What I Learned Taking 200 Hours to Make a Burrito

The Podcasting Store
3 min readApr 6, 2023

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by Drew Holmes

Not my burrito, sadly, as this one is way prettier. But I have no doubt mine tasted better, so there’s that.

I love to cook and am always on the lookout for the next great recipe. During a YouTube scrolling and searching session, I discovered Joshua Weissman’s channel.

Joshua at first seems like a Gen Z geek/bro; yet another self-styled influencer from the Tik Tok Generation. This notion is quickly squashed as he has some serious kitchen skills. He is known for taking popular fast-food items and making them better, creating elevated versions of them at home and never cutting corners. For example, if he is making a hamburger, he will not only grind his own meat but also bake the bun. So, when his video of the 200 hour burrito dropped, I watched with curiosity.

The concept — a burrito is typically a quick food. The individual components come together fast, and it can be eaten on the go. Joshua asked himself — What if the process was made as slow as possible? What if each element was superlatively refined to elevate every part of the dish? Would the sum of the parts be worth the necessary week of preparation?

Intrigued, I decided to give it a try. Fortunately, a significant portion of the 200 hours is advanced preparation. A week before B(urrito)-day, I began a sourdough starter for the tortillas, fermented Fresno chili peppers for the hot sauce, and preserved a bag of Meyer lemons for the pico de gallo and the rice. The night before, I soaked the dried pinto beans and immersed the pork for the carnitas into the sous vide where it would cook for over 16 hours. On B-day, making preserved lemon pico de gallo, and black garlic salsa Negra required a flurry of cutting and chopping. The afternoon was a blur of activity, cooking rice, simmering beans, rolling sourdough tortillas, and trying to keep everything organized and on schedule.

What struck me throughout the process was the simplicity of every step. Yes, properly executing the recipe required some base knowledge and cooking skill, but each individual instruction was very straightforward. I just needed to make the components, assemble the burrito, and see if the results were worth the effort. Instead of looking at it as 200 hours of labor, I saw it as an aggregate of short bursts of work. 10 minutes to make the salsa Negra. 15 minutes to make the pico. Over the course of the week, small accomplishments became big wins.

The parallels to learning music were obvious every step of the way. When starting to make music, some people aspire to play in oversold venues with standing room only. Having a goal is key, but breaking it down into the small steps of the path to get there is crucial. First there are lessons, then practice. Hours of study and dedication (not all of them active with an instrument) open doors and lead to the opportunities dreamed of on day one. But in music, like with the burrito, accomplishment does not occur in a single chunk of time. It happens a few minutes at a time, with consistent, persistent effort.

Was the burrito delicious? Of course. I put such love and care into each step that failure was impossible. Was it as perfect as the one Joshua made in his video? Of course not. I know what he posts to his channel are curated images, but more importantly he has devoted his life to the culinary arts. He has put in the small bits of effort to become an expert in his field. For my burrito, the results were fantastic. If I manage to convince Jamie to let me monopolize the kitchen for the better part of a week, I will make it again. And with each small lesson I learned it will be even better.

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