Make BBQ the State Food of Texas

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Texas is the Barbecue Capitol of the World but barbecue is not our official state food. That honor belongs to chili.

It’s time for a change.

The Lone Star State teems with barbecue joints, from the world-famous to neighborhood hangouts. They are urban and they are rural. They are old -- with walls blackened from generations of smoke. And they are new -- outfitted with an army of hulking pits than can feed hundreds. They can be found over the fence, down the alley and in backyards if you follow the white smoke.

According to acclaimed Texas food writer Robb Walsh barbecue has a long history here. The Caddo Indians started cooking meat over open fires 10,000 years ago. Later black slaves cooked to mark the end of harvest or celebrate events like Junteenth. Germans and Czechs came later, bringing their European techniques to Central Texas in the 1830’s.

In the last ten years, a boundless passion for hand-crafted, smoked meats has blessed Texas with a robust barbecue economy. The live oak, mesquite and hickory that feeds the flames comes from Texas. The beef that yields fatty brisket comes from Texas. The tourists, forming lines that curl around the block, travel across Texas in search of great barbecue as if following their favorite football team.

The kingmaker of the 50 best barbecue spots, Texas Monthly, writes that “…we are living in the golden age of Texas barbecue.” And we agree. That is why we call on our state lawmakers to make barbecue our state food, the culinary symbol of where we’ve been and who we are.

This petition is part of a reporting project from Verify, a production of WFAA-TV in Dallas and TEGNA Media. We take real people along on reporting trips so they can ask their own questions and reach their own conclusions.  This time, we're taking a 1,500-mile RV road trip across Texas with a viewer who’s helping us answer this question: Barbecue or chili, what should be the State Food of Texas?  Learn more about this project here.



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