THE BEST OF TEXAS
The Best of Texas awards are from my personal account of sampling various cuisines during my vacation to Texas. I was able to choose from a plethora of different places to eat while in Texas but between all the noise on various review sites and the sheer amount of cuisine it was difficult at times to make a decision. I did a lot of research before I went on the trip and of course changed some plans at the last minute, but overall I had a well informed sampling of some of the best that Texas has to offer. I am delighted to say that there were even a few occasions where I had the best I have ever had. Without further ado lets hand out The Best of Texas awards.
BEST OF TEXAS
THE BEST SAUSAGE – Pecan Lodge in Dallas
This honor goes to a BBQ joint that is well known in Texas. I have had my share of BBQ sausage and I would give this award to Pecan Lodge all day, every day. So it is no surprise that this sausage also happens to be ranked as the best I have ever had. It also makes the list of “Don’t leave Texas without trying”.
THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN – Lucy’s in Austin
It was most definitely one of my “must do’s” while in TX. Eat fried chicken. Synonymous with the south you just gotta, right? We went to Lucy’s and ordered a basket of chicken. Fantastic. Crispy, crunchy breading with a fantastic spice blend. I was well pleased with all the southern versions of fried chicken I tried but the best was Lucy’s.
THE BEST CHICKEN AND WAFFLES – The Gumbo Diner in Galveston
OMG! If you are anywhere near the Houston area I will hate you forever if you don’t try this dish. Again. I say. OMG. This was the second best dish I had on my entire trip. The waffle was the most fantastically fluffy, airy and buttery heaven dough you could imagine. The chicken, although not amazing fried chicken, when coupled with the waffle: FIREWORKS. Superbly amazing dish. I would pay to fly this dish into CA. It has effectively ruined me for chicken and waffles. I am even a little upset that I ate it. The world is not right anymore until I get another plate.
THE BEST JERKY – Wildcat Express in Sealy
I really was not expecting to sample the jerky scene but I kind of had to when I saw them in the case at the store. They are thick strips of beef and turkey smoked to a jerky style that I had never had before. I didn’t even know it was possible to smoke meat till it became jerky. I have always used a dehydrator and sucked the moisture out of it. The consistency was a little different. The strips were thick like I said and the middle was more tender and chewy than dry and hard like jerky. Great jerky though, you owe it to yourself to at least try it.
Ok. Truth be told. I did not actually try In-N-Out while on my Texas trip. I had heard for years from all my Texas friends that Whataburger was superior to my CA burger chain of choice. So I had to dip into a Whataburger while I down there. Honestly. They are the same. They are both superior burgers that are called fast food. Its really not fair to even call them fast food. 1. It really isn’t that fast compared to “fast food” 2. Its insulting to group them in with those other stamps of meat. Both In-N-Out and Whataburger clearly stand head and shoulders above traditional fast food burgers. Me being from CA I prefer the taste of what I know but Whataburger, just as good.
THE BEST BRISKET – Franklin BBQ in Austin
I saved the best for last. Because its the end. Its definitive. It can not be questioned, it can not be debated. Aaron Franklin has destroyed the competition not in just “Best of Texas” its simply THE BEST. He is the Steph Curry of BBQ. Redefining the entire landscape. Sorry if you disagree, but if you do, you are completely wrong in every possible way. That is how strongly I feel about the brisket I tried at his place in Austin. Usually the wait in line can set you back 3 or more hours to get some of their goods. The divinity of BBQdom opened the heavenly gates and bestowed on me a mere 45 minute line wait. Once you are up at the counter and watching them carve up the meat its immediately evident that you will never have a more juicy brisket. The counter was covered in rendered fat and meat juices. They don’t slice it till you order and now it just replays in my brain over and over. I looked for the fat cap that usually staples the top and it wasn’t there. Could it be that it had rendered down into the meat? IDK, probably, because the bites of meat were among the top 3 cuts of meat I HAVE EVER HAD. Porterhouse, filet, rib eye, prime rib, all of it, every piece of meat I have ever chewed. A freaking brisket was up there throwing blows at $60 dollar steaks that I have had, and kicking their butts. DO NOT LEAVE TEXAS WITHOUT EATING THIS. It should be the 11th commandment. Thou shalt eat Franklin BBQ’s brisket.
BEST OF TEXAS
PIE – Waller County Line BBQ in Waller
I am giving this one to Waller County Line BBQ a spot that is tucked into a gas station. I had a piece of their blackberry pie and it was TASTY. Buttery crust, robust blackberry flavor and just the right amount of syrup. I didn’t finish my slice for several days and each day it was still very good.
BEIGNET – The Gumbo Diner in Galveston
No surprise to me that the place that made the greatest waffle I have ever had would have another doughy treat that was amazing as well. The beignet is a French pastry that is deep fried. It is shaped like a biscuit but sweet and tastes like a doughnut. Sort of. Its topped with powder sugar as a departure from our glazed doughnuts. The Gumbo Diner doesn’t fry these bad boys up until you place an order. They come to your table HOT. Believe me, its hard to resist sinking your teeth into one of these sugary fluff balls while they sit and cool, but let them cool and then maybe you can stuff a whole beignet into your mouth.
CHURRO – Street vendor El Marcado in San Antonio
Where else do you expect to find authentically great Mexican treats than America’s largest open air Mexican market? The smell of cinnamon and sugar carmelizing atop the hot churro wafts in a 20ft radius around the street vendor. Resist as you might. You’re gonna buy one. Bring cash though.
Next time you find yourself in the great state of Texas or if you are fortunate enough to live near some of the Best of Texas award winners make sure to stop by, grab some grub and let me know what you think of my verdicts. Unless you want to tell me Franklin BBQ does not have the best brisket you have ever eaten. In that case, may you always step on a wet spot after putting on fresh socks.
For tips and tricks that I used to plan this trip and how to make a successful itinerary visit this BLOG