Chipotle is bringing back carne asada

The fast-casual chain pulled carne asada from the menu last year due to quality standards issues.
TODAY Illustration / Chipotle / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

At a time that many restaurants are streamlining their menus, it’s exciting when old favorites make their comeback — and Chipotle is about to revive a much-beloved meat option.

On Tuesday, Chipotle announced it is bringing back carne asada for a limited time. The seasoned beef will not only be returning to U.S. restaurants but also to Canada and France.

Chipotle’s Rewards members in the U.S. will get exclusive access to carne asada on Sept. 22 and 23 via the Chipotle app and website. From Sept. 23 through 27, the premium protein will be available as a digital-only menu item for all fans via the Chipotle app and website. Starting Sept. 28, carne asada will be available in-restaurant and across all digital channel, including third-party delivery services.

“To bring back Carne Asada to our menu, we underwent an extensive vetting process to find more suppliers that meet our stringent Food with Integrity standards,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Our fans love our Carne Asada because they can taste the care and culinary expertise that goes into this recipe from farm to bowl.”

Chipotle’s carne asada is a popular protein choice for burritos and tacos, as it is grilled and seasoned with a spicy blend before it’s topped with fresh-squeezed lime and cilantro.

The marinated steak first hopped on the menu in late 2019, originally introduced as a limited-time addition. Its run ended up extended into early 2020, but then the marinated steak disappeared from the menu. The company said at the time that there was a chance it could come back, maybe even as a permanent menu item, assuming they could find a reliable steak supply that would meet the brand’s “food with integrity” standard.

The “food with integrity” standard is Chipotle’s commitment to using meat being responsibly raised and free of antibiotics and added hormones. “Chipotle believes in the connection between how food is raised and prepared, and how it tastes, so underwent an extensive vetting process to find suppliers meeting its standards to bring the Carne Asada back,” said a representative for the brand in an email to TODAY Food. And it’s an item that will be welcomed back strongly: 10 million fans ordered the item in the couple of months it was available last year.

During the pandemic, with supply chain issues and major meat plant shutdowns, sourcing premium cuts of steak couldn’t have been easy, but now, as many people are noticing dropping meat prices and meat shelves stocked back to normal levels, it makes sense that Chipotle is putting steak back on the menu.

Carne asada will return beginning on Sept. 22 and be around for a limited time, so move quickly if you don’t want to miss out.