From Tex-Mex to BBQ: A Culinary Tour of Austin’s Most Beloved Dishes and How to Cater Them

From Tex-Mex to BBQ: A Culinary Tour of Austin’s Most Beloved Dishes and How to Cater Them

Posted by Austin's Elite


Austin, Texas, has long been a hotspot for food lovers seeking perse and mouthwatering flavors. With its rich culinary history and unique blend of cultures, the city has become a melting pot of cuisines, including the famous Tex-Mex and Texas BBQ. As a result, Austin’s food scene is brimming with restaurants, food trucks, and eateries that offer an array of dishes that are as perse as the city itself.

When it comes to catering events in Austin, incorporating local flavors into your menu is not just a trend; it’s a must. Serving dishes that showcase the city’s culinary heritage not only adds a touch of authenticity to your event but also allows your guests to experience a true taste of Austin. Moreover, using locally sourced ingredients supports the local economy and promotes sustainability.

In this article, we embark on a culinary tour of Austin’s most beloved dishes, from classic Tex-Mex favorites to smoky BBQ delights. Our aim is to guide you through the process of selecting and catering these iconic dishes, ensuring that your event is both memorable and delicious. So, let’s pe into the world of Austin cuisine and discover how to make your next catered event a true reflection of this vibrant city’s flavor.

Tex-Mex Cuisine: A Delicious Blend of Cultures

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Brief History and Influence of Tex-Mex in Austin

Tex-Mex cuisine has deep roots in Austin, with its origins dating back to the early 1900s when Mexican immigrants brought their culinary traditions to Texas. Over time, these traditional recipes were adapted to local tastes, ingredients, and cooking methods, giving birth to what we now know as Tex-Mex cuisine. This fusion of Mexican and Texan flavors has since become an integral part of Austin’s food culture, with numerous restaurants and food trucks throughout the city specializing in this distinctive and delicious cuisine.

Popular Tex-Mex Dishes

Tex-Mex cuisine is all about bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and satisfying comfort food. Some of the most popular dishes you can find in Austin include:


Arguably the most iconic Tex-Mex dish, tacos come in a variety of styles and flavors. From traditional street tacos with carnitas, barbacoa, or al pastor, to creative concoctions like fried avocado or breakfast tacos, there’s a taco for everyone. Don’t forget to offer a selection of salsas, from mild to fiery, to suit every guest’s preference.


Enchiladas are rolled tortillas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, and covered in a rich sauce. The most popular variations include cheese enchiladas with a chili con carne sauce, chicken enchiladas with a tangy tomatillo sauce, and beef enchiladas with a robust red chili sauce. Top them with a generous sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of sour cream for the ultimate comfort food experience.


Quesadillas are a simple yet satisfying Tex-Mex staple, consisting of a tortilla filled with cheese and grilled until melted and crispy. For added flavor and variety, you can include fillings such as grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables, or seasoned ground beef. Serve with a side of guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo for a crowd-pleasing appetizer or entrée.


Fajitas are a sizzling and interactive Tex-Mex dish that is sure to impress your guests. Typically made with marinated and grilled strips of chicken, beef, or shrimp, fajitas are served with a spread of accompaniments like sautéed bell peppers and onions, warm tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. This allows your guests to customize their own fajita creations, making it a fun and engaging dining experience.

Catering BBQ Dishes: Smoky Flavors and Succulent Meats

Tips for Catering BBQ Dishes

When it comes to catering Texas BBQ, the key to success lies in attention to detail and a commitment to quality. Here are some tips to help you serve up some mouthwatering BBQ dishes that will leave your guests craving more:

Choosing the Right Smoker or Grill

The first step in creating delicious BBQ dishes is selecting the appropriate smoker or grill. Traditional Texas BBQ is known for its low-and-slow cooking method, which involves smoking the meat over wood for hours, resulting in a tender, smoky, and flavorful dish. Investing in a high-quality smoker or grill is essential to achieving that authentic Texas BBQ taste. Depending on the size of your event, you may need to consider renting additional equipment or even hiring a professional pitmaster to ensure the best results.

Offering a Variety of BBQ Sauces

While the smoky flavor of the meat is the star of any Texas BBQ dish, the right sauce can elevate the taste even further. Offer a variety of BBQ sauces for your guests to choose from, ranging from traditional Texas-style sauces, which are often tomato-based and slightly sweet, to tangy vinegar-based sauces, or even a bold mustard-based sauce for a unique twist. Providing a selection allows your guests to customize their BBQ experience to their preferences.

Sides to Complement the BBQ Menu

A well-rounded BBQ menu isn’t complete without a selection of delicious sides. Classic Texas BBQ sides include coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. You can also offer lighter options like a fresh green salad or grilled vegetables to provide balance to the rich and smoky flavors of the BBQ dishes. Don’t forget the quintessential Texas BBQ accompaniments like pickles, onions, and sliced white bread or cornbread to complete the meal. By offering a perse array of sides, you can cater to various tastes and dietary restrictions, ensuring all guests can enjoy the delicious flavors of your BBQ menu.

Fusion and Innovation: The Best of Both Worlds

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The Blending of Tex-Mex and BBQ Flavors

Austin’s culinary scene is known for its innovation and creativity, with chefs and food enthusiasts constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional cuisine. One such example is the fusion of Tex-Mex and BBQ flavors, which brings together the best of both worlds. This marriage of smoky, tender meats and bold, spicy Tex-Mex elements creates unique and unforgettable dishes that are sure to delight your guests.

Unique Dishes that Showcase Austin’s Creativity

Here are some standout fusion dishes that highlight the creative spirit of Austin’s culinary scene:

BBQ Nachos

A fun and flavorful twist on the classic nachos, BBQ nachos feature layers of crispy tortilla chips topped with succulent, smoky pulled pork or chopped brisket, melted cheese, and your choice of BBQ sauce. Add a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of green onions, and some pickled jalapeños for a dish that’s sure to be a hit at your event.

Brisket Tacos

Combine the best of Tex-Mex and BBQ by serving up some mouthwatering brisket tacos. Tender, smoky brisket is nestled inside a warm corn or flour tortilla, then topped with a zesty slaw, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of tangy BBQ sauce or salsa. This fusion of flavors creates a unique and satisfying dish that will have your guests coming back for seconds.

Smoked Queso

Elevate the classic Tex-Mex queso dip by adding a touch of BBQ flair. Smoked queso is made by combining creamy, melted cheese with diced tomatoes, green chilies, and smoky, chopped brisket or sausage. Serve this warm, gooey dip with a side of tortilla chips for an appetizer that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. You can also offer a variety of toppings like jalapeños, sour cream, and fresh cilantro for guests to customize their smoked queso experience.

Presentation and Service

Using Rustic and Texan-Themed Tableware

To truly capture the spirit of Austin, consider using rustic and Texan-themed tableware to serve your dishes. This could include wooden serving platters, cast iron skillets, or even mason jars for drinks. Not only does this add a touch of authenticity to your event, but it also creates a cohesive and visually appealing aesthetic that your guests will appreciate.

Creating Visually Appealing Buffet Stations

A well-designed buffet station can make a big difference in the overall atmosphere of your event. When setting up your buffet, consider using varying heights to create visual interest and make it easier for guests to access the dishes. You can also use decorative elements like colorful tablecloths, fresh flowers, or themed props to tie everything together. Be sure to clearly label each dish and provide serving utensils for a seamless and enjoyable dining experience.

Celebrating Austin’s Culinary Scene through Catering

In this blog post, we explored the rich culinary heritage of Austin, Texas, with a focus on the iconic Tex-Mex and BBQ dishes that define the city’s food scene. We also shared tips for catering these popular dishes, from selecting the right equipment and ingredients to creating visually appealing and interactive food stations. Additionally, we discussed the importance of presentation and service, emphasizing the use of rustic and Texan-themed tableware and the creation of memorable food stations.

Encouragement to Explore Austin’s Culinary Scene through Catering

There’s no better way to celebrate the vibrant culinary scene of Austin than by incorporating its flavors into your catering menu. By embracing the city’s unique fusion of Tex-Mex and BBQ dishes, as well as its innovative spirit, you can create a truly unforgettable dining experience for your guests. We encourage you to explore the vast array of flavors, ingredients, and techniques that Austin has to offer and to incorporate them into your catering menu in creative and exciting ways.

The Impact of Serving Local Dishes on Guest Satisfaction and Memorable Events

Serving local dishes at your catered event not only supports the local economy and promotes sustainability but also leaves a lasting impression on your guests. By showcasing the rich culinary heritage of Austin, you create a memorable experience that will have your guests talking long after the event is over. In doing so, you demonstrate your commitment to quality, creativity, and an authentic Austin dining experience, all of which contribute to increased guest satisfaction and successful events.

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