There are a lot of assumptions about Texas and Texans in general — everyone has cows in their backyard, we ride horses to school and everyone’s first word was “y’all.” While I can personally tell you that most of these assumptions are not true, we still have a lot of that Texas pride. We’re also the largest state in the lower 48, so that automatically makes us the biggest and the baddest. Here’s a list of 13 reasons why you don’t mess with Texas.
1. Dr. Pepper
Feeling bad after a long day? Don’t worry, the doctor is in. Originating in Waco, Texas, Dr. Pepper has become a soda staple in many countries, including the US, Europe, Asia, Canada, and Mexico. Waco even has a Dr. Pepper museum, where they have exhibits, a collection of artifacts and archives. The famous “Dublin” Dr. Pepper (aka real sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup) was manufactured in Dublin, Texas, a mere 90 miles away from Waco, until it was discontinued in 2012. A moment of silence, please.
That’s what I like about Texas. Famous for their honey butter chicken biscuit and distinct A-framed buildings, Whataburger started in Corpus Christi, Texas and eventually expanded into neighboring states (you’re welcome). Owned and operated by the Dobson family, Whataburger from Texas is not to be confused with What-A-Burger from North Carolina, but it’s obvious which one is better (hint: it’s us).
The name says it all: it’s a beautiful blend of Texas and Mexican cuisine, perfectly balanced to give you creations like King Ranch chicken casserole (see below), chile con carne and creamy queso. Tex-Mex restaurants are as common as McDonald’s in Texas, but Tex-Mex is better. Obviously. There’s a lot of debate over whether it’s considered “authentic” Mexican food, but, in the wise words of Hannah Montana, “It’s the best of both worlds.”
Move over, Krispy Kreme. Shipley’s is obviously the better choice. No Sunday was ever complete without a trip to Shipley’s before church. A family-owned business in Houston, TX, Shipley’s continues to pride itself on its hand-cut, fresh donuts. Lawrence Shipley Sr., the namesake of Shipley Do-Nuts and a total badass, crafted the donut recipe himself. Whether you’re an original glazed or chocolate sprinkles kind of person, Shipley has a donut for everyone.
5. Smoked Brisket
It’s been disputed for many years on how brisket should be cooked — do you use post oak or mesquite wood? Wood or electric smoker? Sauce or no sauce? You can put it in stews, sandwiches or eat it right off the butcher paper. Everyone has his or her own opinion, but I think I’m speaking for everyone when I say that Texas has the best damn barbecue in the country, and people will travel far and wide just to get a taste.
Although many argue that eating barbecue with sauce is a sin (see above), Stubb’s might be the only exception. Created by an army veteran with a passion for meat, Stubb’s has a range of flavors that will satisfy any Texan: spicy, hickory bourbon (could you find anything more Texan-sounding?), honey pecan and of course, the original. We’ve decided to share this glorious sauce with the rest of the country, though, and it’s done really well — the legendary sauce is worth a whopping $100 million.
Despite their recent listeria scare, Blue Bell is still Texas’ favorite ice cream, tried and true. Don’t worry, though, we survived. After the recall, people swarmed their local grocery stores and were limited to one gallon of ice cream per customer, a true testament to Blue Bell’s creamy deliciousness. They’ve come out with many different flavors like birthday cake, moo-llenium crunch and butter pecan, but nothing tastes better than homemade vanilla and a slice of our next contender.
8. Pecan Pie
The state nut of Texas tastes even better as a pie. You know it’s good when gas station pecan pie tastes just as good as the one you’d order at a restaurant. While the origins of this dish aren’t clear, it’s safe to say that Texas has claimed it as its own. It’s eaten at Thanksgiving, Christmas, barbecues, Fourth of July and any other holiday that gives us an excuse to eat it. So whether you pronounce it pee-kan or puh-kahn pie, make sure it’s eaten with loved ones and a heaping scoop of Blue Bell ice cream.
King Ranch chicken casserole is a Tex-Mex casserole, but it’s so iconic it gets its own little blurb. It gets its name from King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the United States — the entire ranch is bigger than the state of Rhode Island (again, if it’s in Texas, it’s automatically bigger). Chicken, cheese, green chiles, tomatoes, a blend of spices, cream of mushroom soup and tortillas are all rolled into one and baked to perfection. This dish is the ultimate comfort food and hits every Texan with waves of nostalgia and memories from Mom’s kitchen.
10. Shiner Beer
Shiner beer was invented the Texan way; German and Czech immigrants couldn’t find a beer like they had from home, so they decided to make their own, and Shiner beer (and the Spoetzl Brewery) was born. They were able to stay afloat during Prohibition by brewing near-beer, a low alcohol malt-beverage that kept the brewery from being shut down. Now if that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.
11. Breakfast Tacos
The perfect hangover cure (and it tastes good too). Why eat bacon, eggs and potatoes separately when you can eat them in a warm, chewy tortilla? There’s always the debate of which Texas city the breakfast taco came from, but one thing is always for sure: Texas’ breakfast tacos > everyone elses’ breakfast tacos. Depending on the time of the day, breakfast tacos go great with our next item. Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely.
Because we’d all just love to be wasting away in Margaritaville. The first frozen margarita was created by bartender Mariano Martinez, who resorted to using a soft-serve ice cream machine when his ONE blender failed him on the opening night for his restaurant. The first frozen margarita machine, now displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, created what would become the most popular cocktail in the country. History was made. Literally.
13. Chicken Fried Steak
Those who are crazy enough to have moved out of the best state in the US say the same thing: “We miss a good ol’ chicken fried steak.” (I know you read that with a Texan accent.) Regular steak wasn’t good enough for us, so we went ahead and made it better by battering, deep-frying and then smothering it in creamy gravy. Lamesa, a small town in South Texas, even hosts an annual Chicken Fried Steak Festival that features a cook-off, live music and a pie-eating contest. Mmm mmm mmm.
If you were skeptical of Texas’ superiority before reading this article, there’s no way you have ANY doubts now. On the off chance you’re still doubtful, here’s what you can do:
1. Take a deep breath.
2. Read #1-13 again.
Besides, as American war hero Davy Crockett once said, “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” #TexasForever