Texan culture is a great medley created from many different influences that still retains its own unique identity. From the historic Alamo to the fastest growing cities in the country, the state is as diverse as it is large. Naturally, Texas foods play an integral role throughout society.
As a native Texan, I've grown up with certain foods and customs my entire life, but I've also traveled far and experienced many different cultures. Every region has its own specialties but when it comes down to it, there are some foods that Texas just does better than anywhere else. Here are a few iconic Texan foods that won't be beat outside the Lone Star State.
Texas food is all about the meat. At our barbecue joints, you'll find brisket, sausage, and ribs to be the most popular. The long smoking process (usually 6-12 hours) gives the meat a delicate tenderness and the perfect balance between savory and spicy that eliminates the need for sauces or fancy sides. No matter what others say, Texas will show you that it's the true home of barbecue.
Tex-Mex is the culinary combination of Mexican and Texan cultures that gave us queso, fajitas, flautas, and practically everything else on the menu of your local Mexican restaurant. The cuisine originated in Texas, so you know it's gonna be the best here. Don't know the difference between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food? Here's an explanation.
3. Breakfast Tacos
The quintessential breakfast taco is a staple Texas food and one that everyone knows well. It's an indulgent combination of potato, egg, cheese, onion, and breakfast meats wrapped up in a fresh tortilla that is both filling and cheap.
Yeah, it sounds simple, but you can't find one as good as you will around Texas. Wherever your travels may take you, breakfast tacos will be there.
The Texas state dish is just like Texans themselves—spicy, hearty, and no frills. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of ways to customize chili. Cornbread vs. corn chips, beans vs. no beans, etc. Even we won't decide what is best because we don't even have to. Just keep it simple—but don't you dare put any vegetables in there.
5. Blue Bell Ice Cream
With flavors like Butter Crunch and Banana Pudding, what's a little listeria? Blue Bell ice cream is the top choice of consumers all across the state for good reason. The local twists and special care put in each tub remind us why we're so lucky to live in Texas. Sorry Ben and Jerry, but Blue Bell's had you beat since 1907.
Everyone knows that nothing goes with Texas food like Texas beer. Good thing there are so many different kinds to choose from—ain't no party like a Texas party.
If a Texan asks for a "coke," we're probably expecting to be handed a Dr. Pepper. And if we're eating barbecue, you better bet there's a bottle of Big Red right next to it. Not only did these drinks come from Texas, but they're also two of the tastiest and most unique options on the market.
8. Chicken Fried Steak
It's hot, it's fried, it's covered in white gravy, and if you're in Texas, it's gonna be big. Get some fried okra and mashed potatoes on the side and you're all set for the food coma of a lifetime.
Around the 1850s, Czech immigrants brought their iconic pastries to Texas. The most traditional form consists of a sweet pillowy touch encompassing a thick filling of fruit, seeds, or cream cheese. Nowadays, the most popular version is the same semisweet dough filled with sausage and cheese, which makes for the best breakfast on a busy morning.
In the 1940s, Lawrence Shipley, Sr. started to fry up his signature do-nuts right in the heart of Houston. Since then, "Shipley's" has continued to capture the heart of Texans and keep them coming not only for the nostalgia, but for the top-notch dough. Nothing beats the classics, and Shipley's has had them mastered for years.
Whataburger is the undisputed king of fast food restaurants. Where else can you get chicken fingers smothered in honey butter on a biscuit 24/7? Exactly.
Texans love the franchise so much that they've developed an affinity to borrow *coughstealcough* the plastic numbers on the tables just so that they can always be reminded of it.
12. Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is the ultimate autumn dessert in Texas (sorry, pumpkin spice). Buttery pecans atop a thick layer of corn syrup filling held in a flaky golden crust—I don't know how other pies can compete. It's pretty well-known that everyone's grandma makes the best pecan pie out there, so save your breath and make it a la mode (with Blue Bell, of course).
13. Anything Fried
Don't even ask about what we won't fry. Butter? Check. Beer? Oh yeah. Pie? Been there. Salsa? Why not. Go to the mecca of fried food aka the Texas State Fair and have both your heart and your arteries filled with joy.