What’s to Love about Texas Food

Texans take their food as seriously as they do their football.

Black's Barbecue is Texas' oldest and best major barbecue restaurant continuously owned and operated by the same family. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Black's Barbecue is Texas' oldest and best major barbecue restaurant continuously owned and operated by the same family. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you slander their vittles, they’re apt to defend their deep-fried passion as though you personally launched another attack on the Alamo.

Necessity has frequently mothered our creations, and early Texans had to make do with meager supplies, which is how they wound up with frugal favorites like chicken-fried steak and fried pies. Such resourcefulness produced foods that bring us endless gratification today.

Many Winter Texans and other visitors to the Lone Star State have the good sense to agree with them—that Texan food is that of the gods.

Little Known & Great Places to Eat

Sure, there are thousands of great places to eat scattered throughout cities and towns all across Texas, and a Main Street Cafe on just about every corner of every berg from Wink to Brownsville. But there are those really special places that qualify as the Best of the Best—the unique and extraordinary—the unusual, and just plain great places to eat. They shouldn’t be missed when traveling down the highways and byways of Texas.

Take a tour of some of our personal favorites and schedule lunch or dinner next time you’re in the neighborhood. These are spots you can’t afford to miss. Bon Appetite!

1. Texas Barbecue

The meat that’s most often used in Texas BBQ is beef. And among the various beef cuts, brisket is hands-down the most popular. There’s something about taking a tough piece of meat like a beef brisket and turning it into a tender and delicious masterpiece.

Another difference is the barbeque sauce. Every Texas barbeque lover knows that there is nothing like the original Texas BBQ sauce. This famous sauce has a sweet and spicy, tomato-based flavor that is thick and delicious.

2. Chicken-fried steak

Born on the cattle-driving trail, this Texas staple was poor folks’ food, as the cowboys ate pretty much what their coosies (chuck-wagon cooks) could scare up. Longhorn was a tough beef, so the coosie pounded it until tender with whatever tools he could find, then dredged it in flour and fried it up in a Dutch oven. Texans by the thousands now savor it on a daily basis.

3. Shrimp

When in the Clear Lake/Galveston area we head for Rose’s in Seabrook for a supply of shrimp. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The shrimp fleet that fishes the Texas Gulf Coast is one of the world’s largest, and there isn’t a place where you can buy this delectable crustacean any fresher or tastier. When in the Clear Lake/Galveston area we head for Rose’s in Seabrook for a supply of this fresh crustacean. Back in our motorhome Dania whips up a fresh feast for dinner while freezing the rest for our future eating enjoyment.

4. Blue Bell Ice Cream

I consider ice cream to be a food group—and there’s no better ice cream available than Blue Bell. In late August 1907, the Brenham Creamery Company opened its doors to sell butter. By 1911, they had put together milk, cream, eggs, and fruit fresh from local farmers and were making a gallon or two of ice cream daily, packing it in a large wooden tub with ice and salt and delivering it by horse and wagon to neighbors. By 1930, Blue Bell Creameries had been born, and today their ice cream is a true Texas favorite.

Made in a multitude of flavors—Pecan Praline ’n Cream, Buttered Pecan, Caramel Sundae Crunch, Spiced Pumpkin Pecan are tops with me. 

5. Pecans

Did someone mention pecans? In the autumn, pecan tree branches become heavy with their bounty of nuts, and the delicious fun begins soon after harvesting. Grown in some 150 Texas counties, Lone Star pecans come in such varieties as Desirable, Western, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Cape Fear, and many more. Enterprising cooks make batches of spiced pecans, pralines, and fudge.

What's your favorite flavor of Blue Bell ice cream? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What's your favorite flavor of Blue Bell ice cream? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Note: This is the first in a ongoing series on Why I Love Texas Food

Worth Pondering…
You Can’t Spell Texas without H-E-B

No you can’t have Antonio unless you got the San.
And you can’t have the Valley without the Rio Grande.
It ain’t Texas barbecue without the Mesquite smoke,
And Austin’s gotta have its Hook ‘Em Horns and Broken Spoke.

It ain’t the Hill Country if it doesn’t have the hills,
Or Fredericksburg or Dripping Springs, or good ol’ Kerrville.
It ain’t the Texas flag without the Lone Star,
And without blackeyed peas, it ain’t Texas caviar.

There’s so much to love about Texas,
That’s why Texas is home for me.
Can’t find any place on Earth like Texas.
And you can’t spell Texas without H-E-B.

—Written and sung by Jack Ingram

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