Loosen your belts for Texas’ big flavours. No bones about it, when it comes to good ol’ fashioned hearty dishes, Texas packs an almighty punch. Once in Texas, you’ll soon discover that food is a way of life and integral to the state’s culture – it’s so much more than just a meal. From fine dining in Dallas to authentic roadside BBQ joints, freshly caught sea-food from the Gulf Coast to the best steaming bowl of chilli you’ll ever taste, it’s time to savour the flavours of Texas.
The clue is in the title. Part Texan part Mexican, Tex Mex combines the two to create a hybrid cuisine that is as addictive as it is delicious. Pair Texas’s mind-blowing meats, with some spice thrown into the mix from just over the border in Mexico and you’re well on your way to discovering a seriously tasty meal. Think enchiladas and burritos smothered in cheese, rice and refried beans. See, we told you to loosen your belts.
Try it at: the Dallas institution Mia’s for top quality Tex Mex and great atmosphere, or opt for Güero’s in Austin for fresh, homemade tortilla chips and some of the best tacos in Texas.
BBQ in Texas is something of an art. Of course many nations also boast their barbecuing skills to be the best in the world, but in Texas they may just be right. Traditionally, the meat is almost always beef, (but you may find the odd piece of pork or chicken sneaked in) and is slow cooked in pits over mesquite or hickory wood – giving it its unique smokey flavour. An enormous plate of BBQ ribs or brisket will usually be accompanied by a generous serving of tangy barbecue sauce, potato salad and coleslaw.
Try it at: Angelo’s BBQ joint over in Fort Worth for some of the best brisket in Texas or head to Gatlin’s in Houston for delicious ribs and pulled pork. But for those who are really committed to the cause, nothing can beat a trip on the Texas BBQ trail.
In this American state, the words “Texas” and “Steak” are interrelated. Beef comes in all shapes and sizes, but here we are talking about pure, unadulterated slabs of steak. The quality of steak served up in Texas is amongst the best in the world. Try the local delicacy “chicken fried steak” for a piece of tender beef which has been dipped in batter and deep fried like a chicken schnitzel, or stick to a good old rib eye served with fries or mashed potatoes.
Try it at: The Alamo Café in San Antonio does a particularly good chicken fried steak whilst Hoffbrau Steaks-West End in Dallas and Brenner’s in Houston specialise in steakhouse classics and succulent rib eyes.
No need for the “con carne” part, chilli in Texas is always served with meat. Thought to have originated in San Antonio at some point in the 1800s, Texan chili is thick, spicy and never ever served with kidney beans. Usually you’ll be given a choice as to just how spicy you can handle it, but be warned, at some chili stalls the rule of thumb is quite simply “the hotter, the better”.
Try it at: Traditional chilli is more of a street food favourite or bar snack, so it’s often found at fairs and cook-offs across the state – the most famous of which is held in the small border town of Terlingua each year on the first Saturday of November. Regularly washed down with a cold Corona and a couple of tequilas, chilli is the ultimate Texan party food.