The Phorrito

What is a Phorrito, you ask? Well, it’s Pho, the delicious super-rich broth based soup from Vietnam that is maybe the best hangover cure in the world, that’s been put into burrito form. Simple as that. I like to eat with my hands. And as much as I love a good bowl of pho or ramen, I can’t always put down that much savory salty liquid (it’s a personal failing, I know; it’s why I love mazeman). This solves for both those things. It’s handheld, and even though we’re making some legit pho broth here, we’re turning it into gravy so our phorritos aren’t a wet mess.

This is seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve made in a while, and there are two main keys: 1) you must make real pho broth with real beef and real beef bones; 2) your steak needs to be sliced super thin (either call your butcher ahead of time, or stick in the freezer for a few hours before attempting to slice).

Ingredients (Makes 4-6 bphorritos)

Pho Gravy

  • 5 pounds beef knuckle bones
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 2 sweet onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 piece ginger (3-4 inches long), cut into a few large pieces
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1  1/2 T salt
  • 4 T fish sauce
  • 2 T honey

The Rest

  • 1 lb eye round beef
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 bunch mint, washed and trimmed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and trimmed
  • 1 bunch thai basil, washed and trimmed
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
  • 4-6 serrano chilis, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb bean sprouts
  • 1/2 lb enoki mushrooms
  • 1 pack rice vermicelli
  • 2 c + 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 c flour, sifted
  • Large flour tortillas


  1. It’s best to make broth the day before you want to eat phorritos.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  3. Put bones in a stock pot and cover with cold water.
  4. Bring pot to a boil, and let boil hard for about 8-9 minutes.
  5. Strain and rinse the bones of any extra scum.
  6. Arrange bones, beef, onions, and ginger on a roasting tray.
  7. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until you see some charring.
  8. If you have a pressure cooker, now is a great time to use it. If not, use a dutch oven or crock pot.
  9. Dump EVERYTHING from the roasting tray into your cooking vessel.
  10. Add enough water to cover, but don’t pass the max line on your pressure cooker (it’s ok if it’s not covered in that case, you can add a little extra hot water after the pressure process is done).
  11. If using pressure cooker, cook for 2 hours (high pressure on an Instant Pot). If using a dutch oven, bring to a boil, reduce to a hard simmer, and cook for 6-8 hours. If using a crock pot, cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  12. Strain the broth into a very large container and let cool to room temperature, then move to a sealed container and put in the fridge overnight. Or until set like jello. Yes, set like jello.
  13. Stick your beef in the freezer when you put the broth in the fridge (makes it easier to slice thin; you can also ask your butcher to slice it very thin, but call ahead so they can freeze it before slicing it).
  14. Skim the fat off the top.
  15. Take 4 cups of broth and reheat on the stove.
  16. Prep the vegetables and herbs.
  17. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in your dutch oven or a pot and bring to 350  F.
  18. Tear the vermicelli into chunks, and fry one at a time. It only takes about 2-3 seconds to fry up. Make sure you leave plenty of space in the pot, because the vermicelli will expand drastically.
  19. Put fried vermicelli onto paper towels to strain.
  20. Slice the beef as thin as you can, right out of the freezer.
  21. Heat a large skillet on high heat with 2 T vegetable oil.
  22. Season the steak slices with salt and pepper.
  23. Cook the slices of steak for about 30-45 seconds each side in batches.
  24. Slice the beef into strips.
  25. Once done with the beef, add the white wine and deglaze the pan.
  26. Melt the butter in the same skillet.
  27. Add the sifted flour, and whisk into the butter to make a roux. Cook until brown.
  28. Add the stock to the roux, whisk together, and cook until starting to thicken into gravy.
  29. Pull it off the heat when it still looks a little too thin (it will thicken as it cools, and you won’t be eating it as hot as it is in the pan).
  30. Build your phorritos however you like!

PS a little extra gravy on the side (or even broth, if you have extra) is a good call too.

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