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When it comes to food, the Lone Star State has plenty to offer. From chicken fried steaks with gravy to chocolate tarts, there’s something for everyone.
Although, there’s one dish that’s universally popular across the entire state. Texas toast is one of the most beloved snacks in the area.
Each slice of bread is about one inch thick with a sturdy crust and a chewy center. That makes for the perfect side dish to sop up any sauces.
On top of that, you can eat the toast on its own, with a bit of butter slathered all over. Not only is this incredibly delicious, but it’s also nutritious to boot.
So, at this point, you may wonder, what is Texas toast? If that’s the case, we can help you answer this question.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the Texas toast. We’ll also unravel the origins of this dish and give you a look at its history.
What Are the Origins of Texas Toast?
Before we break down Texas toast, it’s a good idea to understand where the dish originated. To do that, we have to travel back to the 1940s.
There are a couple of versions of the tale, but they all begin in the same diner.
The story starts in a Texas barbeque restaurant chain called the Pig Stand. It had over 100 branches all over the country.
At the time, the Pig Stand was trying to attract new customers with exciting dishes. So, cooks from every branch tried out new combinations.
That’s when Royce Hailey, a cook in the Beaumont location, decided to order thicker white bread. To his surprise, the heftier slices didn’t fit in the restaurant toaster.
Because of that, the chef had to improvise. He covered both sides of the bread in butter and grilled it up before he served it to customers.
Although, that’s only one version of the story. Another sees Wiley W. W. Cross, a cook at the Denton Pig Stand location, come up with the popular dish.
After the bakery sent the restaurant a batch of extra thick bread, Cross had an idea. While the slices were too large for the toaster, they were perfect for the grill.
They could hold their shape, even after you heat them. So, he decided to butter both sides of the bread and throw it on the grill.
This gave us the dish we know and love today.
No matter which version you consider true, there’s one fact that always stays the same: the dish originated in the heart of Texas.
That’s why it’s named after the Lone Star State.
What Is Texas Toast?
Now that you know where Texas toast originated, we can move on to what it is.
Unfortunately, the Pig Stand had to shut down after it filed for bankruptcy. However, the signature toast dish still lives on all over the state.
Restaurants across Texas serve some version of the toast. Whether it’s a dessert option or a side dish, you should be able to find it on almost every menu in the area.
Texas Toast Characteristics
To help you understand what Texas toast is, let’s take a look at a few of its characteristics. First off, the bread slices are between ¾ -inch to one inch thick.
This is almost twice the size of a regular slice of white bread. Because of that, the toast is much sturdier.
Then, we spread a generous amount of butter on both sides of the bread. After that, it’s time to turn the heat up.
Using a grill or skillet, we gently brown the toast on both sides and it’s ready to serve. That gives the ideal side dish to any meal.
This is because the toast has a neutral palate. You can add a little sugar to make it sweet, or a bit of salt to turn it savory.
The crunchy bread is excellent for soaking up sauces like gravy. Although, you can also use toast as a main ingredient in your meals.
For instance, some people like turning the bread into French toast.
What Makes Texas Toast Unique?
At first glance, you assume that the extra thickness of the toast is what makes the dish special. While it adds a little flare, the star of the show is actually the butter.
To make this a little clearer, let’s talk about how we prepare regular toast. As soon as you wake up, you throw the bread into a toaster for a few minutes.
This will give you a nice, golden brown slice that’s evenly crunchy throughout.
With Texas toast, we add butter to the bread before we toast it. This will create a barrier that’ll trap a lot of moisture in the dish.
So, when you grill it up, only the outside crust will turn crunchy. The center will remain tender and chewy.
Because of that, you get the best of both worlds. The bread will be sturdy and spongy enough to help you sop up soups, stews, and many other dishes.
On top of that, the buttery flavor adds richness to any meal. This should be able to cut through tangy and spicy dishes to give you a balanced flavor profile.
How to Make Texas Toast?
There are countless variations of Texas toast. People from all over the state have come up with their own special twists on the dish.
Although, most experts agree on one fact: you only need toast and butter to make the tasty treat.
This will give you the traditional side dish that we all love.
Yet, there are many ways you can spruce up the meal. If you want your bread to have a little extra punch of flavor, you can add a few ingredients to the butter.
For instance, many home cooks like to mix in a bit of garlic powder. Other than that, you can add all sorts of herbs and spices.
How to Serve Texas Toast?
Because of how versatile Texas toast is, there are countless serving methods. For starters, you can go the traditional route and plate it up as is.
This will give you a side dish that works with almost any meal.
Yet, if you’re looking for something more substantial, you can add cheese on top. That’ll create an elevated version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
This makes for the perfect packed lunch to take to work or school.
That said, you can also turn Texas toast into a sweet treat. All you have to do is sprinkle a little sugar on top before you grill it.
The sugar crystals will caramelize, which results in a deep, complex flavor profile.
What Are Texas Toast Variations?
At this point, you know how versatile Texas toast can be. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most popular variations of the dish that have become their own meal.
French Texas Toast
French toast is one of the world’s most popular breakfasts. It has all the components to get you energized for the day.
So, if you want to supersize the best meal of the day, you can use Texas toast.
Start by grabbing a bowl and cracking a few eggs inside. Then, sprinkle a little vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and milk on top.
Next, add a pinch of salt and your batter is ready to go. Whisk all the ingredients together until you can’t see any more streaks.
After that, dip your toast slices in the mixture and give them a minute to soak up the liquid. Once that’s done, heat up a skillet and add a generous amount of butter.
Finally, fry each side of toast for about four to five minutes. Then, you’re ready to eat.
Baked Texas Toast
If you’re preparing a large batch of Texas toast, a grill will take forever. You’ll need to spend a long while browning each side to perfection.
That’s why many people choose to use an oven. This allows them to toast many white bread slices at once.
Start by laying your toast on a baking sheet. Then, melt a few tablespoons of butter in the microwave until it turns liquid.
That’ll make it easier for the bread to soak up as much butter as possible.
After that, brush the melted butter over both sides of the toast. Next, pop the baking sheet in the oven for about eight minutes.
Lastly, flip over the slices and let the other side brown for an additional two minutes.
Baking Texas toast should lower its glycemic index. So, not only is it scrumptious, but it’s also better for you.
Texas Toast Sloppy Joe
We all love a good, hearty, saucy sloppy Joe. This sandwich combines most of our favorite elements from Texas cooking.
There’s no better companion for this meal than Texas toast. The white bread can absorb most of the sloppy Joe sauce.
Because of that, you get to enjoy a powerful flavor punch. Other than this, it’ll make eating the sandwich much easier.
Since the bread will soak up the sauce, you won’t make a mess every time you take a bite.
Garlic Texas Toast Pizza
If you want a quick meal for lunch, garlic Texas toast pizza may be the way to go. Start off by placing your bread on a baking sheet.
Then, drizzle a little melted butter on top. Next, add a large dollop of marinara sauce and spread it evenly on the slices.
Once that’s done, you can sprinkle any spices and herbs you like on top. That may include oregano, thyme, and even paprika.
After that, finish up your dish with a mound of cheese. Finally, pop the tray in the oven for about 15 minutes and your lunch is ready.
Chocolate Texas Toast Pudding
You can also use Texas toast for desserts. A great example of that is chocolate bread pudding.
All you need for that is a little sugar, a couple of eggs, butter, vanilla, and good-quality chocolate. Start by combining all of these ingredients in a bowl.
Then, tear up your toast slices into bite-sized pieces. Next, dip the bread in the batter and let it sit for a few minutes.
After that, you can bake the treat in the oven for about 40 minutes. When you start to smell chocolate in the air, the dessert is ready to eat.
Can You Put Texas Toast in the Toaster?
Unfortunately, Texas toast is usually too big for normal toasters. However, there are some devices on the market that can accommodate the large size.
So, depending on the dimensions of your toaster, you may be able to use it. Although, this will result in slices that are a bit drier than traditional Texas toast.
Can You Microwave Texas Toast?
If you keep your Texas toast in the freezer, then you can use a microwave to defrost it. Yet, this will reduce the water content in the bread.
Because of that, the final dish may be a little crumbly.
Moving on, it’s not the best idea to leave Texas toast in the microwave for long. Otherwise, you’ll end up with stale slices.
Can Texas Toast Be Used for French Toast?
Texas toast is one of the best bread options for French toast. That’s because the sturdy bread can absorb a lot of batter.
So, you’ll get extra flavor in every bite. Besides that, Texas toast can handle spending quite a while on a skillet.
Can You Air Fry Texas Toast?
An air fryer is an excellent way to prepare a healthier version of Texas toast. Although, you’ll need to start with frozen white bread.
Then, place the slices in the fryer and set the temperature to 350℉. After around five minutes, your toast should be ready to eat.
What is Texas toast? It’s similar to regular toast, but the slices are much bigger. Some can be as large as one inch thick.
Then we cover both sides of the bread in butter and grill it up.
This dish originated in Pig Stand, a restaurant and a drive-through chain. There are a couple of versions of the story, but they both occur in the Lone Star State.
Robert is a native Texan writer for TexasWalkabout, passionate about Texas culture and food, wearing cowboy boots daily. He interviews local pitmasters and chefs, tastes and reviews innovative dishes, and explores hidden gems and iconic landmarks. Graduating magna cum laude in Cyber Security from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Robert excels academically and professionally while also being knowledgeable in Texas history and culture. After living in Texas for over 28 years, he provides first-hand and trustworthy information for all your Texas needs!