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Texas cuisine is the food associated with the U.S. state of Texas. Texas is a large state, and its cuisine is influenced from a wide range of cultural influences, including German, British, Mexican, Native American, and some Italian.
Tex-Mex refers to a style of cooking that combines traditional Mexican cuisine with American tastes and cooking techniques. Tex-Mex cooking differs from traditional Mexican cooking in using meats (like ground beef), melted cheeses, and spices more suited to the American palate. Tex-Mex cuisine has influenced what is often called "Mexican" cuisine in many parts of the U.S. Dishes associated with Tex-Mex cooking include nachos, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, chimichangas, and burritos. Texas caviar is a Tex-Mex black-eyed pea salad invented and commonly served in Texas.
Barbecue in Texas is characterized by certain distinct characteristics which make it different from barbecue in other parts of America. Unlike forms of barbecue which use pork as the primary meat, Texas barbecue depends heavily on beef. Smoked brisket is one of the most common meats used, as is smoked beef sausage. Techniques and flavors associated with Texas barbecue show influences of European immigrants, especially Czech and German, as well as traditional African-American and Native American influences on the cuisine.
Texas barbecue is often served with a side of Texas toast, a thick-sliced white bread.
The earliest claim to the invention of the hamburger was Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas who was claimed to have served it at his restaurant at a time when there were more cows than people in Texas. According to oral histories, in the 1880s, he opened a lunch counter in Athens and served a 'burger' of fried ground beef patties with mustard and Bermuda onion between two slices of bread; with a pickle on the side. The claim is that in 1904, Davis and his wife Ciddy ran a sandwich stand at the St. Louis World's Fair. Historian Frank X. Tolbert, noted that Athen's resident Clint Murchison said his grandfather dated the hamburger to the 1880s with 'Old Dave' a.k.a. Fletcher Davis. A photo of "Old Dave's Hamburger Stand" from the 1904 connection was sent to Tolbert as evidence of the claim. Also the New York Tribune namelessly attributed the innovation of the hamburger to the stand on the pike.
The first culinary evidence of the fajitas with the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname going back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas or arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat wasn't available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.
Texas is known for its own variation of chili con carne which, unlike other chili from other regions, never includes beans. Texas chili is an ingredient in Frito pie, a dish made with the eponymous Fritos corn chip, invented in Texas and produced by Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay corporation. Chicken fried steak is a traditional Texas dish, a variation on schnitzel that came to Texas along with German immigrants. Czech immigrants brought a tradition of kolache-making. The kolache is a fruit or sausage-filled pastry. Southeastern Texas shows strong Cajun and Creole influences in its foods. West Texas cooking is characterized by cowboy influences, such as chuckwagon cooking.
- Tex-Mex foods at Texas State Historical Association
- Texas barbecue at Food Network
- Cuisine of Texas at Allrecipes.com