Gift guides

Gifts for your favorite Texans

I’m an awful procrastinator when it comes to holiday shopping. I’m lucky if I get it all done by February. This year, however, I’ve resolved to be on time. As I’ve been wending my way across the Internet looking for fun things to send my friends and family, I’ve discovered some wonderful gifts perfect for that homesick Texan on your list. I thought that I’d share them with you.

Unless you smoke it yourself, it’s pretty darn difficult hard to find Texas-style barbecue outside the state. So why not order some from the source? Houston’s Goode Company, which has long shipped its decadent pecan pies, is also now shipping smoked meat, such as brisket and turkeys. There is also Snow’s in Lexington has been judged to be the best barbecue in Texas by Texas Monthly. Unfortunately, it’s only open for a few hours on Saturdays, but they will their award-winning brisket if you can’t make the trip. And if you live in New York, why not consider a Hill Country gift certificate for your favorite Tex-Pat? No meat-eating Texan in New York would refuse the chance to eat their moist brisket and Kreuz hot links.

Texas teething ring:
I have a new nephew named Austin Jack. He may live in Oregon but he’s half Texan by way of his daddy. Even though he’s growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I aim to keep him connected with his heritage. I think that this Texas-shaped teething ring will be a good start.

Jellies and jams:
There are a plethora of Texans selling jellies and jams, but some of my favorites come from Austin-based Confituras. With creative flavors such as cranberry jalapeño, salted caramel pear butter and pear jam with sage and honey, I think that you’ll agree.

Sorghum syrup:
When I wrote about making sorghum pecan cobbler, many of you asked where to find this old-fashioned sweetener. A little research led me to Fain’s Honey (no relation), based in Llano. They also offer cane syrup and a variety of honeys such as jalapeño.

Texas-shaped cake pan:
My grandma sent me my first Texas-shaped pan when I lived in Iowa and it’s a treasure. This pan is a must for any homesick Texan.

Earlier this year, I wanted to make a recipe with asadero, that wonderful tangy Mexican melting cheese. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find in New York City. Enter Lincon Dairy, a family-owned cheese maker based outside of El Paso that produces wonderful cheeses and ships all over the United States. My favorite is the queso jalapeño, a decadent cheese that’s creamy and spicy—perfect for queso flameado!

Fruit cake:
I know, I know, fruit cake gets a bad rap. But have you ever had the fruit cake from Corsicana’s Collin Street Bakery? When I was growing up, on trips from Houston to Dallas we always used to make a stop. It’s a Texan classic!


Beef jerky:
When I visited Texas A&M this summer for Foodways Texas’ inaugural meeting, the first thing I was offered was a couple of slabs of smoky, peppery beef jerky made right on campus. As I gnawed on it, I thought to myself that you just don’t anywhere else beef jerky like its made in Texas. Texas A&M Beef Jerky is a welcome gift, especially for your favorite Aggie. Of course, if you’re inclined to root for another team, fine beef jerky can be found also at Praseks, and Opa’s.

Charitable giving:
Every day, I’m thankful for how fortunate I am and helping others is the best gift that I can give. I always have plenty to eat but there are many who do not. Because of this, I like to make a donation in someone’s name to two of my favorite charities, Share Our Strength and Feeding America, both of which work hard to fight hunger

What Texan gifts do you like to give?

  1. I live in Texas and this is making me hungry. We've been dying to try Snow's!

  2. My parents have emigrated to Arizona, land of citrus fruit…. but they don't have Rio Red grapefruits there, so they will receive a box from Pittman Davis shortly!

  3. Collin Street Bakery is such a classic! Bob is doing amazing things, even if you don't think you'll like fruitcake, you'll like his fruitcake! 🙂

    I love how in the Jamisons' Texas Home Cooking cookbook they give the recipe for fruitcake as the number to Collin Street Bakery!

    Love your gift list. It sure would please this homesick Texan 🙂

  4. I know it sounds prosaic, but when my dad lived in Florida he would beg for care packages of Wolf Brand chili, Stae Fair field peas, and Steen's cane syrup.

  5. I drive by Collin Street's Waco location all the time (I drive between Fort Worth & Austin quite often), but I've never stopped. Apparently I should!

    Also, I'm ashamed to admit that even though I went to A&M, I didn't know about the beef jerky. (Not that I'm surprised the Meat Science classes make it.) They should do a better job of advertising. But thanks so much for sharing the link – stocking stuffers for my husband and brother-in-law!

  6. Man, oh man. Have you ever EATIN at Snow's?? My husband and I decided to drive aaall the way out to Lexington from Houston to try it. We figured, we're from The BBQ capitol of the world, and we haven't tried, "The Best!?" We had to. I'll put it this way: It was the best I've ever paid for. It was worth the trip.

  7. 12 more days til I'm in the Lone Star State and I cannot wait!

    My folks live in Vegas now, but every year we make sure dad has his Collin's Street Fruitcake under the tree.

    And for their anniversary last year, we had a whole bunch of bbq shipped to them from Kruez's. (I think I spelled that right, but I know you know what I'm talking about anyway!)Mom's from Lockhart so she was especially excited.

    Great list – I'm done with most of my shopping but I'm trying to figure out if I can squeeze in one or two more gifts for somebody so I can buy some of them!

  8. Jeannine

    I could eat my weight in the Collin Street Fruit Cake, while others in my family go "yuk" unfortunately, more for me. Another Texas favorite is Mrs Baird's bread. They even have an eStore where they can ship their bread to all but a select number of states.

  9. Anonymous

    The Asadero cheese from Licon Dairy is the best. I agree with you that the Queso Jalapeño is my favorite.

  10. Anonymous

    Be careful who you send grapefruit to! Those who take Lipitor and other statins can't eat it or drink the juice because it makes the drug up to 900 times stronger!

    I have to take it because I love all this good fatty stuff too much to ever quit.

  11. Hiplip–You should make the trip!

    Bonne–What a great gift!

    DessertForTwo–It's the king of fruitcakes!

    JenK–Sounds like a fine care package to me!

    Kristy–I think the Aggie beef jerky is kind of a secret.

    Emma–Good to know!

    Margge–Kruez BBQ is a wonderful gift!

    Jeannine–I had no idea Mrs. Baird's shipped!

    Farmer Jen–Indeed!

    Anon–Isn't it great?

    PM Summer–Terrific idea!

  12. I live in New York also and I miss my Shiner beer and Blue Bell Ice Cream!! Not sure you can ship ice cream to new york unless you pack it in dry ice, but a couple of cases of shiner would be the perfect christmas gift for me 🙂

    Your gift guide is awesome

  13. Hi there,

    My name is Casey and after moving here just shy of two months ago, a dear fellow Texan forwarded me your lovely blog. I couldn't be happier to read it and take note of your innovative recipes. Being a Texan in the City is a paradigm shift, no doubt–but easier to do when you know a platoon of fellow Lone Stars like y'all are with me.

    Incidentally, I wanted to let you know of another, local opportunity to buy sorghum syrup. Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays, the "Wood Homestead" booth run by the Van Gladd family–they sell maple syrup, eggs galore, and behold, sorghum syrup. (There is also myriad maple-inspired goodies).They are located on the Barnes and Noble side of the market.

    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  14. BP–Thanks for letting me know! It's now been fixed.

    Eleanor–Blue Bell does ship but sadly Shiner does not. You can find it sometimes at RUB, however.

    Casey–Excellent news! Thanks for letting us know about the sorghum syrup in NYC!

  15. I live in CS and went to A&M ('01, '04 and '08) and the beef jerky is the best. I have to say that the beef jerky through the Texas Tech meat science department is also pretty tasty.

    I went to HS in Llano and was there over Thanksgiving visiting family. I made the pecan cobbler for our holiday gatherings and it was a hit, however, I was unable to find sorghum syrup here in College Station, but I did have a jar of sorghum molasses (from Fain's)from my in-laws (who also live in Llano) so I used that and it was great. While there, I purchased a jar of the sorghum syrup and I can't wait to try the cobbler again!

  16. My Moms makes cornbread in the Texas pan. We fight over who gets the Panhandle. (But I secretly prefer a piece of Galveston.)

  17. No Christmas morning stocking should be void of a Chick-O-Stick from Atkinson's Candies in Lufkin.

  18. Just wanted to let you know that I tried the link to Lincon Dairy. I think the link is broken. Here's

  19. Ah…I wish you had written this before my husband shopped for me…there's always next year though. As a homesick texan myself I would KILL for some texas jerky…my hubby is always trying to get me to eat the stuff from the gas stations…yuk!! I grew up in Corsicana and even though I ate my fair share of Collin Street cookies I never tried the fruit cake. To the commenter who said Mrs Bairds shipped…THANK YOU!!!!

    They finally brought Blue Bell and Wolf Chili to Lexington, KY so that eased my homesickness a little….

  20. We just moved to South Carolina this year, but this is a great gift for those who grill. We've stuffed jalepenos with shrimp and cheese and wrapped them in bacon. Yum. Fredericksburg peach preserves would be welcomed by this girl right now.
    12 pack of Lonestar for my law school budget husband:) Only in the bottles for the riddles.

  21. I so wanted that Texas shaped pan. My partner is a Texan and that would have been the perfect gift for the family on our next trip back. Looks like they're out of stock, though. Anyone know of another source for that?

  22. Love the Fruit Cake in Corsicana….
    Or at least I once did!

  23. Cheryl–So glad you liked the cobbler! And I didn't know Tech also made jerky–very cool!

    FirePhase–The panhandle is a great piece!

    Clements' Family–Nothing beats peach preserves!

    Dyanna–Oh, no! I'm sorry it came too late for you. Of course, there's always birthdays and anniversaries as well!

    Shanester3500–I found another source and posted the link. Hopefully they stay in stock!

    Anne H–It's good stuff!

    Susan–Thank you for sharing your memories! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  24. I so LOVE all of the TEXAS comments and gift ideas. We will be in Marshall, TX for Christmas spending time with my family! We can't wait!

    I went to BAYLOR and I stopped at the Collin Street Bakery many times on my drive.

    When we were just about to move to Nebraska, we made a trip to Brenham to the Blue Bell Creamery – an amazing TEXAS tradition.

    AND… growing up in EAST TEXAS.. also love those Chick-o-stick and the Peanut Butter Bars made in Lufkin. I miss Caddo Lake in EAST TEXAS – only natural lake in TEXAS -definitely a TEXAS landmark but no way to ship Fried catfish and hushpuppies.

    Have a blessed Christmas! Love sharing my TEXAS memories!


  25. How have none of my Aggie friends told me about this beef jerky you speak of?? : )

    I love stopping at a Robertsons location while driving all around TX – awesome beef jerky as well!

    Also love that cake pan…they sell Texas shaped muffin pans too! Love love love.

  26. I love that teething ring. Just found your site. Can't wait to keep reading.

  27. Hey, Lisa, maybe you can help me out. My mom is on vacation in Texas right now and I asked her to bring me back some regional grocery favorites- things one can easily purchase but are not native or available to my own homestate, Connecticut. I run a food blog that specializes in the unique and interesting, mainly in the snack or packaged food region, and I don't know what to ask her for! (Aside from shipping back some Jack in the Box.) Any ideas? She's in Austin for the week.



  28. Some great gift ideas. I would like to try the fruitcake. My grandmother used to make the most delicious fruitcake. They must be hard to make, because all the "store bought" ones, and even homemade ones, I've had ever since don't even come close. I know that people make a lot of fun of fruitcakes or won't even touch them…but a good one like my grandmother made is like indulging in an edible festive party.

  29. OMGosh! Thanks for the great links! I've already made a purchase from "Little Sapling Toys" and am about to place an order for jam from "Confituras." (Salted Caramel Pear Butter, Pear Jam with Fresh Sage & Honey, Fig and Walnut Conserve, and Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly!)

  30. I love Collin Street Bakery! Most amazing fruitcake ever … can't remember a year when I haven't had one!

  31. I know I am exceptionally late in commenting on this post, but I wanted to add this! While I was home in Texas over Christmas Break, I stopped at that great smoked meats store in Salado right off of I-35 (exit 285 to be exact 😉 ). Anyway, when our whole crew went inside to buy stuff, they gave us brochures, and it turns out they have a pretty extensive online store! I am very excited about this! Now I can get all the pecan pralines and peach pecan amaretto preserves I could want in Baltimore! In person and in the brochure they also had buffalo jerky available (which was delicious!), but I'm not sure that it is listed online yet.

  32. Anonymous

    You can't forget the Texas waffle iron.

    My mother bought us one for Christmas and it makes perfect Texas-shaped yeasted waffles and quesadillas.

  33. Took my displaced Texas family to Hill Country bbq after reading this. What a wonderful time. The brisket was wonderful and the kids were so excited to have Big Red.

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