There are two BK Carne Asadas in Tucson. At the 12th Avenue BK’s, you dine at permanently fixed picnic tables on a covered patio that is rimmed with nozzles to spray cool water around the perimeter and take the edge off arid desert air. There is a kitchen with a menu that ranges from huevos con jambon (ham and eggs) for breakfast to pastel de queso (cheesecake) for dessert.
As the name of the place suggests, carne asada (high-spiced beef cut into strips) is a house specialty, and it is terrific. With big, smoky character and enough body to reward a good chew with tidal waves of flavor, it is ideally suited for filling a taco made from your choice of flour or corn tortilla.
Other available tacos include chicken, carne adobada, cabeza (yes, that is cow’s head), and fish or shrimp. All are served completely plain. It is the customer’s job to step up to the salsa bar and load up on guacamole, salsa verde, salsa cruda, chopped raw onion, sliced radishes, sliced cucumbers and wedges of lime.
But please do not fill up on tacos (or quesadillas, burros or tortas), for the other part of BK’s name must not be ignored. This is one of the city’s premier sources of “hot dogs estilo Sonora” – the words emblazoned on the BK cart where they are made. As is true of other local vendors that are permanently anchored to some real estate, BK has one kitchen where everything else is made and another dedicated to the cooking and assembly of Sonoran hot dogs.
Unlike the rest of the menu, these baroque bunned beauties do not get dressed at the salsa bar. The hot dog maker does that. He will follow your specifications, but it would be wrong not to have it with the works. The combination of bacon-wrapped beef hot dog topped with chopped tomatoes, a scattering of onions and pinto beans, a line of yellow mustard, a green ribbon of hot jalapeno sauce, and an artistic squiggle of mayonnaise, all nestled in a big, soft Mexican roll cannot be improved.