Texans can be very particular about their food. It’s a matter of state pride in many circumstances. And while the people in other states certainly understand (well, at least some of) the appeal, they just don’t always understand our rigidity on the subject. However, if you plan to travel to or move to Texas, there are some things you should know about our culinary picadillos.
Luckily, given our broad range of influences, we’re convinced people in at least one other state (or country) totally know what we mean.
1. Allsup’s burritos
While many gas stations serve fried burritos, the original Allsup’s burrito is the one by which all others are judged… don’t forget the Allsup’s sauce!
Especially when it’s deep-fried, rattlesnake meat is one of the top draws at the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup (tastes like… whitefish).
3. Christmas tamales
This Mexican tradition has permeated Texas, and each year around Christmastime, you start seeing signs on the side of the road advertising Christmas tamales.
4. Frito pie is awesome
So awesome, in fact, that it’s not a concession stand without one, and they even serve it at some schools for lunch.
5. Texans are particular about chili ingredients
Texans do, in fact, eat chili made with hamburger and beans… it’s just that it ain’t Texas chili if it’s not made with chunks of real steak. And beans? Well, that’s just a no-no.
6. Coke is not a name brand
In much of Texas, if you ask for a Coke, they’ll ask you what kind. That’s because we call all soda “coke.”
7. Mayo ruins a burger
The appropriate way to serve a regular burger in Texas is with mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion — cheese and bacon are optional.
8. Barbecue beef is boss… and also German sausage?
We lean toward beef at barbecues, but we also serve German sausage thanks to the influence of German immigrants.
9. Snow cones aren’t always sweet
That tasty leftover brine from the big jars of Best Maid pickles take snow cone enjoyment to the next level.
10. Chinese restaurants are almost as common as churches
It’s Americanized Chinese, of course, but the sheer number of Asian-influenced restaurants in the state is pretty dizzying to many.
11. Enchilada gravy is a thing
Our cheese enchiladas are often made with processed cheese (though cheddar is acceptable) and loads of onions and are topped with a cross between brown gravy and enchilada sauce, known as enchilada gravy.
12. Deep-fried jalapeños
Fried pickles will never be turned away by any Southerner, but we really do love a quality deep-fried jalapeño.
13. The blurred meaning of “authentic Mexican food”
Thanks to our complex history (six flags over Texas and all), the line between authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex easily blurs. Don’t overthink it… it tastes good either way. If you crave separation of the two, New Mexico and Mexico are both pretty close.
14. Sausage biscuits… with grape jelly or yellow mustard
No egg is required for this breakfast treat, but you’ll need to slather it with grape jelly or yellow mustard.
15. Brisket tacos
Brisket tacos can be eaten like a regular taco for lunch or dinner or topped with eggs for breakfast.
16. We have our own kolaches
With our German influence, ours are a bit different from what you might be used to, but boy are they tasty!
17. Ever heard of Tex-Jex?
Ever fans of fusion food, Tex-Jex is Tex-Mex with a Jewish cooking influence. Chicken falafel tamales, anyone?
18. Our food is more diverse than you think
It’s not all barbecue and Tex-Mex. As I said before, there have been six flags over Texas (and a ton of immigrants from other countries) that influence our food. Chicken-fried steak is a variation on Austrian schnitzel, we have Cajun and Creole influences in the Southeast, German influences in just about everything, Czech influences, Jewish influences, Moroccan influences (one of the main differences between Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking), British influences and more.
In addition to that, Texas is a big state. You can’t expect to find, say, enchilada gravy in every area. Yes, our food does have multiple personalities, but it’s always good.