Pictured above, the bacon and egg breakfast burrito from Los Betos at 3680 E. Grant Road. 

Photo illustration by Alicia Vega

My boss had this funny idea that I should eat 24 different breakfast burritos, so I could show the good people of Tucson where to get one every single hour of the day. 

In my supreme naiveté, I thought she was onto something and decided to kick it up a notch: I would actually consume the burritos at all hours of the day, to fully immerse myself in what I the writer recommended to you, the readers. (I guess I hadn't had a breakfast burrito in a while when I thought this up.) To better compare size vs. price, I'd weigh each one and evaluate it from a scientific standpoint. Also, I'd wear costumes.

What you see below is the result of a month-long project that brought me out to the bulk of Tucson's fast-food burrito joints, but also a few diners and some gourmet taquerias. Using my $20 food scale from Target, a notepad and an old Nikon camera, I weighed the burritos, ate them and rated them so you know what's good.

Just so you don't call the labor board on the Star, I wanted to say that I didn't eat all of these consecutively, or even on the same day. I took my time and skipped around, but I did eat all of them when I said I did. And that was hard enough, believe me!

Notes about me, so you don't complain later:

— Just to get this out of the way, I'm not a huge potato person. I'm not entirely opposed to spuds in my burritos, but I definitely think they're a cheap filler/burrito crutch. I like them small or not at all. 

— You'll notice in here that I got a disproportionate amount of chorizo burritos, because every time I walked into a place and asked the cashier what their favorite was, that's what they told me. 

— You also might notice I tend to eat these toward the end of the hour. That wasn't intentional, it's just how I roll, always fashionably late. 

+24 

The meat and bean breakfast burrito at Blake's Lotaburger clocks in at a hefty 1 pound and 3 ounces. 

  • Meat and bean burrito with sausage and green chile sauce, $4.49
  • Price per ounce: 24 cents
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: C- (store-bought)
  • Here because: Gotta grab something cheap and fast before work at Raytheon. 

It's sunrise at Blake's on the southside, where the building is so new you need bodybuilder biceps to open the door. As you unwrap the burrito, your senses are assaulted by the smell of microwaved dough, followed by a struggle to unstick the gummy tortilla from the foil without spilling any wet hashbrowns. The thing's pretty massive for its burrito genre, rubbed in refrieds and stuffed with a rolled sausage omelet and spicy green chiles. All in all, a burrito built for stout worker dudes with germ issues. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays

7 AM: FRANK'S

3843 E. Pima St.

+24 

The Eric's Burro at Frank's is a a whopping 1 pound and 5 ounces. Yikes I haven't even had my coffee yet! 

  • Eric's Burro with beans and chorizo, $9.25
  • Price per ounce: 45 cents
  • Fork or hand burrito: fork
  • Tortilla quality: A (a little thin, but it worked)
  • Here because: I'm not exactly sure what I was doing here, but other people come because they think it's charming.  

We were waited on by "Candace the food goddess," who told us she'd been working at the joint for 33 years. Everything was a little hazy at this point because I'd just woken up, but there were truckers and cigar stores Indians and a good deal of talk about how we had to "experience the loveliness" of the breakfast potatoes. (They were pretty good.) Candace suggested the Eric's burrito because they put locally-made chorizo in it, so we split that one. It was on the saucy side, with stewed tomatoes and refried beans, and not much egg. Tasty in a worrying way, if you know what I mean.  

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays

8 AM: SEIS 

130 S. Avenida del Convento

+24 

It is fat, but the breakfast burrito at Seis only weighs about a pound and one ounce. 

  • Birria breakfast burrito with potatoes and guacamole, $8.00
  • Price per ounce: 46 cents
  • Fork or hand burrito: versatile
  • Tortilla quality: B+
  • Here because: Maybe you're well off in life. Maybe you've just had food poisoning? Either way, you like your burritos minus the grease.       

The gorgeously juicy meat here was the star. Not heavily spiced or glazed in red chile like the menu said, but just simple, saucy shredded beef. You could tell it had been stewing for a long time, because the juices were seeping out of the burrito as you bit in. The potatoes though, I wasn't much of a fan. (Thought they were a little undercooked, but I'm specific about my spuds.) The guacamole was also a nice addition. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 8 to 11 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

621 N. Fourth Ave.

+24 

At just short of a pound, the breakfast burrito at B Line won't destroy the rest of your morning. 

  • Potato egg and cheese burrito, with green chile and avocado extras, $8.90
  • Price per ounce: 58 cents (addition of avocado bumps up the price)
  • Fork or hand burrito: versatile
  • Tortilla quality: A-
  • Here because: Hipster, pastry enthusiast, person without a car.  

I didn't expect it to be very good when I saw Feta cheese on the list of add-ons. But B Line constantly surprises me, even when we're talking about healthy Mexican food. Despite this burrito's lack of saturated fats, I really enjoyed it. The seasoned breakfast potatoes were separate from the scramble rather than being mixed altogether, so you get the impression you're eating a plate of food that just happens to be wrapped in a tortilla.   

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 8 to 11 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays. 

1060 S. Kolb Road

+24 

It looks huge, but the chile relleno breakfast burrito at Poco & Mom's is actually not packed very tightly and only weighs about 13 ounces without the sauce.

  • Chile relleno breakfast burrito plate with both white and green sauce, $8.29
  • Price per ounce: 72 cents (slightly misleading, because there are sides)
  • Fork or hand burrito: fork
  • Tortilla quality: A
  • Here because: To get your protein boost before a jam-packed day, which in my case included typing a lot and dry shampooing my cat. 

You're probably gonna feel like death after you eat this one, but at least you went peacefully. This breakfast beast drew me into its world of green chile sauce and silken white cream, imparting a euphoria that quickly turned into dread when I got back in the car. It's not that the chile relleno inside is that great. (It's just a rolled-up omelet and some overfried batter lobs that I broke off with my butter knife.) But the sauce on top, perfection! Poco & Mom's gets my award for best restaurant breakfast burrito in town

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays 

11 AM: BAJA CAFE

2970 N. Campbell Ave.

+24 

I think this burrito at Baja Cafe lost 21 grams after I cut it open.

  • The Construction Burro with jalapeño bacon, bell peppers and tomatoes, $6.99
  • Price per ounce: 40 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: fork
  • Tortilla quality: B- (tortilla itself was fine, but crumbled and tore apart) 
  • Here because: Either you have a friend who's really into obscure Benedicts or the line was too long at Prep & Pastry.  

I regret cutting this one in half, because there's a lot of stuff in here and the tortilla couldn't handle it. Like most of the food at Baja Cafe, the Construction Burro is a pure expression of maximalism. It's also a trap, if you're not careful choosing your own ingredients. (Ooh, sausage and nopalitos!) I held back, but still got loaded up with a slurry of hash browns, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes and surprisingly mild jalapeño bacon. Next time, I'm going back to the Snickerdoodle! 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day

1030 W. St. Mary’s Road

+24 

Is this the carne seca breakfast burrito at St. Mary's, or a scene from a David Lynch movie? 

  • Carne seca breakfast burro with potato, $4.80
  • Price per ounce: 27 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: B (a little flaky, but good flavor)
  • Here because: This place is a hotspot for St. Mary's hospital employees and students at the nearby Pima West Campus. 

The way people rave about this place, I expected to transform into a beam of light that rips through the dimensional fabric into a glistening CGI utopia. Turns out, it's just a breakfast burrito with some jucier than average carne seca. They do get props though for the tiny skinless potato cubes, which get the point across without mucking up the meat show. Tortilla was a little flakier than expected, but otherwise good.   

849 N. Anita Ave.

+24 

The petite burrites at Anita Street Market are barely 10 ounces, so you can eat two of them! 

  • Chorizo and egg burrito, $4.50
  • Price per ounce: 42 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A+
  • Here because: You're a first-rate foodie who biked over here from the adobe bungalow you share with your turtle. 

It's embarrassing to admit I'd never been to this place (especially after I made such a show eating 100 tacos). So it's time to own up: I screwed up big time by not including this swampy neighborhood store in every food list for the end of time. Anita Street's chorizo and egg is the pinnacle of burrito perfection, with just three ingredients and a clever wrapping technique that weaves chewy ribbons of fresh tortilla into the center of the burrito. You have to eat fast before it gets destroyed by the mister, but that's part of the fun. Sorry to sound like a gushing young fangirl, but this baby burrito is what we all stand for as Tucsonans ... 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, closed Sundays 

6151 E. Broadway

+24 

Calle Tepa's breakfast burrito clocks in at a whopping 1 pound, 4 ounces. 

  • Breakfast burrito with carnitas and black beans, $7.99
  • Price per ounce: 40 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand, due to expert wrapping technique
  • Tortilla quality: A
  • Here because: You're by the mall, and have tastebuds. 

A burrito for chefs ... I imagine the crew holding meetings around a flattop, searing dozens of tortillas to get the technique down. Loaded with unusual options like shredded carnitas and saucy black beans, it borders on boojie California burrito territory. But the thing is astoundingly well-wrapped. In the enigmatic words of my lunch partner: "No matter how aggressive you are with it, the integrity of the burrito swaddle remains intact." FYI, get the black beans rather than the potatoes. I liked them better. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 

1450 W. Saint Mary's Road

+24 

Yeah, that's cilantro in there ...

  • Machaca breakfast burrito, $3.68
  • Price per ounce: 25 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand, although loosely wrapped
  • Tortilla quality: A  
  • Here because: You need something quick before class at Pima West. Me? I traveled 20 minutes to get here from the south side, which may have clouded my judgment. But hey whatever, I eat burritos for a living.  

It took me awhile to notice the onions, but yeah ... they're in there. Along with a generous helping of cilantro. Herbal (perhaps too herbal). Meaty. A little dry for machaca, with the occasional crispy beef bit. Tortillas were good and floury, but nobody could tell me where they're from. Overall, a pretty standard burrito for when you're in a pinch.    

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day

3624 N. Oracle Road

+24 

La Palma's breakfast burrito weighs a little over a pound, but a lot of that is the tortilla. 

  • Eggs, bacon and potatoes burrito, $4.99
  • Price per ounce: 30 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A (lots of extra flour which comes off on your hands)
  • Here because: You work here? Seriously I was the only customer. 

Heck it's hot in here. But at least I'm in better shape than the people on the other side of the window filling up their gas tanks. Yeah it's true this dining area is little more than a storefront with a checkered tablecloth and a shelf of pan dulces. But I figured, since La Palma makes some of the best flour tortillas in town, their all-day breakfast game would be just as good. Spot-on. They cooked my mega-burrito in front of me, throwing in bacon, melty Monterrey Jack and lots of chunky potatoes with the skin still on. My belly hurt but I ate it all. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays  

5 PM: RODOLFO'S

1708 W. Ajo Way

+24 

Rodolfo's chorizo burrito is a pound and 1 ounce, not counting the beans and rice. 

  • Chorizo special with eggs potato and cheese, $4.87
  • Price per ounce: 27 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A+ 
  • Here because: You live way out on the southwest side. 

I had already ordered the ham, but then the cashier told me they were on the news a few years back for having the best chorizo burrito in town. Not the regular chorizo burrito, but the "chorizo special" with potato, eggs and melty yellow cheese. The toothsome tortilla was spot-on perfect, but the stuff inside was a little dry. But guess what, on a whim I decided to get some rice and beans. The refrieds were the absolute best I've ever tasted at a fast-food joint: silken and salty like liquid bacon. This place also gets props for its awesome yellow menu decorated with cartoon chile peppers.  

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7:30 a.m. to 9:50 p.m. every day 

6 PM: PONCHO'S

5470 E. Speedway

+24 

If someone put this giant burrito on your tray, you'd hide under the table too. 

  • Poncho burrito with sausage, chorizo, ham, bacon and more, $5.49
  • Price per ounce: 20 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: B (good, but thin) 
  • Here because: You just saw a play at Live Theatre Workshop down the street and would like to continue your entertainment with a Bigzilla Burrito. 

Poncho's is tucked away in that strange little Speedway parking lot with the nail shop and the title loans agency. I sat in a colorful window booth as the sun went down, and ripped through the monstrous Poncho Burrito with four different types of meat. The egg here basically acts as a binding agent, for leathery bacon strips, ham cubes, sausage, chorizo and potatoes. Take note, at a whopping 1 pound 11 ounces for $5.49, this is the cheapest breakfast burrito I have eaten during this project. I wanted to finish it all, but ended up wrapping up the second half, which sat in car purgatory and was eventually tossed. Sorry breakfast gods.

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

7 PM: PACO'S

5563 E. Grant Road

+24 

Omelet or burrito? Hmm ... Both! 

  • Mexican omelette burrito with ham and salsa, $4.35
  • Price per ounce: 33 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A 
  • Here because: You just had your hernia removed at Tucson Medical Center and wanted to stop for a snack on the way home.  

Quaintly decorated with folkloric watermelon paintings and dancing kokopellis, this little room feels more like a restaurant than the drive-thru that it is. The food gave it away though. My Mexican omelette burrito had the familiar gooey yellow cheese, and dripped with egg juices from its loosely-wrapped tortilla. The egg had been rolled rather than scrambled, then spiced with some faintly cooked onions and cilantro. It was pretty good. The salsas on the other hand, were not.   

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, closed Sundays

8 PM: CORONADO'S

7115 E. 22nd St.

+24 

I think I said an "mmm" out loud while I was eating this one, but nobody heard me. (Because there was nobody there.) 

  • Sausage breakfast burrito, $4.69
  • Price per ounce: 25 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: 
  • Here because: East siiide!

The picture on Google still shows a Filiberto's, but this is Coronado's now and I have no idea if it's any different (aside from the new crown cartoon). The place is basically a drive thru and a walk-up window, with no lobby. So I ate my sausage burrito on the outdoor patio while a dude circled the parking lot in a motorized bicycle built for an infant. I liked how they cut the sausage into little slabs, which were soft and bouncy. And hey, no potatoes!     

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 7 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Fridays, 6 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Saturdays

1400 W. Prince Road

+24 

Sorry guys, this one got a little messy. Shouldn't have ordered the rice and beans on the side. 

  • Steak and egg breakfast burrito, $6.59
  • Price per ounce: 37 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: 
  • Here because: Hmm, drawing a blank on this one. Let's ask Yelp! "... they dont give you salsas no lime no nothing even a single smile i dont know why its always police people eating in there." — Mario A. 

Contrary to the above report, El Potosino does give you salsa. The green one is good but the red one tastes like old clams. It's okay though, because my big honkin' burrito was yummy, albeit a little expensive for the fast-food genre. It could be because I got steak, and there was a lot of it. (More than the eggs.) Overall, I think I was a little early for this one, because the burrito tastes like something you'd eat at 3 a.m.

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week for the drive-thru and lobby

2680 N. First Ave. 

+24 

Don't mind me, just putting my burrito and iPhone on the salsa bar so I can take twenty pictures of them from different angles. What's that, you need some guac? Go around!

  • Chorizo and egg burrito, $5.99
  • Price per ounce:  41 cents
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A
  • Here because: You've recently discovered the joy of watching Britney Spears videos while popping charred green onions into your mouth. 

I admit, this one is a bit of a stretch. They don't technically serve breakfast burritos after noon, but ask and you will receive. Mine was a sturdy burrito, but despite the dim lighting I could see the reddish color of the chorizo shining its way through the tortilla. The spicy meat was thoroughly mixed into the egg, giving the burrito a uniform chunky texture. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. 

11 PM: NICO'S

2965 N. Campbell Ave

+24 

If Nico's on Campbell ever closed down, I think it would make an awesome tiki bar! 

  • Ham, egg and cheese breakfast burrito, $5.49
  • Price per ounce: 33 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A- (a little dense) 
  • Here because: You've been eating Nico's for years, duh. 

People claim that Nico's has the biggest burritos in town, but my scale says otherwise: A solidly-average 1 pound and 5/8 ounces of golden scramble, with little cubes of ham and some melty yellow cheese. I picked out a couple tiny potato cubes without the skin, but you probably can't taste them unless you're — you know — sober. Overall, great showing. PS: Their green wins the award for spiciest salsa at a 24-hour joint. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week for the drive-thru and lobby

12 AM: LOS BETOS

2910 E. Speedway

+24 

Wait, there's potatoes in here??????? Oh god, please!!! Not this time!!!

  • Breakfast burrito with bacon, $5.68
  • Price per ounce: 30 cents
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality:
  • Here because: It's been a rough night. 

It was getting late, I'd just been left at the altar and I was running out of dinner options. Fortunately the Los Betos on Speedway serves an epic breakfast burrito that holds up to extreme manhandling despite the fact that it's well over a pound. (Never gets soggy, no drips.) It is an eggy one, but the thick slabs of salty bacon hit the spot in places I didn't even know were there. I also really enjoyed the skinless pseudo French fries they threw in that weaved their way into each gulp of desperation. Oh who am I kidding, I couldn't taste it anyway!

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week for the drive-thru and lobby

121 E. Broadway

+24 

Had to get a smoothie to wash this bad boy down ...

  • El Panson with potatoes, chorizo and red peppers, $7.17
  • Price per ounce: 42 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: B+ 
  • Here because: Party girl, gutter punk, high school student. You need somewhere to go when the clock strikes 1. 

They call it El Panson, which according to my online Spanish dictionary means "potbellied." Well, if I knew that I probably would have gotten the hummus plate! At just over a pound the burrito is pretty heavy, especially on the potatoes. But that's okay, they put a nice baby spinach salad on the side. Wait a sec, is that Herdez salsa in that cup? You put green onions on top, but I can tell ...    

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week 

2 AM: EL BETO (Previously Los Betos)

32 N. Campbell Ave.

+24 

They were fresh out of low-carb fiesta shrimp taco bowls, so I settled for the breakfast burrito.  

  • Beto's breakfast burrito with ham, pico and "chesse", $6.99
  • Price per ounce: 44 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A- 
  • Here because: Line at Taco Shop is too damn long. 

I probably hit this place up about once a week, but never really go inside. After this trip I'm not sure I can recommend it to the masses (the place looks kinda like the waiting room at a car wash) but the cook was playing a badass soundtrack of '80s disco and cumbia from his iPhone. Seriously, can't get this song out of my head. Amazing. They also have a machine in there that's supposed to read your weight and give you a horoscope, but it wasn't really working. (I'm not 250 pounds I swear!) Oh yeah, the burrito. Um, pretty good! "Tasted like a Denver omelet," I wrote. "Fresh." 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week for the drive-thru and lobby

3 AM: TACO SHOP

1350 E. Broadway

+24 

I dreamed a dream, and it involved smashing down this 15-ounce burrito from Taco Shop Co. at 3 in the morning. 

  • Chorizo egg and cheese burrito, $4.79
  • Price per ounce: 32 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: A+ (perfection)
  • Here because: Closing time, and you've got the drunchies.  

We seated ourselves between a muscly dude in a sleeveless shirt and a group of 20 somethings engaged in heated argument about Mexican sour creams. Needless to say, my fourthmeal partner and I were the only sober people in this UA-area burrito joint. But I'm glad. Taco Shop makes burritos that are good enough to eat any hour of the day. I was absolutely wowed by their chorizo effort, with a gorgeous tortilla and perfectly smooth fusion of egg and meat. If I hadn't eaten 22 other cholesterol bombs at that point, I might have even finished it. 

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week 

2060 W. River Road

+24 

I don't know anyone named Kristen, but if I did, I'm sure she'd relish the fact that this breakfast burrito was mostly beans. Not much of that cursed egg ... 

  • Beans, egg and cheese burrito, $3.89
  • Price per ounce: 24 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: hand
  • Tortilla quality: B (a little stale) 
  • Here because: You work in construction. 

It was all a little blurry from the bleach fumes and intense sleep deprivation, but this is what my notes say: "Weird rolled egg whitey omelet thing." My breakfast partner told me they call that style of thinly rolled egg a "torta" in Spanish. (Not to be confused with the sandwich.) But in reality, the egg prep was overshadowed by the absurd amount of chunky old refried beans packed in there. I enjoyed it at the time because, hey it's something different. But wow, did I pay for it went I got back home at 5 a.m. and had to get ready for work ...

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week for drive thru and lobby

5 AM: TRIPLE T truckstop

5451 E. Benson Hwy.

+24 

It's. got. cheesy. in there. 

  • TTT burrito with bacon, sausage, hash browns and cheddar, $8.39
  • Price per ounce: 39 cents 
  • Fork or hand burrito: fork
  • Tortilla quality: B- (dense and dry) 
  • Here because: Drove the 4 wheeler all the way from Monkey Town and had to take a "10-100" because I was hopped up on hundred mile coffee. 

To be honest, I only ate three bites of this one. I'm not sure if it was because I was extremely tired of breakfast burritos, or the fact that it was five in the morning and I was working on three hours of sleep, or the fact that the burrito itself wasn't that awesome. I just remember it had a lot of shredded yellow cheese from the package, but none of it was melted. I'm sure though, that if you'd really been traveling all night on that lonely two-lane road known as life, and somehow by the grace of god you pull up to Tucson, Arizona at five in the morning and someone hands you a steaming hot breakfast burrito with a little plastic cup of sour cream on the side, you'd like it. You'd eat it all, and maybe you'd even be pleased with yourself!  

Hours of breakfast burrito availability: 24 hours, seven days a week

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You can find the Star's digital food writer Andi Berlin at a taqueria near you, taking tiny bites and furiously scribbling into an old notepad.