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10 Foods You Need to Try in Texas Before You Die

Texas Food + Drink
by Turner Wright Mar 28, 2017

1. Tacos

Texas has street tacos you can buy from a variety of food trucks and restaurants, but our true passion is getting visitors addicted to breakfast tacos after a crazy night out in the Lone Star State.

Where? Torchy’s Tacos in major cities and Veracruz All Natural Food Truck in Austin. You can throw a rock and find a taco place.

2. Kolaches

Understandably, not too many people outside of Texas and Prague have heard of kolaches. Traditionally sold with fillings of fruit in the Czech Republic, descendants of Czech immigrants have made it their own in Texas, with delicious spicy sausage and even Nutella.

Where? The Czech Stop Bakery in West off I-35. There’s often a line out the door.

3. BBQ

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Every state has their own version of BBQ, but we all agree – yes, we can – that Texas’ is the best. Our brisket is juicy enough to eat without the sauce.

Where? Rudy’s is a popular chain scattered across central Texas, as is the Salt Lick in Austin, but everyone who’s in the mood for a road trip heads to Cooper’s BBQ in Llano.

4. Steak

Is there anything more Texan than wearing a cowboy hat and boots while sitting down in a noisy restaurant to enjoy an oversized steak? Well, you don’t have to do any of those things to eat well in Texas. With our millions of square miles of cattle country, we know how to sell you the best cuts of steak for fine dining or a casual night out.

Where? Almost anywhere. Luxury places include Bob’s Steak and Chop House, whereas the Big Texas Steak Ranch in Amarillo offers a more interesting challenge to eat a 72-oz steak.

5. Tex-Mex

This cuisine is what Texans who leave the state miss the most. Greasy, salty, and delicious, it’s a miracle more of us don’t weigh over 200 kg. What makes Tex-Mex different than Mexican? More cheese and more beef. Welcome to Texas.

Where? Chuy’s around the state. Trudy’s in Austin.

6. Corn Dogs

This isn’t strictly a Texas food anymore, but it was invented by German sausage-makers who settled here in the early 20th century. Once you’ve had one, you wonder how it took so long to make such a simple and delicious combination: sausage dipped in cornmeal batter. It’s hardly healthy, but the perfect snack for a summer festival or a 300-mile road trip.

Where? Any gas station like Buc-ee’s or convenience store off the interstate. If you’d like to splurge, many fairs and festivals offer hand-dipped corn dogs for $5-7.

7. Chicken Fried Steak

No, it’s not chicken; it just refers to the preparation of the steak, fried in the same way as you would fried chicken. This is so popular in Texas it’s not unusual to see every small diner offer it as part of their menu.

Where? Mary’s Cafe in Strawn is considered the best if you feel like a drive out west. Jake and Dorothy’s in Stephenville isn’t too far either. Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe in San Antonio has a massive chicken fried steak.

8. Pecan Pie

Pecans grow freely all over Texas and have been used for food long before we declared our independence from Mexico. These days, pecan pie is a staple of Texas desserts in bakeries and even over Thanksgiving, sometimes taking pumpkin’s place.

Where? Grandma’s house. Seriously. It’s easy to make. If you must buy it, Upper Crust Bakery in Austin has a very delectable selection.

9. Texas Chili

No beans. Extra beef, extra peppers. Cover that baby with grated cheese. Chili has a similar history to that of BBQ. Whereas the latter was slathered in sauce to disguise the flavor of potentially spoiled meat, the former was slowly developed by poor families in San Antonio, who had to sell most of their meat to survive, leaving them a few scraps of beef and vegetables mixed together. Since then, chili has become quite the Texas tradition, with an annual cookoff in Terlingua.

Where? Texas Chili Parlor in Austin. Fred’s Texas Cafe in Fort Worth. Many cafes and restaurants offer the good stuff across the state and there’s always Terlingua if you really want to stuff yourself.

10. Frito Pie

Mexican in origin like so many Texas foods, this mishmash of chips, cheese, onions, peppers, and chili can usually be found in a Fritos bag at sporting events or festivals. No one will question your Texanness if you want around in the summer heat carrying one of these.

Where? Sonny Bryan’s in Dallas. Concession stands of almost any major sports franchise. Even Dairy Queen carries some variations.

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