Where to start? We’re thinking probably with barbecue, but to reduce Texan food down to just this, admittedly integral, part of the Texan diet, is to do the literally hundreds of other traditional dishes a great disservice. Inextricably influenced by its Mexican roots, Texans love their tamales, salsas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and quesadillas (and we haven’t even touched on the Texan regional variations of these yet), not to mention a few other less obvious Texan dishes. See what takes your taste buds by surprise…
The key to a good Texan barbecue is getting your marinades, mesquites and type of wood just right. Anyone can barbecue a piece a meat, but it takes a bit of know-how to do it Tex. Wherever you go in Texas you’ll find a different barbecue recipe, and a different wood (hickory, pecan or mesquite) everywhere you go. In the south, smother your meat with a thick, sweet sauce that keeps it tender and moist, but in the east, a tomato-based marinade is preferred together with a slow-cook style. Head west and you’ll find locals flash cooking directly over the mesquite fire, giving their cuts of meat the smoky bitterness of the char. So break out the beef ribs, brisket, pork, steak, chicken wings and sausage, gather up your hot sauces and marinades, and discover the true taste of Tex barbecue.
Hot ‘n’ spicy, full of flavour and side-splittingly filling, the mixture of the fiery Mexican chillies and the Texan delectation for piling your plate high make Tex-Mex ubiquitous across the State and, as we know, across the world. Begin your day with a breakfast burrito; a rolled tortilla filled with bacon, potatoes, chilli and cheese (and any other breakfast ingredients you’d like to kick off your day with). Then continue your Tex-Mex taster day with some chilli con carne, fajitas, nachos and salsa on a combination platter as you get a feel for Tex-Mex’s four major food groups; cheese, meat, beans and spices. The question is, how much can you handle?
Now for something a little more out of left field, a lesser known Texan invention is Dublin Dr Pepper. The ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ drink, invented in Waco just south of Dallas, was originally made using Imperial Pure Cane Sugar (not the Corn Syrup used now) and at its oldest bottling plant in Dublin, Texas, you can still find the original recipe drink. Not quite a fruit drink, not quite a root beer, not even a type of cola, Dr Pepper is unique, and uniquely Texan. Only sold within a small radius of the plant, Dublin Doctor Pepper is a little known part of Texan foodie history you’ve simply got to sample.
Not one the world has really cottoned onto, but Texan pecans really are a little bit special. In Texas, you’ll find the sweetest, most richly flavoured pecans in the world – grab yourself a bag wherever you can and you’ll soon find that you’ve scoffed the lot, they’re that addictive. The self-proclaimed Pecan capital of the world is San Saba, about a hundred miles north west of Austin, where you can walk through pecan orchards and sample the freshest – and bestest – nuts in the world. And of course, don’t forget to try some homemade pecan pie…a real diet-killer, but definitely worth it.