So, the top ten ways to know that you are a Texan are thus:
10. It is February, you’re A/C is running. In fact, you’re A/C runs every day, except for 12 minutes in early January.
9. You see a snake. Your first thought is whether it would make a better belt or hatband.
8. The Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival is on your bucket list.
7. You consider RC Cola and Moon Pie haute cuisine
6. You plan your wedding for the one weekend toward the end of October between dove season and whitetail season, because you want the groom to be there too.
5. You have memorized every rule, of every stage of the drought restrictions. You are watering at midnight. You share a beer with your neighbor whilst doing it, because he is also watering his lawn under cloak of darkness.
4. You know how to pronounce: Manchaca (Man-shack), Pedernales (perd-n-Alice), and San Antonio (San Antone).
3. Three words: Friday Night Lights
2. Your waitress asks you what you want to drink. You order a Coke. She asks you “what kind”. You tell her “Dr Pepper”. Neither of you think that’s weird.
1. You eat tacos for breakfast. Every. Single. Day.
Yeah, tacos. Not the crispy, corn shelled tacos that most of you know as tacos.
I think those of you north of the Red River may call these breakfast burritos, but you’d be wrong.
A breakfast taco is any number of breakfast ingredients served up in a big soft, fluffy flour tortilla. Not one of those flavorless discs from a package either. You have to make breakfast tacos on bona fide homemade flour tortillas. If you don’t make them yourself, then at least have the decency to stop by a Mexican restaurant and pick up some of their in-house made tortillas. Preferably they are made by a little old Mexican lady in the back, somebody’s abuelita, who may or not sport a mustache and sideburns. For some reason, the best flour tortillas are made by little old Mexican ladies with excess facial hair.
Or, you can use my recipe, HERE
Anywho, once you have procured the tortilla, you need to figure out which fillings you want to use. For the uninitiated, a typical taqueria will offer some of the following options:
Egg (huevos) only (I think only toddlers and Scandinavians eat this; maybe only the latter
Sausage and egg—this means cooked crumbled breakfast sausage
Country and Egg—this means sliced smoked sausage links, chopped and fried
Bean and Cheese—refried only. Duhhh.
Chorizo and Egg—this refers only to red, Mexican style chorizo, crumbled and fried
Bacon and Egg
Potato (Papas) and Egg
Weenie and Egg—gross. Often misspelled “Winnie”, like Christopher Robin’s stuffed bear.
For Intermediate/Midwesterners/West Coast Denizens and Non-Texan Southern Residents
Picadillo—ground beef cooked with potato (or not), peppers, onion, garlic, spices, etc…It’s what most people serve in a crispy taco shell topped with lettuce for lunch. Recipe HERE
Carne Guisada—beef chunks simmered until tender in a rich gravy; Mexican style beef tips. Easy crock pot recipe HERE
Trash Can—bean, eggs, potato, cheese, bacon or sausage
Machacado—eggs with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and small bits of carne seca (dried beef)
Migas—eggs, tomato, peppers, onions, and crushed corn tortilla chips
For Texans, Andrew Zimmern, and other Culinarily Insane Folks
Barbacoa—the slow cooked and shredded meat taken from a cow’s head. Smoky and unctuous. May or may not include the brains. Frequently offered only on the weekend, and hailed as a hangover remedy. I like barbacoa, as long as it doesn’t contain the brains, which make it excessively greasy.
Lengua-Cow tongue, usually cooked until tender and sliced. I understand that it is good, but I cannot get past the appearance, so understanding is all I will ever do.
Tripas—not the tripe (beef stomach) it sounds like it should be, tripas is actually the cooked small intestine of a cow. The same stuff used to make menudo. I can’t eat either. Something about the digestive system and what it carries and to where. Just. Can’t. Do. It.
Chicharones-the fried fatty skin (pork rinds) of a pig; often fried with eggs. This is good. The same porky goodness of pork belly. Mmmmmm. Pork.
Notes to consider:
Cheese goes on all of it
Remember, these are just SOME of the many choices. Investigate the menus and experiment.
A la Mexicana means the dish will have tomato, onion, and pepper mixed in (as in eggs a la Mexicana)
All will come with some sort of red or green hot sauce.
Like our New Mexican brethren to the West, many of us will eat our tacos “Christmas style”..with some of each.
Be careful of the green sauce. In some taquerias, it will be milder than the red, and made of tomatillos. But in some places, it will be finely ground jalapeños, and little else. You best ask if you are a tenderfoot, lest your face spontaneously combust.
I am including my favorite three breakfast tacos. The first one is a really, REALLY gringa version, so if you are less adventurous, start here.
Gringa Migas Makes about 16 tacos
- 1 pound pork breakfast sausage (such as Owen’s)
- 1 doz eggs, beaten with ½ t salt
- 1 bunch (about 8) green onions, chopped
- 2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until done. Pour off most of the fat, if necessary, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Pour in eggs, and cook, stirring constantly until almost done but still moist. Add in the onions, and cook until eggs are done. Add in chips and cheese, and stir well, until the cheese is melty. Serve on tortillas for tacos, or simply on a plate as a main dish.
Pork in Chili Verde Makes about 16 tacos
This is my favorite taco. Ever. A life changer.
- 3 pounds pork loin (roast or boneless chops), cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups salsa verde, recipe HERE
In a large covered pot over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add meat and salt, and stir to combine. Cook until any liquid has evaporated, and meat has started to brown. Add salsa verde plus one cup water. Stir well, reduce heat to low, put cover on pot and simmer slowly for about an hour. Remove lid, and cook off any excess liquid (remaining sauce should be about as thick as the original salsa).
Serve in hot fresh tortillas.
Brisket Tacos a la Mexicana Makes about 16 tacos
- 3 pounds smoked brisket (leftover, or purchase an already smoked one from the grocery)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1-3 large fresh jalapenos, sliced
- 1 large can Ro-tel tomatoes and green chilies, diced
Cut brisket into thick slices or large cubes. Place all ingredients, plus 2 cups water in a large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for 2 hours. Remove lid, and raise heat to medium. Cook down until liquid is reduced and thick, about 20 minutes. Using two forks or a potato masher, break the brisket up into shreds. Serve on tortillas.