Traveling to Texas and hoping to sample the best in Lone Star cuisine? You may think this super-sized state is just about thick steaks and Tex-Mex, but there’s so much more to savor while you’re here. From Brownsville to Amarillo and all points in between, here’s a quick list of ten great eats to relish on your Texas road trip.
Smoked Brisket: Pit-smoked beef brisket is the soul of Texas-style barbecue. Smoked to tender perfection and served with sides like pinto beans and potato salad, it’s enough to lure barbecue-lovers from every state in the Union. There’s plenty of brisket being smoked throughout the state, but Central Texas is prime brisket territory.
Pecan Pie: The sweet, sticky goodness of a Texas pecan pie may bring tears to your eyes. Crowned with roasted pecans and baked in a flaky crust, this regional treat is the claim to fame of many a Texas café.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Speaking of ooey, gooey goodness—King Ranch chicken casserole has been a standard good eat for decades in Texas. This cheesy, spicy south Texas concoction screams ‘comfort food’ quite deliciously.
Tacos: Tex-Mex, that unique blend of traditional Mexican dishes and Texas cuisine, has at its heart the humble taco. With an abundance of taquerias to tempt your taste buds, you’re sure to find one no matter where you travel in Texas. Look for warm, homemade tortillas and then pick the fillings that suit your palate, from brisket to veggie combinations.
Chili con Carne: If you want to start a range war in Texas, ask who makes the best chili! Everyone has a favorite recipe, but the basics are the same: tender Texas beef and spicy chili pepper gravy. What else is added is up to the cook, so be ready to sample several combinations before you choose your top pick.
Steak: It’s no accident the Lone Star State is king when it comes to great steaks. Prime beef is the legacy of Texas cattle ranches and the tradition continues with filets and ribeyes served up in cafes and restaurants throughout Texas. Primo steak territory? Dallas/Fort Worth boasts some of the best-known steakhouses in the state.
Boiled Crawfish/Shrimp: The Gulf Coast waters off Texas offer seafood lovers a special treat. Crawfish and white shrimp boiled in spices are a standard offering in Gulf Coast cities like Houston and Port Aransas. Dive into a couple pounds of shrimp or crawfish boil for a classic Texas Gulf Coast dining experience.
Pecan Pralines: Pecan groves dot the state and produce the key ingredient in Texas pecan pralines, a delightful candy you won’t want to miss. Buttery, sugary and crunchy, the adjectives go on and on, but why not taste them for yourself while on your Texas road trip?
Czech Kolaches: Towns like Boerne, West and La Grange were heavily influenced by Czech immigrants to Texas and one of their sweetest contributions to the state is the kolache. These fruit or meat filled pastries float off the plate, so watch for them on the menu as you make a stop at bakeries and restaurants in these Texas towns.
Chili Con Queso: Are you sensing a theme of cheesy, spicy goodness in Texas cuisine? This iconic dip is a staple in Texas eateries, so why not make a game of grading the queso as you eat your way through the state?
And there you have it—ten foods to keep foodies happy on a Texas road trip. Try them all or make several trips to try regional cuisine in the Lone Star State. Either way, you’ll be happy you let your taste buds wander their way through Texas.
Joe Laing is the Director of Marketing for El Monte RV and has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years. He has been exploring the outdoors most of his life and enjoys spending time camping throughout the United States. Joe has also been involved with the RVIA’s Go RV’ing committee, campground associations, and many travel industry associations.