Eating In The Lone Star State
Southern Charm Comes From All Over
Texas is, in a word, large. With so much land, it only makes sense that there is a wide variety of inhabitants. Because of its proximity to the nearby country Mexico, as well as many bordering states such as Louisiana, you can’t go very far in this state without noticing influences in cuisine from the German, Czech, British, African American, Creole/Cajun, Mexican, New Mexican, Native American, Asian, Jewish, and Italian.
Some Like It Burning Hot
Thanks to Texas’ neighbors, many cooks in this state have access to the New Mexico chili, cayenne peppers, tajin, and tabasco sauce. Texans can take the heat! Local farms also ensure that there is a constant production of livestock, such as cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry. With plentiful land on the Panhandle and South Texas Plains fit for growing crops, Texas is a major source of corn, rice, wheat, peanuts, and sugarcane. Hugged by the Gulf of Mexico, inhabitants have access to king mackerel, bass, panfish, and catfish, all of which are considered delicacies in the Lonestar State.
One good way to tell that you’re in the South- the barbeque. While BBQ methods, flavors, and styles vary from region to region, Texas has gained a reputation as one of the best in the nation, utilizing what is known as “cowboy style”. The meats are cooked over mesquite rather than wood, treating the ribs, brisket, chicken, or other meat to a more smoky flavor. Eastern Texas’ BBQ is typically chopped into little shreds, and while other parts of the state prefer full, hefty racks of ribs and slabs of savory meat, one thing is consistent– the tender, fall-of-the-bone excellence that comes through with each bite of the completed products. Contrary to other states’ form of BBQ, Texas cookouts usually only smoke their meats with a dry-rub, rather than a slathering of sauce.
Like their neighbors, Texas loves a good ol’ fry, apparent in the incredibly popular dish of chicken fried steak, in which a tenderized beef steak is breaded and pan fried, then topped with a creamy white gravy and served (often) with fries. If fries aren’t your style, you can have a cup of chili to accompany your main dish. A classic chili does not have beans, but enough vegetables, meat, chili peppers, and corn to adequately fill you up and keep you satisfied. Once you’ve cleaned off your plate, you’ve deserved Texas’ finest dessert- Pecan Pie! Simple yet delicious, this pie is made from a mix of nuts, eggs, white or brown sugar, and butter. Some variations include molasses, maple syrup, or honey. Absolutely delicious!
Go Big Or Stay Home
Southern hospitality takes a new form in Texas. The people are incredibly amiable, yes, but behind that there’s a fire– a certain competitive spirit that is apparent in everything that the inhabitants do. From sporting events, to festivals, and even to the kitchen, the personality and energy that comes from this state is apparent in every aspect of their culture.
Texas goes big– in every possible sense of the word. Football is almost a religion, and food is just as serious. Some restaurants in the area serve “Texas-Sized” variations of their food, which really just means that it’s a massive serving that takes serious skill to consume in one sitting. The thing is– Texans will accept that challenge. They will eat that “Texas-Sized” dish without the bat of an eye. That is just how tough, adaptable, and enthusiastic the people of Texas are. With community events such as line dances, community picnics, and BBQs, citizens and visitors of the historical Cowboy State never get bored, never slow down, and never. Ever. Stop feeding each other!