Why are mesquite grilled onions and jalapenos so popular in adding flavor to Mexican dishes? We’ve found that one surefire way to enhance the flavor of an authentic dish is to indulge in some mesquite grilling, which has been used for centuries in Mexican cooking and cuisine. Mesquite grilling is also a staple component of most of the food we make. In fact, we love mesquite grilling so much that we even grill our sides!
Mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos are a delicious side and can be a great savory topping for any Mexican dish. They’re the perfect addition to our tacos and the best way to add some more flavor your way. If you’re new to the Mexcellent life, though, you might not know what mesquite grilling really is—or why we’ve chosen mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos specifically. Learn why mesquite veggies and Backyard Taco entrees go hand-in-hand. When it comes to authentic Mexican food, you’ll find there are a lot of flavors working together to make something delicious.
Why These Ingredients in Mexican Food?
Many of the ingredients you see in Mexican cuisine have origins dating back many centuries. In fact, most of the things we consider a staple today were still being used back then for the same reasons! Much like how cilantro quickly became a classic taco topping after it was introduced by the conquistadors, onions and jalapenos have been used in Mexican cuisine for a long time. By now, they’re a common fixture even in the most Americanized Mexican dishes.
Native Mexicans often used onions in the preparation of broths and stews and as a component of traditionally cooked sauces like pipians and moles. They chose cebollas blancos, or white onions, because of their distinctive, clean flavor. When used fresh, onions provide a fresh, sharp taste to salsas, tacos, and more.
Mexicans use a variety of chilies in authentic Mexican cuisine, but none is as famous as the jalapeno.
In fact, this pepper’s name literally means “from Jalapa,” which is fitting since Jalapa is the name of the city that began cultivating the jalapeno. Jalapenos are popular because they provide the bold heat many of us love without being overwhelming.
Why We Grill Onions & Jalapenos
Chopped onions and jalapenos can add a lot of flavor to your dishes, whether they’re added as a raw topping or incorporated into fresh salsa. However, we’re talking about grilled onions and jalapenos today. These, too, qualify as a Mexican staple, and it’s one we’re quite happy to incorporate into our own dishes.
When you cook food, you’re forcing the chemical composition of that food to undergo some important changes, and that can drastically change that food’s flavor. The cooking process can help to temper some of the strongest flavors, bring out some new ones, or even do both at the same time. When you grill ingredients, you also introduce some char and smoke, further deepening the flavor profile.
While it’s true that in a lot of cases, onions are diced raw and chilies are finely chopped, dried, powdered, or even eaten whole, grilling onions and jalapenos as a side elevates them above the typical ingredient. These grilled sides even come with their own Spanish names, often unique to the particular method of preparation. No matter what you call them, grilling jalapenos and onions can bring out a flavor profile your dish wouldn’t have had originally, and these flavors pair well with many dishes in Mexican cuisine.
Why Mesquite Grilling?
By now, you understand that onions and jalapenos on their own are already a fixture of both authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes and that grilling them brings out an entirely new flavor to further enhance the dish. So, why do we take such care to specify that we mesquite grill our jalapenos and onions? Does the manner of grilling really make that much of a difference? In a word, yes!
Mesquite grilling isn’t just grilling. Mesquite wood is used around the world and across the central part of the Americas because cooking with it adds robust flavor. This flavor happens to pair especially great with Mexican food, likely because mesquite was discovered by the Native Americans living in Mexico and the southern United States.
The process of mesquite grilling ingredients for use in Mexican cuisine is long practiced and long perfected, and we’re proud to incorporate these flavors into our food.
As we mentioned, when you grill onions and jalapenos, in general, they develop excellent, deep flavors. Mesquite grilling further enhances the flavor profiles of even the simplest ingredients, imparting a unique smoke that just can’t be beaten. Mesquite is known for adding a smoky flavor when used in grilling, one that’s similar to but stronger than hickory grilling. We’ve found that mesquite can elevate anything from meats to the most basic of vegetables.
How Do Mesquite Grilled Onions Taste?
When onions are grilled, the heat causes large sugar molecules to break into smaller, simpler sugars, making them milder and sweeter than they were before. This sweetness pairs well with the unique smoky taste of mesquite, adding a complex flavor profile that you can’t get in any other way. You’ll find that mesquite grilled onions have lost much of their sharpness, so you’ll notice a deep, rich, sweet smokiness ideal for eating on its own or atop your favorite dish.
Are Mesquite Grilled Jalapenos Spicy?
Jalapenos, like most chilies, are known for their spiciness, which can take over a dish if not used correctly. While many people love adding heat to a dish, others can’t tolerate it as well, which can make it difficult to enjoy Mexican food. Fortunately, grilling a jalapeno doesn’t make it spicier. In fact, when the pepper is exposed to heat, the compound responsible for spiciness—capsaicin—breaks down, leaving behind a sweet and smoky taste. This means that even for people who dislike spicy foods, a mesquite grilled jalapeno can be a safe choice for a side dish or a topping.
Mexican Dishes with Mesquite Grilled Onions & Jalapenos
The best part about mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos is that they’re a versatile side dish that goes well with just about any other authentic Mexican dish. That’s why we like to pair them with just about anything. Here are a few great combinations.
We consider mesquite grilled vegetables to be a great taco topping. This is because high-quality toppings create high-quality tacos, and the sweet, smoky flavor you get from mesquite can really make your tacos shine.
Additionally, we incorporate these mesquite grilled vegetables into many of our salsas for that same sweet and smoky taste. However you do it, adding mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos to your tacos is something we highly encourage.
Cheese and chilies like jalapenos go well together, as the dairy in the cheese can help temper the heat of the chili. Cheese also pairs well with sweet onions and mesquite seasoning, which is why grilled onions are such a common cheeseburger topping.
When you pair grilled onions and jalapenos with a quesadilla, you get the best of both worlds—a delicious, cheesy meal that pairs nicely with the sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy vegetables.
Tostadas are very similar to tacos, but like quesadillas, they often come with cheese on top (authentic tacos don’t typically include cheese). If you’re pairing your grilled onions and jalapenos with a grilled tostada, you’ll likely find that the combination works wonders.
Another cheesy dish, gorditas are fried pockets stuffed with ingredients of your choosing and then topped with even more. Like tacos and tortas, they can be made to taste however you want with whatever ingredients you like.
Mesquite grilled vegetables pair perfectly as a side and act as a solid topping choice as well.
Burritos are a versatile dish you can get creative with, as many toppings can be added to suit your preferences and needs. Mesquite grilled vegetables can add a ton of flavor to your ideal burrito.
Also known as burrito bowls, a Backyard Taco Bueno Bowl features all the versatility and creativity of a typical burrito but without tortilla wrapping. Grilled vegetables are a staple ingredient to either pair with or top the ultimate Bueno Bowl.
Mesquite Grilled Onions and Jalapenos Make Mexican Flavorful
Setting up a mesquite grill is difficult to do if you’re inexperienced, so if you want to taste mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos, then you need to turn to people who incorporate the taste of mesquite into every recipe they make. That’s where we come in.
If you’re interested in trying professionally, authentically made mesquite grilled onions & jalapenos, come visit your local Backyard Taco. We offer our grilled onions and jalapenos as a side order for any dish, and you can choose whether you want to eat them individually or atop your entree.
Whether you choose to visit us in person, order delivery, or hire us for our catering services, you’ll always have the option to include our grilled onions and jalapenos with your food. If you do, we guarantee that you won’t regret it.
Dr. Tyler loves tacos! He is one of the owners of Backyard Taco, and can sometimes be found moonlighting there at night or on the weekends.
Dr. Tyler Robison is an alum of Mesa’s Mountain View High School. He graduted from Brigham Young University before being accepted to the “Top Ten-nationally ranked” University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he earned his Doctorate in Dental Medicine and a Master’s Degree in Oral Biology. He graduated with honors in the top ten percent of his class. Dr. Robison continued at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, where he received a second master’s degree in dental science and his orthodontic certification.
Dr. Tyler enjoys serving in his community. He is a provider for the Smile Back Foundation, which offers scholarships for free dental treatment to underprivileged East Valley students. He is also a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and served during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008.
Dr. Tyler Robison’s favorite pastimes include spending time with his family on the lake, at the beach, or on the slopes. He is an avid and crazy snowboarder! He has three incredible sons and one sweet daughter: Caden, Jace, Crew, and Bliss.