steak. Even though it wasn’t the most desirable meat, the workers were expert in marinating and grilling the meat. The meat was often served on a tortilla accompanied with a side of vegetables. The fajita was essentially the perfect campfire meal!
Fajitas Sold at Concession Stands
Due to the alluring smells, bold colors and flavors of the fajita, this dish actually began to grow very popular by the 1960’s. A man named Sonny Falcon took an interest in this campfire dish and began experimenting with the meat. Sonny Falcon was a meat market manager for the Guajardo’s Cash Grocery store. He set up the first fajita concession stand in 1969 during a festival and began selling fajitas to the crowd. He then began setting up his concession stand at rodeos and other local festivals. At this point the word was out and many people would come in droves to get their hands on Sonny’s fajitas and he became nicknamed “the fajita king”.
Restaurants with Fajitas
By the 1870’s the fajita was seen in many restaurants. In the 1980’s there was a German born chef named George Weidmann, who started cooking the sizzling fajitas that most people see in restaurants today. However, George Weidmann did take some liberties with the traditional fajita. He began making fajitas with the tender sirloin section of meat instead of skirt steak. Simply by changing out the section of meat the fajitas got even more popular. Over time the fajita dish evolved and now we can see a variety of different types of fajitas. Some fajitas are made with beef, others are made with chicken, shrimp, or pork. The vegetables also can range from onions, to tomatoes, peppers, cheeses, guacamole, and pico de gallo. However, one thing that often stays the same is that the fajitas come out sizzling hot and are guaranteed to be delicious.