It’s been over a year since my exodus from Texas. I miss my friends and family of course but apart from that, I find myself adjusting really well here in the Washington, D.C., region. That is until I crave one of these five must try food in Texas.
Texas, or the Lone Star state, is often associated with meat, particularly beef. When one mentions the words food and Texas in the same sentence, it’s hard not to think about the big chunks of steak, grilling over mesquite or the delicious aromas coming from of a Texas-sized brisket being smoked. But believe it or not, there’s more to Texas than just steaks and barbecue.
5 Must Try Food in Texas
It’s no secret that Texas has the best Tex-Mex eateries anywhere in the country. It originated from the state, thanks to the many Mexicans who immigrated and introduced their culture to native Texans. The results were delicious dishes like chili con carne, nachos and fajitas to name a few.
Tex-Mex is synonymous with Texas making it a must try food in Texas. The cuisine is characterized by the use of grounded meat, particularly beef, beans and generous portions of shredded cheese. The term goes back to the 19th century at the height of the industrial revolution
Anywhere you stay in Texas will have great Tex-Mex but if you want the best, seek out the iconic restaurants like the Original Blanco Café in San Antonio whose famous cheese enchiladas with chili sauce will make anyone’s mouth water; Molina’s Cantina in Houston for their classic chili and pork tamales or the beloved Joe’s Bakery and Coffee Shop in Austin, which is known to have the best cure for any hangover: breakfast tacos.
Texas must be tough for visiting vegetarians because another must try food in Texas is without a doubt, steak. The ranchers in the state have been known to grow some of the best beef for human consumption and it definitely shows with the number of fine dining steakhouses that originated in some of the state’s largest cities like Houston and Dallas.
If you want to sample the best, head towards the legendary Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, which only has three locations in the state (two of which are in Houston), Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap or seek the original Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Dallas.
For many non-Texans, the term barbecue simply means cooking something on the grill, but for those who’ve lived and grew up in the Lone Star state, barbecue means something else entirely.
It’s true that grilling is part of barbecuing, but enthusiasts will tell you that the latter is more of an art form. In order to create the perfect brisket or serve the best ribs, every decision, starting with the wood, will make a difference.
Barbecue is one of the Texan must eats but unlike the mid-western styles, pit masters in Texas prefer to use dry rubbing techniques to flavor the beef. The sauces are also somewhat different, usually thicker and with less sweetness and tang to it.
The best barbecue places in Texas are scattered around the state from the tiny town of Springwood to the state capital of Austin.
Chicken Fried Steak
Steak enthusiasts might consider chicken fried steak a form of blasphemy. After all, who in their right mind takes a perfectly good cut of prime beef, pounds it into a thin piece, coats it with seasoned flour and then deep-fry it. Sounds insane right? That is until you try it.
Imagine the best fried chicken you’ve ever tasted but without the mess of bones and substitute it with beef, which usually has more flavor anyway. That’s what chicken fried steak is and Texans certainly love it! Their culinary love affair with beef obviously has no limits and this particularly must try food in Texas might just be the best one yet.
The key to a great chicken fried steak is more than just the beef though. It’s also about the gravy that accompanies it. You can have a steak fried to perfection but if the gravy’s sub par, it can ruin the entire meal so keep this in mind when deciding where to go. My suggestions? Check out Babe’s Chicken (several locations in North Texas) or The Gristmill in New Braunfels.
Texans have the Czech immigrants to thank for this beloved pastry. What started as a Hill Country favorite suddenly became one of a Texan must eats.
Original kolaches are sweet pastries, often filled with fruit jams or cream cheese, but considering many of the bakeries were in barbecue country, the location begged for experimentation. Savory kolaches started popping up, filled with sausages or ground beef. Though the savory versions weren’t necessarily new creations (Europeans called them klobasnek), in Texas, they also came to be known as kolaches.
A few of the best ones in the state to get kolaches include the Czech Stop in West, the Kolache Shop in Clute and the Old Main Street Bakery in Rosenburg.