You would undoubtedly miss half of your life if you ever visit Texas without trying at least one of its signature foods. The Lonestar state is not only known for its live music, overflowing drinks, and steaming temperatures. Food is also one of the most sacred things Texans celebrate with pride.
Texas is also home to one of the diverse cities in the world (Houston). Hence, it is not surprising that the state has collected several various culinary practices over the years. Such delectable cuisines will undoubtedly make your travel visit a hundred times more worth it.
So, before you leave that “GONE TO TEXAS” note posted on your fridge and hit the road, check out these must-try foods you can enjoy while visiting Texas.
When we talk about food in Texas, we can all agree that barbeque sits at the top of this list. You will be surprised how many different versions of barbecues exist in Texas, considering that it is the Holy Grail of Texan cuisine. What’s neat about barbeques is that you can have them whatever way you want, and you’ll never run out of options while in Texas.
The Texas Trinity – brisket, ribs, and sausage — always appear in every Texas menu, may it be in the state’s food epicenter or local pubs and cafes. Barbeques made from these meats could ruin your diet, but having a chow down or two of these mouthwatering dishes would surely be a delight.
1. Brisket BBQ
Crispy on the outside, juicy, flavorful, and tender on the inside – that’s what you’ll get when you order a beef brisket barbecue. You can never go wrong with a piece of meat smoked all day over woodchips. Beef briskets are a staple food in Texas and are even served for breakfast at pubs and restaurants.
Thanks to the Czech and German immigrants of the mid-19th century, we now enjoy this mouthwatering Texan staple dish. Historically a poor man’s food, beef barbeques are now considered a local pride in Texas. Every visiting tourist goes for a Texan beef barbeque, not because it’s all over the menu, but because of its legendary taste.
2. Sausage BBQ
Sausage barbeque is also a famous dish in Texas for its smoky and tender texture and explosion of flavors in your palate. This staple food is ground meat made of beef mostly — although there are pork variations. One of the best reasons you should try Texas sausages is how Texans prepare the food, emphasizing spiciness, which goes perfectly well with the meat’s texture.
The early immigrants in the state were also to thank for the existence of sausage barbeques in Texas. When refrigeration was not widely accessible, people would smoke leftover meat inside brick smokers and grind it to form sausages. It has ever since taken many different forms and varieties, but you’ll know it’s Texan when you taste a distinct spiciness somewhere within the ground meat.
3. Ribs BBQ
Give a Texan man whole spareribs or giant beef ribs, and he will give you a falling-off-the-bone barbecue that doesn’t even need a sauce; actually, don’t you dare ask for a sauce at a Texas restaurant! Ribs barbeque does not only look inviting, but the taste also matches its presentation.
May it brisket, sausage, or rib, Texas barbeque lives up to its name as the state’s most famous dish. Even restaurants across the globe give the Lonestar state a nod, including in their menus ‘Texas-style barbeques’. Barbeques from Texas are indeed a must-try, with their delectable smoky flavor and gorgeous presentation.
It’s not news that Mexican foods are a go-to meal in the United States. The cuisine involves a variety of wonderful flavors, which explains how easily they have made their way in home kitchens and restaurants in Texas. With Texas already a haven of diverse cuisines, the assimilation of Mexican cuisine gave birth to another cuisine of its own known as Tex-Mex.
The term, which originated in Texas, refers to the American-Mexican food that uses simple home ingredients to prepare. If you see a combination of flour-based food like tortillas and home ingredients such as meat, cheese, beans, peppers, and rice, you look at Tex-Mex food. While visiting Texas, try the following Tex-Mex foods to satisfy your palate and be prepared to experience an explosion of spices in your mouth.
4. Frito Pies
Simple and ‘chilicious’ – Frito Pies are your comfort food whenever you feel like chowing down after visiting Texas’ mesmerizing tourist attractions. By simple, we mean that the dish only comprises Fritos poured with chili on top, with additional shredded cheese and chopped onion toppings. This dish makes for an excellent snack if you care dearly about your diet and want to eat something fulfilling.
Of course, as in any dish, you can have Frito pies in many different ways, as long as the primary ingredients remain. Another variation is Fritos topped with cheese (queso) and sour cream, with jalapenos and pickles as garnish. Whichever way you want to enjoy this dish, it’s guaranteed worth every penny.
If it is a variety of sharp flavors you are looking for in a dish, Fajitas will never disappoint. Fajitas are stripped grilled meat mixed with stripped bell peppers and onions. These are usually served on a tortilla (either flour or corn).
Since this is Texas, you would undoubtedly see a range of condiments. Such condiments include diced tomatoes, guacamole, refried beans, salsa, shredded cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. Popular Texan restaurants and pubs may offer more, aside from the ones mentioned.
6. Breakfast Tacos
Another Tex-Mex food favorite is breakfast tacos. Tacos are pretty versatile food – you can have so many variations of it, depending on your taste. Using a warm flour or corn tortilla as your base, you can stuff your taco with various options, from your classic breakfast staple food bacon and egg to a uniquely Texan brisket or smoked sausage.
Breakfast Tacos are excellent for either early or late morning food trips. If you can spare some time, you may sit in a diner to relish the dish together with morning locals. Or, you can order one for takeout for that late breakfast sightseeing while you drive across the state’s unique landscape.
7. King Ranch Chicken
An all-time favorite in Texas cookbooks and lunchrooms, King Ranch Chicken, is a casserole of mouthwatering goodness. Corn tortillas or tortilla chips line the bottom of the casserole, which is then layered with sauce and riddled with cheese. A handful of ingredients rests inside the casserole, each unique in making the dish a spectacular delight.
The most common ingredients include diced tomato sauce, green chili, cream of mushroom and chicken soups, diced bell pepper, onions, and chicken chunks or shreds. King Ranch Chicken is indeed an excellent dish for the hungry – satisfying not only the hunger itself but the taste buds as well.
We had mentioned before that Texas used to be home to Czech and German immigrants. It is heart-warming to think that their culinary practices were still alive and thriving in Texas. The Lonestar state’s German heritage, which dates back to the 19th century, is pretty evident in the kitchen.
The name is unmistakably Czech, but this food is a Texas original. Inspired by its Czech cousin, Kolaches, Klobasnek is a dough wrapped around a chunk of meat, mostly sausage. By the looks of it, Klobasnek resembles a sausage roll – only that it is not, for it comes with jalapenos and cheese inside.
Klobasnek is an ideal snack for the not-so-hungry. Nevertheless, this simple sausage roll look-alike Texas food satisfies like a complete breakfast. Devour it with a steaming cup of coffee, and you’re off to start a fantastic day in Texas.
Kolaches are an excellent go-to food if you want to eat something without worrying too much about the calories. Inheriting the dish from the Czechs, Texans continued to bring this food into their menu with pride. Kolaches are made of soft yeast dough, sliced into squares, and stuffed with cheese or fruit, making them an excellent snack for your keen diet.
Many tourists would confuse Kolaches and Klobasnek together. Since they are both made of dough and look somehow similar, most people think the two Texas snacks are the same. However, note this, “if it doesn’t taste sweet, it’s not a kolache – it’s a klobasnek.”
OTHER WORTHY MENTIONS
10. Pecan Pie
Now, you can’t leave Texas without tasting this Texan holiday staple dish. Believe it when we say that every Texas household had at least one pecan pie stashed in their ovens, especially during holiday seasons such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pecan pie holds a special place in the hearts of the locals, as its history goes back to when Native Americans still inhabit the land.
Pecan pie includes pecan nuts and a filling from the mixture of egg, butter, and sugar (sometimes syrup). Like any dish, a pecan pie had many variations, especially to the sweetening ingredient. People sometimes use white or brown sugar, various syrups such as cane syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey.
Thanks to the cultural mashup of Cajun and Vietnamese people, people worldwide enjoy crawfish festivals in Texas and pound on the savory crawfish dishes. The crawfish boil is already majestic, but the Vietnamese touch of aromatic ingredients takes it to the next level. This crawfish craze, which was also a product of colorful history, makes an excellent destination for those who crave seafood.
If you are a seafood craver, we recommend that you try visiting Texas from around March to May, as these are the peak season for eating seafood. Mind you, the dish becomes even more delightful when you learn how to scoop out the meat from the inside effectively. And by all means, don’t forget to suck on that juicy crawfish head.
Texas is, indeed, more than its scenic views and exhilarating attractions. As a haven of diverse culinary practices, it becomes an excellent destination for those who seek both adventure and satisfaction. Visiting Texas is a beautiful experience, and having a taste of some of its unique cuisines completes it.
Opportunities to travel to places like Texas give us a dose of how beautiful and delicious life can be. Trying out the local foods in your visit to places worldwide can undoubtedly make the trip worthwhile, engaging, and educating. So, the next time you get the chance to go to the Lonestar State, we hope that you make the most out of it by trying out these delectable dishes! Do you want more interesting facts about Texas? You may check out our post about Georgetown – County Seat of Williamson County.