Food and Drink in Texas
The state of Texas has the reputation of being almost its own country, and people often say that "everything is bigger in Texas." Food and drink are no exception to that saying—and what else would one expect from a state that is bigger than every other state and is more populous than every other state except for California? Texas also shares a border with and once was part of Mexico, adding a fascinating layer of complexity to the Lonestar State’s cuisine. In terms of food, Texas is best known for its beef and Tex-Mex; Texas is also known for a variety of beverages.
The enduring image of a herd of cattle being driven by cowboys is often associated with Texas—and for good reason. Texas has more farms with more acreage than anywhere in the U.S., so the fact that it produces more livestock than anyone else in the nation is no surprise. Texans love their beef prepared in a variety of ways. Barbecue is a matter of pride in Texas, and the state’s affinity for beef makes it the most popular meat to prepare in this way. Hamburgers are also immensely popular, which is unsurprising since a Texan invented the hamburger in the late 19th or early 20th century. Chicken fried steak is another Texas delicacy; they make this delicious Southern treat by battering and pan-frying the steak before smothering it in a creamy gravy made from the drippings of the steak itself.
Considering the long, involved history between Texas and Mexico, heavy Mexican culinary influence was inevitable. Texans—and many other Americans—love their Tex-Mex, which is, as the name implies, a combination of traditional American and Mexican cuisine. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these Tex-Mex dishes feature beef. In addition to the traditional staples of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc., Tex-Mex also includes chili con carne, which is essentially beef and chilis. Fajitas are also immensely popular, as is the ever-delicious chile con queso, which is the preferred nacho dip of Texas.
Lone Star Beer
Food is not the only thing Texans love to consume; drinks are also an important part of Texas culture. The popular soft drink Dr. Pepper was created in Texas, and many Texans favor this soft drink above others. Texans also enjoy drinking alcohol, and there is certainly no beer shortage in Texas. The state has its own beer called Lone Star and is also home to Shiner beer. Vodka is also popular, with Tito’s leading the way—especially in the past several years. Whiskey, of course, is also a popular classic option, as is tequila.
These are the most common types of food and drink available in Texas, but there are other types of food that are somewhat less popular. German food, for example, is prevalent in some areas of Texas thanks to the German immigrants who brought their cuisine with them. Czech, Native American, and Italian influences are also present in some Texas cuisine. Everything truly is bigger in Texas—including the menu.