The taste of Texas: The iconic food brands Texans love

Texas state flag stock image. (Pixabay)

In no particular order, here are some of the food brands, restaurant chains and food-related what-have-you that Texans love to love.

Prosit! A big Texas toast to Shiner Beer

Made in Shiner, Texas by the Spoetzl Brewery, the oldest independent brewery in the Lone Star state, Shiner beer is practically the de facto beer of Texas. Like the can says, “Nothing’s finer than a Shiner.” We’re certainly not here to argue.

Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ serves up nostalgia and choice eats statewide

A reminder: Dear reader, we implore you to remember that you are not in fact reading a list of the state’s best barbecue joints. No, you’re perusing a list of the state’s most beloved food brands. And Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ is among them. So what if this statewide barbecue chain doesn’t rival the likes of Franklin Barbecue, The Pit Room or Blood Bros. Barbecue? With decent offerings, large helpings (they give you an entire loaf of bread for goodness sake), a solid sauce that tastes swell on just about anything, and some tasty banana pudding, nary a customer leaves with complaints -- or an empty stomach. Several locations are outfitted with filling stations and country stores, a nod to the chain’s roots. In summary: Rudy’s is the state’s go-to barbecue takeout, the perfect pit stop on a Texas road trip and a great place to fuel up your car and yourself.

Blue Bell: We reckon a Texas icon ne’er tasted so sweet

Do we even need to explain why this one’s on the list? No, we don’t, but we will give it a go anyway. Blue Bell isn’t just a beloved brand, it’s a Texas icon in and of itself. And despite the fact that it’s one of the largest ice cream companies in the country, it’s stuck to its small-town Texas roots in Brenham. It also has a hold on hearts y’all. It tastes like our childhood. And the cherry on top of the sundae that is our undying brand loyalty (excuse the pun but it couldn’t be helped) -- the ice cream is darn good.

The unofficial soft drink of Texas? Yup, you guessed it. It’s Dr Pepper.

If you’re a Texan, you’re born a Dr Pepper fan by default, plain and simple. Sure, through the years we’ve seen our share of dissenters and rabble-rousers (ahem, Pepsi and Coca-Cola fans, we do mean you) but all in all, Dr Pepper remains our sugary, carbonated beverage of choice. It compliments brisket just as well as it accents a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream. It’s a distinctly Texas drink with roots in the state and it’s even got it’s own museum in Waco.

Texans’ cultish love for H-E-B is an unparalleled romance for the ages

For us Texans, “No store does more than my H-E-B” isn’t just a slogan. It’s a mantra each of us holds in our heart of hearts. Our love affair with the chain is a romance outsiders frankly cannot and will not understand. And make no mistake, out-of-staters aren’t to blame. They’ve never nibbled on warm, fresh-made flour tortillas while grocery shopping, feasted on Sushiya San Antonio Rolls in the parking lot just minutes after finishing the aforementioned grocery shopping or snacked on Texas-shaped tortilla chips loaded with store-made guac after returning home. Poor, unfortunate non-residents simply have no mode of comparison. H-E-B is the nation’s favorite grocery store after all.

We’re nuts for Shipley Do-Nuts

Sorry not sorry Krispy Kreme. Here in the Lone Star State, we start our morning hustle on a high note with Shipley’s donuts. They’re the companion to our coffee, the reason some of us get up in the morning, a tried-and-true hangover remedy. And hypothetically, even if there was some sort of tie between Shipley and Krispy Kreme donuts, and we’re not saying there is, Shipley has a tiebreaker on its menu all Texans (even those without a sweet tooth) love and Krispy Kreme just can’t beat: kolaches.

Big Red: The original red cream soda

And now onto another beloved Texas soft drink with roots in Waco: Big Red. It’s caffeinated, carbonated, bright red, tastes kinda like liquid bubble gum (with a hint of cotton candy) and it’s made in the good ol’ Lone Star State.What’s not to love?

Whataburger: A tasty Texas icon

Now we’ve come to another true Texas icon -- Whataburger. Its orange-and-white-stripe A-frames are just about everywhere in Texas, as are its fans. We double-patty dare you to find a Texan who’s not gaga for its honey butter chicken biscuits, spicy ketchup and Texas-sized burgers.

Heck, stealing a Whataburger table tent is practically a rite of passage in these parts.

Sure, the Texas-born brand might’ve changed hands recently, but I don’t see us Texans curbing our Whataburger cravings anytime soon.

Mrs Baird’s: Texas born. Texas bread.

So, Mrs Baird’s bread hasn’t inspired the same frenzied fandom as some of the other big names on this list but the Texas-born brand founded in 1908 has proven staying power. It’s still our go-to in the bread aisle at the grocery store. Who could pass up on a loaf of giant white bread?

Buc-ee’s: the gold-standard for roadside convenience stores

Ok, so we recognize Buc-ees isn’t actually a food brand but we reckon its status as a mecca of junk food and road trip snacks is a significant factor in the convenience chain’s wide-ranging appeal, enough to warrant the chain a place on the list.

Texans, yours truly included, love Buc-ees and we love talkin’ ‘bout how much we love Buc-ees. We’re head-over-cowboy-boot- heels for its seemingly endless rows of gas pumps, cleaner-than-average bathrooms, and bigger-than-believable snack selection. The gold-standard for roadside convenience stores that is Buc-ees is a destination unto itself. Y’all, it serves fresh-made brisket sandwiches, sausage and an array of kolaches (Yes, we know the meat-filled ones are actually klobásníky. Don’t be that person). Name a more Texas convenience store. We’ll wait.

The taste of Texas, well, Texas-shaped food to be exact

To preface this entry, we’ll start by acknowledging that this isn’t a particular product or brand per se but the state’s love of its own outline is a phenomenon that simply can’t go unmentioned here.

There’s almost nothing more Texas than Texas’s love for Texas and when it comes to dining here in the good ol’ Lone Star State, we don’t just value Texas-sized servings, we like our food Texas-shaped too. Pasta, pie, pretzels, tortilla chips, cheese, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and even steak -- Trust us it’s all tastier Texas-shaped. Nothing says state pride (and more on Texas pride to come) quite like consuming food made in the image of your beloved state right?

Honorable mentions

Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Taco Cabana, Luby’s, 7-Eleven, Pace Picante Sauce, Torchy’s Tacos, Pappa’s Restaurants, P. Terry’s, Pluckers Wing Bar, Hopdoddy, Jason’s Deli, Chili’s, Lone Star Beer, Stripes, Imperial Sugar


What would you add to this list? What would you take off this list? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.