From BBQ to Blue Bell: 12 Must-Try Foods That Define Texas Flavor

Photo of author

In a state the size of Texas, you have a lot of great food options. Cities such as Austin and San Antonio are often on lists of top food cities in the country. When you visit the Lone Star State, there are certain foods you should be sure to try; even if they’re widely available elsewhere, they’ve got their own Texas twang here.

1. Barbecue

bbq sandwiches
Image Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

If you only have time for one meal in Texas, make it barbecue. The Brisket gets top billing, but the pork ribs and sausage are usually out of this world, too. You can try one of the state’s top barbecue joints, some of which are nationally famous, or you can immerse yourself in the unique experience of Buc-ee’s, a convenience store chain built around gas stations that serves up surprisingly delicious and affordable fresh barbecue.

2. Tex-Mex

tex-mex Food
Image Credit:

If you have time for just two meals, then the second should be Tex-Mex. After all, the category originated here as a Texas-influenced take on traditional Mexican food. Fajitas and enchiladas are the most popular, but there are so many other menu items to try.

3. Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-Fried Steak
Image Credit:

Texas didn’t invent this food, but as is often the case, Texans claim their version is the biggest and the best. Cube steak is drenched with a thick flour-based batter and then deep-fried to crispy perfection and topped with a creamy gravy.

4. Chili

cooking meat
Image Credit:

Chili is another food that didn’t originate in Texas but has its own Texas brand. True Texas chili has no beans and instead has extra beef and as much spice as the chef wants to add. There are state, city, and even neighborhood cookoffs to sort the best from the very good.

5. Queso

Queso Food
Image Credit:

In some restaurants, this is an appetizer; in others, it’s a whole meal. People also make their own versions at home. Melted cheese, chips, and whatever other ingredients you like…how can you go wrong?

6. Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast Tacos
Image Credit:

Tacos are a Texas staple for all 3 meals of the day. However, if you want to become a superhero for the day, all you have to do is treat the office to breakfast tacos from a local restaurant or food truck. At home, they’re easy to make on your own.

7. Kolaches

Image Credit:

When breakfast tacos won’t suffice, kolaches will. At their simplest, they’re a pastry wrapped around a shortened piece of sausage, but you can add almost anything to them, which makes them the only serious breakfast competition to tacos.

8. Burgers

Hamburger - DP
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Many of us grew up with the understanding that hamburgers got their start in Hamburg, Germany. Despite that, some Texans swear that the first burger made its appearance around 1880 in Athens, TX. Regardless, any number of establishments here will serve you a Texas-sized burger from traditional to all kinds of Texas takes.

9. Frito Pie

Frito Pie
Image Credit:

This is a combination of chips (preferably Frito’s) with chili, cheese, onions, and jalapenos as toppings. It’s popular at concession stands at Texas high school football games, and it’s also a common menu item at school cafeterias.

10. Steak

Image Credit: Dobrea

Texas is the country’s leading cattle producer, so it only stands to reason that you should cut into a juicy cut in a Texas steakhouse. Whether it’s a high-end restaurant serving premium-quality cuts or a local joint, be sure to enjoy a well-seasoned locally sourced steak. Bonus points if you put on a hat and boots.

11. Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar
Image Credit:Алексей Филатов

If you don’t like the idea of slurping down raw fish eggs, don’t worry; there’s none of that here. Salad ingredients with salsa on the side come together to make this uniquely Texan dish that’s actually, gasp, pretty healthy. It’s best enjoyed cold.

12. Blue Bell Ice Cream

Blue Bell Ice Cream
Image Credit:

Is ice cream even a food? Technically, it is since it’s solid, and many would argue it’s an essential dietary item regardless. Blue Bell is Texas’s home-grown ice cream brand, and the hardest thing about eating it is finding it before it sells out!

12 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas

man eating bbq
Image Credit: Maksim Denisenko/Shutterstock

In Texas, barbecue isn’t merely a meal; it’s almost religion. Dining at a Texas barbecue joint is often as much a cultural experience as it is a religious one, and people leave their differences and their politics behind when they walk through the doors. Texans take their barbecue very seriously, especially when it comes to brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. And they don’t pay short shrift to things like sides and sweet tea, either.

While no one will ever agree to one definitive ranking of the 12 best barbecue joints in the state, a lot of names come up repeatedly, and they’re listed in this article.

12 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas

Texas Swagger: Unraveling the Lone Star State’s Unapologetic Pride

man holding Texas flag
Image Credit: The Art of Pics/Shutterstock

If you’ve ever been to Texas, you’ll notice, besides all the pickup trucks and the cowboy hats, that Texans take a lot of pride in their home state. There are other places in the country that have a strong sense of regional or local pride, but Texas seems to top them all. In fact, for some Texans, the only thing bigger than Texas is their love of the Lone Star State.

Texas Swagger: Unraveling the Lone Star State’s Unapologetic Pride

Want to Retire in Texas? Here Are the 5 Best Big Cities to Consider

retired couple having fun
Image Credit: Canva Pro

Among the thousands of people moving to Texas each year, many retirees choose small towns across the Lone Star State to settle down and enjoy their golden years. However, the largest Texas metro areas offer access to an unparalleled range of activities and highly-rated healthcare facilities, all easily accessible from budget-friendly in-town neighborhoods friendly to seniors. 

To help you decide if big city life in retirement is right for you, we took a look at what makes five of the largest metro areas in Texas popular among their residents and attractive to seniors.

Want to Retire in Texas? Here Are the 5 Best Big Cities to Consider

This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.

+ posts

Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.