Fajita is a Tex-Mex, Texan-Mexican American or Tejano, diminutive term for little strips of meat cut from the beef skirt, the most common cut used to make fajitas. The word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. (The word faja is Spanish for "strip", or "belt", from the Latin fascia, "band"). Although fajita originally referred to these strips of beef skirt, fajitas now are made with a variety of fillings.
Thus a fajita in Tex-Mex cuisine is any grilled meat that is served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to skirt steak, the cut of beef first used in the dish.
Our fajita blend will include some or all of chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.
The first culinary evidence of the fajitas with the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname goes back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, cows were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as the skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas or arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat was not available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.
Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, lamb, salmon, and other cuts of beef, as well as vegetables instead of meat. In restaurants, the meat is usually cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments include shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, refried beans, and diced tomatoes. Arrachera is a northern Mexican variant of the dish.