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Chipotle just added its first new meat to the menu in 3 years

The burrito chain rarely adds new items.
Chipotle restaurant
A new Chipotle Mexican Grill location is pictured at University Village in Seattle, Washington.Getty Images file
/ Source: TODAY

There's a new Chipotle meat in town — and it's the first new protein the chain has introduced in three years.

Carne asada, a marinated steak, will join the restaurant's menu on Thursday, Sept. 19. Unlike Chipotle's current steak offering which is cubed, carne asada is sliced. Chipotle's version is seasoned with fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and a blend of signature spices.

Since the carne asada marinade is free of sugar and select preservatives, the meat is also officially approved for Paleo and Whole30 diets.

Carne asada is the latest meat to join the Chipotle menu.
Carne asada is the latest meat to join the Chipotle menu.Chipotle

Fans of the popular Mexican restaurant will be able to order carne asada in a burrito, burrito bowl, salad or taco. It will be available at restaurants nationwide, but Chipotle would not confirm for how long.

This marks the first time Chipotle has added a new meat to its menu since chorizo sausage made its national debut in October 2016. It was temporarily brought back for a limited time in September 2018.

Chicken, pork and some type of beef have all been on the Chipotle menu since the very beginning. Barbacoa, the chain's shredded beef offering, was introduced over 20 years ago. The brand also made waves when it introduced its first vegan protein, sofritas (a savory crumbled tofu mixed with spices), in 2013.

Chipotle first tested carne asada in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Fresno, California, and decided to expand its reach after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on the sliced steak offering.

The marinated steak joins an original steak recipe Chipotle fans have already come to love.
The marinated steak joins an original steak recipe Chipotle fans have already come to love.Chipotle

Lately, Chipotle has also made waves for some less desirable reasons.

Just last week, Chipotle made headlines when fans took to Twitter to share photos of less-than-stellar looking guacamole being served at several locations.

The popular chain's guac is usually bright green (thanks to fresh avocados and a hearty squeeze of lime juice), so many fans were curious if the recipe had changed when they came across brown, stringy guacamole filled with unripe chunks.

As it turns out, Chipotle didn't change its recipe, but it may be dealing with some less-than-ideal avocados.

Chipotle's Chief Reputation Officer Laurie Schalow told TODAY that the guac's recent appearance was due to a change of its avocado supply as they switch between sources during peak growing seasons in different locations. Schalow said that many locations will start using mostly Mexican-grown avocados by the end of this month.

With that mystery solved and a new meat on the menu, this is a good week to be a Chipotle fan.