You Can't Say You're from Texas Unless You've Tried 22/40 of These Foods
By: Ian Fortey
Image: David Hensley/Moment Open/Getty Images
About This Quiz
The great state of Texas has long been a melting pot of other cultures including Mexican, Czech, German, Native American and Asian. All of these have greatly influenced the foods prepared throughout the state. Its close proximity to Mexico has ensured that over the years Tex-Mex has become its own kind of cuisine, melding traditional Mexican favorites with an American flair to give us things like chimichangas and enchiladas. The strong German and Czechoslovakia roots have also influenced the culinary history of the region to include dishes like sausage and country fried steak which would not have existed without those cooking styles being folded into the Texas culinary tradition.
Whether it's traditional fair foods like corn dogs and funnel cake or the absolutely legendary Texas BBQ which includes brisket, sausage and those massive beef ribs all smoked low and slow over some delicious mesquite, all washed down with a Texas-made Dr. Pepper, there are a ton of Texas favorites for anyone to eat when they're in the mood. If you consider yourself a true Texan, then you must have had more than your fair share of these items. So why not dig into our custom Texas menu and see how many of these Lone Star favorites you’ve had!
This is one-third of the Texas BBQ trinity. What is it?
Sausage is a big part of the Texas BBQ scene thanks to the strong population of both German and Czech immigrants in the state who brought family recipes with them to the region and made them a staple of the food scene.
Which of these may be the most famous dip in Tex-Mex cuisine?
Queso, otherwise known as chile con queso, is a creamy cheese sauce that's usually based on processed cheese melted with some kind of peppers. You can trace the origins of the dish to Chihuahua in Mexico, but when it's made with Velveeta, it's purely American.
Do you know which dish is very similar to wiener schnitzel?
Southern fried chicken
Chicken fried steak
Chicken fried steak dates back nearly 200 years in Texas and seems to be inspired by wiener schnitzel, which is typically a breaded pork cutlet. The city of Lamesa, Texas, claims to be the birthplace of the chicken fried steak.
Brenham, Texas is the birthplace of which of these Texan staples?
Blue Bell ice cream
Blue Bell ice cream comes from Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas. The company was founded way back in 1907 and has grown to become more than a local favorite. These days it's the fourth best-selling brand in the country.
The first Dr. Pepper was served sometimes around 1885 in Waco, Texas. The recipe was crafted by a pharmacist named Charles Alderton and included 23 different flavors. When it was first advertised, they claimed it had medicinal properties.
Which of these was originally a pastry of Czech origin?
Kolaches are filled pastries that can be either sweet or savory and have become so popular in parts of Texas that they have annual kolache festivals. Traditional kolaches were fruit-filled, but you can find savory versions filled with meats, cheese and eggs as well.
Do you know which dish Texas borrowed from Louisiana?
Though crawfish has long been a Louisiana staple, it has been adopted and adapted to Texan tastes. You can get traditional Louisiana style but there is also a prevalent Vietnamese community in Southeast Texas that offers up its own variation, and crawfish boils are not uncommon around Houston in the springtime.
If you need to be refreshed in Texas, maybe this will do the trick. What is it?
Sweet tea is available at just about any restaurant you go to in certain parts of the state of Texas, while it's completely absent in others. It's really the luck of the draw. Those who swear by it feel it's about as Texan as the Alamo, though.
Which dish involves corn tortillas slathered in sauce?
A proper enchilada is a corn tortilla wrapped around a filling that could be beef, beans, rice or potatoes like a burrito and then covered in sauce. Sauces could be cheesy like queso, spicy like salsa or something milder.
Do you know which of these you'll find especially in West Texas?
While soft tacos are the more traditional sort, crunchy tacos have found a home in west Texas, especially around the El Paso area. Unlike Taco Bell tacos or the crunchy taco shells you can buy in a store, these are usually homemade tortillas fried crispy to order.
Ground meat and bread are integral ingredients in which of these Texas favorites?
Hamburgers and Texas have a long history. There is no confirmed origin for the hamburger, but one of several competing claims to the invention of the burger comes from Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, who is said to have created the burger in 1880.
Austin and San Antonio have claimed to be the birthplace of this favorite dish. What is it?
Breakfast tacos are the morning evolution of the regular taco most people know but filled with breakfast ingredients like egg, bacon, potatoes and so on. They may have first been sold in Corpus Christi in the 1950s but it's believed the actual term "breakfast taco" was born in Austin.
Which sweet dish is a must-have in the Lone Star State?
The pecan is the official state tree of Texas and pecan pie, though prevalent in many southern states, has a home in Texas. In fact, archaeological evidence shows that pecans have been harvested in Texas by natives for around 8,000 years.
There's a machine to make which of these treats in the Smithsonian?
The frozen margarita was invented in Texas, specifically at Mariano's Mexican Cuisine in Dallas. The first machine they used to make one was donated to the Smithsonian so future generations could appreciate this fun, summer drink.
Do you know which fast-food chain is based in San Antonio?
When it comes to fast-food burgers in Texas, the crown goes to Whataburger, the chain that opened in 1950. There are a couple hundred locations outside Texas, mostly in New Mexico and other Southern states, but there are 670 of them in Texas.
Steak is popular all over but mesquite-grilled steak was perfected in Texas thanks to the incredible abundance of mesquite wood in the state. Around 25% of the grasslands in Texas are covered in mesquite.
San Marcos is the home of Texas State University and what they call the "World Famous" Manske roll, which is a big, sticky kind of cinnamon bun. Gil's Broiler has been making and selling them since back in the 1940s.
Many regions have BBQ specialities, but which one is almost exclusively Texan?
Brisket is a Texas BBQ icon because a proper brisket is not a simple thing to make by any means, Many recipes take low and slow to extremes and will require it to cook for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours, maybe even longer.
Most restaurants served these sizzling hot on skillets.
Fajitas, using that name and being made with strips of meat cooked over a fire, can be traced back to South and West Texas in the 1930s. The first commercial fajita stand dates back to 1969 in the town of Kyle, Texas.
If you like fair food, you must have had which of these?
Though not a Texas invention, funnel cake has been a staple of the Texas State Fair for ages now and it has been adopted all across the state. Funnel Cake Paradise in Dallas serves over 200 different flavors of funnel cake for the discerning fan.
Can you pick out the iconic Texas dessert item from this list?
Key lime pie
Cobbler is a favorite dessert across the state of Texas, though there is some debate about the "best" kind.' Some places make peach cobbler while others feel that's more of a Georgia dish and instead focus on blueberry as the main ingredient.
Frito pie was likely not invented in Texas, but the first recipe that specifically used Fritos was published in Texas in 1949. One variation of the recipe involves essentially just opening a bag of Fritos, dumping in some chili and cheese and eating it from the bag.
Do you know which of these dishes is a favorite for using ingredients before they go stale?
Tortilla soup was invented in Mexico and found a home in Tex-Mex cuisine from there. It's usually a tomato and onion broth with some garlic and chiles to flavor it plus strips of tortilla added and maybe some avocado and sour cream.
You need cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup to properly make which of these?
King Ranch casserole
King Ranch casserole is a lot like a Tex-Mex version of lasagna that uses tortillas instead of noodles, chicken, and the sauce is based on canned soup and tomato rather than a traditional tomato sauce like you'd find in lasagna.
Fried okra is a popular way to serve up the vegetable across the state in both restaurants and home cooking. Ideally, you want it coated in seasoned corn meal so that when the fry is done it really has a strong, crunchy coating on it.
This fair food staple was created by German immigrants in Texas. What is it?
Word is that the corn dog was invented when German immigrants in Texas realized the locals at the time really didn't care for sausage and refused to eat it as it was prepared. The corn dog made it more palatable to the locals and a legend was born.
Served with tortilla chips, Texas caviar is a picked salad made with black-eyed peas, corn, avocado, mango, red onion, cilantro or other similar ingredients, but the peas are the central part. It was invented in Texas back in the 1940s.
Do you know this item that's basically a deep-fried burrito?
Rumor has it that chimichangas were invented in Arizona when a restaurant worker dropped a burrito in the fryer by accident. They spread from there and became a prominent part of Tex-Mex cuisine. They also have a weird pop culture presence as the favorite food of Deadpool.
Pecan pralines are made using the state nut, pecans, and placing them in a pot with sugar, butter and cream until it forms a caramel sauce. The pralines are placed on a rack to dry and you get what is basically a caramel covered nut when you're done. Pralines are famous in New Orleans, but Texas pecans are prized for making them.
This food dates back hundreds of years, what is it?
Cornbread was perfected by Native Americans long before Europeans arrived, but in Texas it's become a tradition to use things like canned creamed corn and jalapenos to add a little bit of Tex-Mex flair to the more traditional recipes.
Some people call which of these a poor man's pecan pie?
Peanut butter pie
Peanut butter pie is made with what is essentially a peanut butter custard filling and a crust made of crushed vanilla wafers and peanut. It's very similar to pecan pie but cheaper, since peanut butter doesn't cost as much as pecans tend to.
A sopapilla is a pretty simple dish that consists of fried dough sweetened with sugar and usually cinnamon. The dish is originally Mexican and has become a staple at many Texan places that offer up Tex-Mex cuisine.
Every bar and restaurant in North America probably serves which of these?
Nachos are not native to Texas and were in fact made by a man in Mexico known by the name "Nacho." That said, they were quickly adopted into Texas and the first known English use of the word nacho is from a Texas cookbook back in 1950.
You can find sheet cakes at nearly any supermarket in North America but it's such a staple of Texas dessert it's actually called "Texas sheet cake" there. The recipe seems to have evolved from German chocolate cake, which was brought over by German immigrants.
European immigrants contributed to which hearty dish?
Texas stew is a hearty but not particularly thick stew usually made with mutton and vegetables. It traces its roots to Czech immigrants who adapted it from traditional, one-pot stews from the Wallachia region.
Which of these is actually the official state dish of Texas?
Chili con carne
The origins of chili can be traced back to Northern Mexico and Southern Texas. San Antonio in particular was crucial in popularizing the dish, particularly when The San Antonio Chili Stand offered it up at the Columbian Expo in Chicago in 1893.
Do you know which of these dishes can be pork or beef?
Ribs are a BBQ staple in several regions, but Texas BBQ ribs are smoked and seasoned simply usually with a rub rather than a sauce. Beef ribs are a Texas specialty that is much less common in other states that tend to use pork.
Taco trucks in Texas made this item famous. What is it?
Topo Chico water
Topo Chico mineral water comes from Mexico where it's sourced from Monterrey. Originally it was only available in Mexico and parts of Texas until Coca-Cola bought the company in 2017 and has spread its reach since then.
Gulf oysters are a favorite not just along the coast in Texas. They're not well-suited to eating raw like some oysters and instead are often sold grilled at oyster bars. A lot of places are actually drive-in bars where you can just dig into a plate in the parking lot.
Which of these is a Tex Mex version of an Italian classic?
Texas lasagna looks like a traditional lasagna from the outside but inside the ingredients are swapped for Tex-Mex staples. The pasta is tortillas, the sauce is more of a chili and things like seasoned beef, chiles, onion and beans are included.