Texas travelers will always drool uncontrollably for the Lone Star state’s food, yet year after year, visiting Texas is an untapped adventure waiting to happen. The American dream trip for many may include California’s sunshine, a New York white Christmas or an Alaskan glacier exploration, but according to Lonely Planet, the famed travel book publisher, the top five American vacation destinations include the Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast, Yosemite National Park, Boston, California’s Central Coast, and the Jersey Shore. No list is topped by Texas, yet the Southern state has four booming cities – Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin, not to mention historical sites such as the Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Valero) and the Apollo Mission Control Center. Even with the attractions offered by Texas, the single best reason to visit this state is the food.
The first food location, with the best food in Texas, has been featured on four TV shows: Best Things I Ever Ate, Man vs. Food, Food Paradise Restaurants and Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich Restaurant. Without further ado, the grub hub is called The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas, and is located 30 minutes southwest of Austin and over an hour northeast of San Antonio. Their Facebook page boasts 56,000 fans and serves over 600,000 clients per year. They are famous for their barbecued brisket, which was first cooked in the restaurant by Thurman Roberts using the same BBQ technique as his grandmother used in the 1800s. The owner today is Scott Roberts, who is working to continue to grow the family business. In fact, they have opened a second location north of Austin in Round Rock. For those who wish to learn more about their history, their BBQ, and their recipes, they have published a book called The Salt Lick Cookbook, A Story of Land, Family, and Love. For those whose mouth is now watering who cannot make the ride to Salt Lick in Driftwood, for only $60, Salt Lick can send their smoked beef brisket that has been smoked for 14 hours. If the Texas travel experience has not wet palettes of all readers with uncontrollable drool for good BBQ, then maybe a traditional big Texan dinner will do the trick.
Another famous Texas eatery and untapped adventure, as seen on Man vs. Food, No Reservations Restaurant, Food Paradise Restaurants and in The Guilt Trip, a movie starring Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan, is called Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, which is located five hours north of Fort Worth. The Big Texan Steak Ranch serves the traditional steak and prime rib as well as food from the grill and local draft beers. What is famous about the Big Texan Steak Ranch is the 72-ounce Steak Challenge. Since 1962, any patron who enters the challenge and eats a 72-ounce (four and a half pounds) of steak, a baked potato, a shrimp cocktail, a salad and a bread roll gets their meal for free. The single rule of the contest is that eaters may not leave the table until the food has been consumed. The Big Texan was established by R.J. “Bob” Lee as a family restaurant, with Lee’s wife and children working in the restaurant once they became of age. The Big Texan was started because he Lee was unable to find a quality steakhouse in Amarillo upon first moving to the city. The location has been modernized, but the original billboards along the highway remain to point visitors to the right location.
If Texas travelers who, after experiencing smoked brisket and 72-ounce steaks, still do not have drool uncontrollably for the food, another famous Texas eatery is Gaido’s, a 102-year-old beachwear spot which features Watkins’ Bisque made of shrimp from Galveston Island. The food in Texas has also created the famous Tex-Mex cuisine, which is a treasure of only Texas and is a combination of Indian and Spanish Cuisine (not necessarily Mexican/American food). There is no consensus about the best Tex-Mex restaurant in Texas because each metropolitan city boasts multiple bests.
Opinion by Olivia Uribe-Mutal
Comments made are the sole opinion of the author
Lonely Planet – Top 10 US travel destinations
Wide Open Country – 10 Austin Country Restaurants You Need to Try
Rachael Ray Magazine – America’s 51 Best Mail-Order Foods
Big Texan Website – Menu & 72 oz. challenge
Dallas Observer – 30 Essential Texas Restaurants to Visit Before You Die
Image Courtesy of Anthony Quintano’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License