Food - Drink
What Makes El Charro Café So Special
By MICHELLE WELSCH
Listed as "One of America's 21 Most Legendary Restaurants" by Gourmet Magazine, the family-owned El Charro Café has served Mexican food in Tucson, Arizona since 1922. The restaurant was created by Monica Flin, described by BizTucson as a "larger-than-life woman" who became known as the creator of the chimichanga.
Before stepping into El Charro, customers can't help but notice a metal cage outside the restaurant that contains dangling cuts of beef left to dry out in the sun. Carne seca, or "dried meat," is specially-made jerky that is El Charro's signature delicacy and attraction; some say that the Arizona sunshine makes the meat extra-special.
To make carne seca, thinly-cut beef is marinated in garlic and lemon juice, left to dry, then oven-baked and shredded into pieces; it can be spiced and prepared in many ways. El Charro's rich history, plus its use of carne seca alongside tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers, has earned the restaurant a serious reputation.