And I really do like the Guinness, with its health benefits and all, but fajitas and stout? Doesn't trip anything special for me.
Humanity has been grilling meat since we harnessed the power of fire. That was way back in like 1938 or thereabouts, I'm sure. I think. Maybe.
Anyway, back in the days of cattle drives, the ranchers would slaughter cattle during the drive to feed their cowhands. And the 'less-than-desireable' cuts were given to the Mexican vaqueros as part of their pay. Cow heads, hides, innards and skirt steak were all put to good use. Cow's head stew, menudo (not the band), and grilled skirt were all on the menu.
Over time, the grilled steak became a common household meal in Texas, up through the sixties. In 1969, Sonny Falcon, an Austin, Texas meat market manager, opened the first commercial fajita concession stand at a rural Dies Y Seis celebration in the town of Kyle. At the same time, fajitas made their debut on the menu at the Round-Up Restaurant in Pharr, Texas. Notwithstanding similar dishes served across the border in Mexican cattle towns for decades, the fajita had taken hold on the U.S. psyche. In the seventies, this meal took a step forward and started showing up on restaurant menus throughout the Lone Star State.
In 1982, the fajita took an even greater step. Chef George Weidmann, when opening the new Hyatt Regency in Austin, picked up on the dish and added a sizzle platter to the mix.
The sad part of this process is that as the dish evolved, it moved further away from its roots. Seldom do restaurants use the original skirt steak, opting instead for the more manageable and innocuous sirloin, as well as adding chicken and other meats to the mix. And the dish has evolved into an American melting-pot classic, with flavors that seldom evoke the flavors of Mexico.