20 Foods Texans can't live without
Down here in Texas, we know how to eat. These 20 can't-live-without foods will teach you the Lone Star basics.
1. Julio's chips and salsa
Chips and salsa is more than just a starter. Plenty of Tex-Mex restaurants in the state have some fabulous offerings, but nothing beats the magic of Julio's specially seasoned chips and roasted tomato salsa. Bless you, Julio!
Julio's chips aren't just great dipped in their roasted salsa. Texans also like to dip them into a batch of creamy guac. Try this guacamole recipe, but remember, here in Texas, we use lemon, not lime.
May as well make it a trifecta, right? Gooey cheese dip with peppers and other Tex-Mex spices (and sometimes meat) is just as good smothering a big pile of chips as it is gracing the buns of a juicy half-pound, all-beef burger. This Texas gal recommends you check out this queso recipe.
4. Ranch Style Beans
Born right here in the Lone Star State, Ranch Style Beans have a rich, chili-like flavor that makes them the perfect partner for many Texas favorites, from steaks to barbecue anything.
5. Ranch dressing
In Texas, there's nothing that can't be deep-fried and dipped in ranch dressing. Literally nothing.
Frozen, on the rocks or with a swirl, it's hard to drive more than a mile without seeing a dollar margarita special — unless you're in a dry county, of course. But we don't hesitate to make them at home. These margarita recipes would make any Texas gal shout "yee-haw!"
7. Jose Cuervo tequila
Patrón is nice, but we're not that pretentious here. Cuervo is our preferred brand. Make sure you do it right while you're down here, or they'll throw you out of the bar. Lick your hand in the meaty part between your thumb and index finger, salt it, take the lime with the same thumb and index finger, lick the salt, down the tequila, bite the lime, repeat responsibly.
8. Taco Bueno
You thought I was going to say Taco Bell, didn't you? C'mon, y'all. That's not real Tex-Mex (Doritos tacos?). Taco Bueno's the preferred Tex-Mex drive-through in Tejas.
9. Dairy Queen
When we're hankerin' for something a little more Southern, we like to opt for steak fingers or a Hungr-Buster followed by a Blizzard or Dilly Bar at Dairy Queen.
The problem with those prepackaged jobs is that they just aren't as soft and pliable as the good stuff. Whether you like flour or corn, get them from a local factory or restaurant where they make them fresh each day, or make your own tortillas at home.
11. Blue Bell ice cream
No offense to Ben & Jerry's, but Blue Bell is made right here at home. And there's no better way to take a Texas-size bite of Southern Hospitality (yep, that's actually a flavor).
Texas barbecue is the best on earth. There's a lot of debate whether "authentic"' Texas style is dry-rubbed, sauced or both, but no matter what camp you fall into, bold flavor is the X factor. Try these oven-baked ribs in any state.
Repeat after me: Chili does not have beans. That's right, here in Texas it's considered a sin to put beans in your chili. We also like it pretty spicy, so try this crazy-hot chili at your own risk.
14. Dr Pepper
Oddly, even though Texans call all soft drinks coke, we lean toward the 23 flavors of Dr Pepper. Some of you may even remember Dublin Dr Pepper made in Dublin, Texas, with cane sugar instead of the original recipe. Sadly, due to a dispute with the parent company, it's no longer made.
Brewed in Shiner, Texas, Shiner is a true Texas staple. My personal faves are the Ruby Redbird and the seasonal Shiner Cheer.
Tacos, burritos, enchiladas and more, we can't get enough of this Mexican hybrid that's become its own foodie genre. There are plenty of Tex-Mex restaurants (one for every church in Texas), but try this delicious and easy recipe for Tex-Mex grill packets.
17. Chicken-fried, well, anything
Whether you like steak or chicken (or even portabello mushrooms), you can batter it up, smother it in gravy and serve it with a side of mashed potatoes and veggies. I never promised Texas food was healthy. But you can try this healthier chicken fried steak if you're worried about it.
In Texas, the tamale lady is the hero of the workday, selling her edible wares from workplace to workplace. Don't have a tamale lady? If you find a good brand, then it's OK to buy these in the freezer section, but you can try your own homemade tamales too.
19. Sweet tea
If you're not drinking Shiner, then you're drinking sweet tea. Period. And when she asks for a cup of sugar in this Southern sweet tea recipe, she ain't pulling your leg.
20. Pecan pie
Keep your coconut cream and key lime. In Texas, we like our pies crunchy, sweet and satisfying. I like these little mini pecan pies because they're packed with the nuts of our state tree.