Tortilla Wrap Engineering

Big Red Car here in the ATX on a wickedly sunny, but crisp day. Ahhh, On Earth as it is in Texas! Today, we talk tortilla wrap and its engineering — complete assembly instructions like they were selling these babies at Ikea. No tools required.

So, the Big Red Car likes to take some nourishment at Green Mesquite on Barton Springs Road.

Green Mesquite Barbecue

When there, I like to have a chopped beef sandwich and if I’m really hungry, I’ll have a tortilla wrap as a chaser.


Take careful note of the relative position of the well-centered sausage, the pickles, and onions. This is a properly sauced tortilla wrap. Do not over sauce, a rookie mistake.

Let’s stop right here. Please do not tell me it’s called a “sausage wrap” and the wrapper is a tortilla. I made that mistake about a third of a century ago. When I walk into Green Mesquite on Barton Springs Road, my friend brings me an Arnold Palmer and a chopped beef with onions and pickles (like the service you get in an Emergency Room when time can be critical) and waits to find out whether we’re having a tortilla wrap chaser or not.

This level of fractured communication works for us and in all the years the NSA has never objected. So, just leave it alone.

So, I’m sitting there minding my own business and preparing my tortilla wrap, when a person at the next table, says, “What’s that?”

When any person in a barbecue joint — not just in the Louvre of barbecue joints like Green Mesquite — asks you, “What’s that?” you sort of know they’re not from around here. Or, they’ve lived in Texas for about an hour and a half.

The person then asked me how I “prepared” my tortilla wrap, to which question I provided a lengthy and meticulous answer.

 1. Make damn sure your tortilla is crispy and hot. A few char marks are fine.

 2. Ensure the sausage is secured in the middle of the tortilla. Test this by putting a preliminary fold on the tortilla, measuring it carefully for “centering.”

 3. Add onions — take a onion curl and cut it in half and insert the onions.

 4. Add pickles — it is perfectly fine to put the pickles in first and the onions on top, my personal preference.

 5. Put a light spritz of barbecue sauce on the tortilla and a single stripe on the sausage. Do not over sauce.

 6. Roll that baby tight.

 7. Bite into the tortilla wrap waiting and listening for the crunch of that crisp sausage skin.

I coached the curious person through the entire process and it was announced a success, though there was a little too much sauce, which dribbled down someone’s chin. It is an amateurish mistake to over sauce a tortilla wrap.

Folks will get into trouble the same way when they over stuff a taco. It happens and you learn and you stop doing that. It’s called “experience” and getting a bit of experience can be a very tasty thing.

So, that’s it, y’all. Now, you are an expert on the Green Mesquite tortilla wrap. Not saying you weren’t already, but everybody can use a tuneup from time to time. Glad I was here for y’all.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car! Be good to yourself. You deserve it. And, hey, if you are hungry — get on down to the Green Mesquite on Barton Springs and get a tortilla wrap. Tell them a Big Red Car sent you.

Copy of Jeff Minch June 1 2007 060

Place doesn’t look too big from the outside. This is the “new” joint because the old one burnt to the ground in the 1980s. They will save you the “good” parking space if they like your ride. Big Red Car weather, y’all. And, yes, that is a freakin’ BMW SUV parked next to a Big Red Car.


2 thoughts on “Tortilla Wrap Engineering

  1. BMW next to BRC? Yup, another case of fancy, high performance foreign car versus an old US muscle car.

    One of my examples was when I was working as a math expert for some lawyers. They were talking with great awe about a Porsche. I calmly said, “I’ll run a any street legal Porsche any time for money, marbles, or chalk.”

    A lawyer answered with disbelief as if I had a rocket sled: “What have you got.”

    I answered, “Just an old, rusty Chevy Camaro, 1969, … 396.”

    I let there be a pause before the “396” because in terms of Euro cars that’s 6.5 liters, and Porsche long had a tough time getting over 3.0 liters. Next, the 1969 Camaro 6 cylinder had a curb weight under 3000 pounds. So, my 386 and Turbo 400 transmission and 12 bolt differential started under 3000 pounds, and a Porsche was likely little or no lighter than my Camaro. So, my Camaro had ballpark the same weight but twice the engine displacement plus some. Also the Camaro had a GM Quadrajet carburetor: It was essentially a “four barrel” carburetor except better. The primaries were intricate and small to give better fuel economy, but the secondaries were not really a carburetor but an air valve with no real Venturi and, instead, something like a bucket of gasoline to be poured into the intake manifold. For a drag race, which is what I intended, the Turbo 400 transmission had a torque multiplication of IRCC ballpark 9:1 at stall, that is, standing still (right, where, IIRC from my course in Maxwell’s equations, a series wound electric motor such as maybe Tessla is using has, from the math, infinite torque).

    Lesson 1: The EU gets all excited about car engines with small ones, pistons that is.

    Lesson 2: I had a good chance of winning such a drag race.

    Lesson 3: Lawyers are vulnerable to getting all impressed with EU style stuff while ignoring basic mechanical engineering.

    GM and Chevy have made progress since then. Now can get a Chevy small block with about 6.0 liters of displacement with Roots style supercharging, an Eaton intercooler, and direct fuel injection. Put one of those puppies in a relatively light old Chevy Camaro, Nova, or Chevelle, and a little rust might help the scam, and go driving hoping to find a lawyer proud of his Porsche!

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