Get some steak sizzling over an open flame because August 18 is National Fajita Day. It’s a day to celebrate the authentic taste of the Southwest with the fiesta of flavor known as the fajita. Throw in some awesome black beans or even add a little hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream, or cheese. The combinations are endless. It’s National Fajita Day so you know what you’ve got to do (eat fajitas, obviously).

HISTORY OF NATIONAL FAJITA DAY

A true manifesto of what Tex-Mex culture is, the fajita has taken the culinary world by storm but it all started from some very humble beginnings.

The concept of fajitas began to make the rounds in the early 1930s when Mexican vaqueros in Texas developed the fajita from throwaway cuts of beef – part of their payment for their job.  Because of this, said workers learned to use the tough cuts the best they could, especially the flavorsome skirt steak. They cooked the steak over an open fire or grill and were typically served with flour or corn tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, and southwestern spices. Soon the cheap, efficient meal meant as a quick fix for workers was becoming a staple in the area, finding its way into new mouths and bellies.  

As such, there are numerous different joints that were around at the time that claim to be the launchpad for the fajita. It’s not surprising, everyone wants to be part of a success story. It was in the late 1960s that  Sonny Falcon started selling fajitas. He sold so many that he was eventually christened “The Fajita King” as recognition for his role in introducing fajitas to the general public.

Other big moments in fajita history include the restaurant Ninfa’s creating their own version of fajitas in 1973, and Austin’s La Vista restaurant putting “sizzling fajitas” on the menu in 1982. National Fajita Day  itself was coined by the restaurant chain On the Border to celebrate the show-stopping dish. If all of this hasn’t got you watering at the mouth then we don’t know what will.

NATIONAL FAJITA DAY TIMELINE

1982

Hyatt Cuisine

Chef George Weidmann from the Hyatt Regency in Austin put “sizzling fajitas” on his menu with huge success.

1971

Mentioned

The word “fajita” used to define the dish officially appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

1969

First Sale

Sonny Falcon makes the first recorded fajita sales from his concession booth in Kyle, Texas.

1930s

Invention

Mexican ranch workers in Texas are thought to make the fajita prototype with cheap cuts of beef.

 

NATIONAL FAJITA DAY FAQS

Which restaurants offer Fajita Day specials?

From big chains like Chili’s and On the Border to your small Mexican spot, there are many sites that offer special sales on National Fajita Day. Look it up on the Internet to see what is available.

What would I need to have to make Fajitas at home for Fajita Day?

You need the meat of your choosing, tortillas, onions, peppers, and your favorite toppings, like sour cream, salsa, and guac.

Is National Fajita Day popular on social media?

Make sure to look up #nationalfajitaday over on Instagram and Twitter, as well as the official accounts of your favorite Mexican joints. Enjoy!

NATIONAL FAJITA DAY ACTIVITIES

  1. Cook your way to Fajita Nirvana

    It’s National Fajita Day, which means you should be making fajitas! Add bell peppers, onions, a slab of quality beef and a few sweet and savory ingredients to create a perfect melange of meat-veggie goodness.

  2. Find the best sizzling special

    Several restaurants across the nation offer hot deals on National Fajita Day. Find the nearest Mexican restaurant and indulge in the richly-marinated, grilled-to-perfection taste.

  3. Discover another fajitas-inspired dish

    Fajita-stuffed bell peppers, chicken fajita sliders, vegan sweet potato fajitas, and shrimp fajita chili are all mouth-watering dishes you have to try on National Fajita Day. It’s the perfect day for culinary experimentation and the possibilities are endless.

5 FACTS ABOUT FAJITAS

  1. ‘Fajita’ Translates to ‘Little Band’

    In Spanish, fajita is a diminutive for “faja”, which translates to “belt” or “girdle”.

  2. It’s a humble dish

    Workers were given the least desirable parts of butchered steers and made fajitas from skirt steaks.

  3. The term “Fajita King” is trademarked.

    Sonny Falcon trademarked the term after gaining popularity from the dish in the 1970s

  4. McDonald’s Tried it.

    In 1991, McDonald’s attempted to introduce their own Chicken Fajitas into the market.

  5. The original is called different in Mexico

    While in the U.S we know them as fajitas, the Mexican term for grilled skirt steak is arracheras.

WHY WE LOVE FAJITA DAY

  1. We love meat

    The approaching noise of sizzling meat is almost too much to bear! It halts conversations and commands attention — those who surround you usually lift their chins in jealousy to catch a whiff of the beef, onion, garlic, and chili aromas wafting by your table.

  2. Their humble beginnings

    The humble beginnings of the fajita demonstrates that if you’re willing to get creative with your food then great things can happen.

  3. It’s a fiesta in a dish

    Fajitas are a platter of meat and veggies that can be shared among many or selfishly enjoyed for one. They pack bold flavor in a surprisingly simple dish — a fiesta for your tastebuds!

Originally posted on National Today

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