Oklahoma is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality. But what about its food culture? From traditional dishes that have been passed down for generations to unique and creative modern cuisine, the food of Oklahoma is not to be missed.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the iconic foods of Oklahoma, from savory barbecue to sweet and salty fried treats. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, this guide will give you a taste of the best dishes this state has to offer.
So join us on a culinary journey as we discover the tastes and flavors that make Oklahoma’s food scene so special. Get ready to learn about the history and culture behind each dish and find out where you can try them for yourself. Let’s dig in!
Read on to find out what delicious dishes you simply have to try during your next trip to Oklahoma!
Oklahoma’s Traditional Cuisine
Oklahoma’s traditional cuisine is rich in flavor and deeply rooted in its history. It’s a fusion of different cultures that have come together to create something truly unique. One of the most popular traditional dishes in Oklahoma is chicken-fried steak, a southern-style comfort food that is breaded and fried, served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Another classic dish is Indian tacos, which are made with fry bread, chili, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes.
Another staple of Oklahoma’s traditional cuisine is pan-fried cornbread. It’s a delicious side dish that pairs well with any meal. The cornbread is cooked on a stovetop in a cast-iron skillet, resulting in a crispy crust and a soft and moist interior. It’s typically served with butter and honey.
Fried okra is another beloved dish in Oklahoma’s cuisine. It’s a simple dish made by coating sliced okra in cornmeal and then frying it until crispy. The result is a crunchy and savory snack that is perfect as an appetizer or side dish. It’s often served with ranch dressing or ketchup for dipping.
Discover the Roots of Oklahoma’s Culinary Heritage
Pioneer Cooking: The cuisine of Oklahoma is a blend of Native American and pioneer cooking. The pioneers relied on simple cooking methods, using cast-iron pots and Dutch ovens to prepare their meals over an open fire.
Native American Influence: Oklahoma is home to 39 federally recognized Native American tribes, and their culinary heritage is an integral part of the state’s food scene. The Native American dishes that are popular in Oklahoma today include fry bread, Indian tacos, and hominy.
Bison Meat: Another food item that has played an important role in Oklahoma’s culinary heritage is bison meat. Bison were once a common sight on the Great Plains, and the meat was an important food source for both Native Americans and pioneers. Today, bison burgers, steaks, and other bison dishes are popular in Oklahoma restaurants.
Oil Boom: During the oil boom of the early 20th century, many people from other states came to Oklahoma to work in the oil fields. This led to an influx of new culinary traditions, such as Tex-Mex and barbecue, that have since become staples of Oklahoma cuisine.
The Dust Bowl: The Dust Bowl of the 1930s forced many Oklahomans to leave their homes and travel to California in search of work. This migration, which was immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” introduced many Oklahomans to new foods and culinary traditions.
Farm-to-Table Movement: In recent years, there has been a growing interest in farm-to-table cuisine in Oklahoma. Many chefs are now using locally sourced ingredients in their dishes, and there is a renewed appreciation for the state’s agricultural heritage.
Discovering the roots of Oklahoma’s culinary heritage is like taking a journey through the state’s rich history. From the pioneer days to the present, the food of Oklahoma reflects the many cultures and traditions that have come together to make the state what it is today. Keep reading to learn more about the iconic foods of Oklahoma!
Mouth-Watering BBQ Delicacies
When it comes to barbecue, few places do it better than Oklahoma. The state is known for its smoky, tender, and juicy meats, slow-cooked to perfection over hickory or mesquite wood. Whether you prefer pork, beef, chicken, or sausage, Oklahoma has something for every BBQ lover.
One of the most iconic BBQ dishes in Oklahoma is the burnt ends, which are made from the crispy ends of a brisket, cooked low and slow to create a tender and juicy meat with a caramelized crust. Another must-try dish is the rib tips, which are meaty and succulent pieces of pork ribs that are cut from the ends of the rib racks.
Oklahoma’s BBQ scene is not limited to just meat. Vegetarians can enjoy smoked portobello mushrooms or cauliflower steaks that have been grilled and flavored with the state’s famous BBQ sauce. And for sides, Oklahoma has a wide range of options, including coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, and corn on the cob.
If you’re a true BBQ enthusiast, be sure to visit one of Oklahoma’s famous BBQ festivals, such as the Bixby BBQ ‘n Blues Festival or the BBQ & Blues Festival in Claremore, where you can sample some of the best BBQ in the state and enjoy live music performances.
Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, Oklahoma’s BBQ scene is not to be missed. So be sure to come hungry and indulge in the state’s finger-licking, lip-smacking, and soul-satisfying BBQ delicacies.
If you’re a fan of barbecue, you can’t miss out on Oklahoma’s slow-smoked ribs. These tender and flavorful ribs are cooked low and slow, allowing the meat to fall off the bone.
Oklahoma’s barbecue scene has been influenced by many cultures, resulting in a variety of delicious styles. From sweet and tangy to spicy and savory, there’s a flavor for everyone.
One of the most popular barbecue joints in Oklahoma is Leo’s BBQ in Oklahoma City. Their slow-smoked ribs are a must-try, and their homemade sauce is the perfect addition to any dish.
When it comes to sides, barbecue in Oklahoma is often served with classic southern sides such as baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing glass of sweet tea!
Whether you’re a local or just passing through, Oklahoma’s slow-smoked ribs are a must-try for any barbecue lover. So grab a napkin and get ready to indulge in some of the best BBQ delicacies you’ve ever tasted.
Hearty Brisket That Will Make Your Taste Buds Sing
If you’re looking for a BBQ experience that will leave you feeling fully satisfied, look no further than Oklahoma’s brisket. The slow-smoked meat is cooked to perfection, with a crispy exterior and a tender, juicy interior that will make your taste buds dance.
The secret to a perfect brisket is in the rub. Oklahoma BBQ chefs often use a blend of spices, including paprika, garlic, and cumin, to give the meat a flavorful crust. And the cooking process is just as important – the brisket is smoked low and slow over hickory wood for hours, allowing the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.
When it comes to serving, some BBQ joints will chop the brisket into bite-sized pieces, while others will slice it thinly against the grain. And don’t forget to try it with some of Oklahoma’s famous BBQ sauce – a tangy and slightly sweet concoction that complements the smoky meat perfectly.
Sweet and Savory Fried Foods
When it comes to fried foods, Oklahomans know how to do it right. From savory to sweet, there’s something for everyone. One of the most popular fried dishes is the chicken-fried steak, which is a tenderized cutlet dipped in batter and fried until crispy. It’s often served with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, making for the ultimate comfort food.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you can’t miss out on trying fried pies. These handheld treats are filled with sweet fruit filling or savory meat, folded into a pocket, and fried until golden brown. You’ll find them at county fairs, roadside stands, and local diners throughout the state.
Another beloved fried dish is the corn dog. This classic fair food features a hot dog on a stick, dipped in cornmeal batter, and fried until crispy. It’s a must-try for any foodie visiting the state.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try fried okra. This southern classic features sliced okra dipped in cornmeal batter and fried until crispy. It’s the perfect side dish for any BBQ meal or a great snack to enjoy on its own.
Finally, no trip to Oklahoma is complete without trying fried catfish. This crispy and savory dish is a staple of southern cuisine, and Oklahomans know how to do it right. Whether you’re enjoying it at a local diner or a roadside shack, you won’t be disappointed.
Get Ready for Some Deep-Fried Okra and Hushpuppies
If you’re a fan of fried foods, you’re in for a treat when visiting Oklahoma. Some of the state’s most beloved dishes involve deep-frying, resulting in a crispy exterior and tender interior that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
One must-try dish is deep-fried okra, a staple in Southern cuisine that has become synonymous with Oklahoma’s food culture. The okra is coated in a seasoned cornmeal mixture and then deep-fried until golden brown and crunchy.
Another fried favorite in Oklahoma is hushpuppies, small balls of cornmeal batter that are deep-fried and often served as a side dish to fish or barbecue. The outside is crispy and crunchy, while the inside is soft and fluffy.
If you’re looking for something sweet, try funnel cakes, a deep-fried pastry that is commonly found at state fairs and carnivals. The dough is poured through a funnel into hot oil, creating a crispy, golden brown cake that is often topped with powdered sugar, fruit, or other sweet toppings.
For a savory option, go for deep-fried chicken, which is marinated in buttermilk and coated in a seasoned flour mixture before being deep-fried to perfection. The result is a crispy, golden brown exterior and juicy, tender meat inside.
Famous Oklahoma-style Chili
When it comes to hearty and filling dishes, chili is an all-time favorite in Oklahoma. This delicious dish has been a staple in the Sooner State for decades, and there are many different variations to try. Some prefer a spicier version, while others like their chili mild and comforting. Either way, this dish is sure to warm you up on a chilly Oklahoma night.
One of the key ingredients in Oklahoma-style chili is beef, which is usually slow-cooked to perfection with spices, beans, and vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Some versions also include other types of meat like pork or even bison for an extra twist.
There are many ways to enjoy Oklahoma-style chili, from topping a baked potato with a ladle of hot chili to serving it over rice or with a side of cornbread. No matter how you like your chili, one thing is for sure: it’s a must-try dish in the Sooner State.
Why Oklahoma-style Chili Is Unlike Any Other
If you’re a chili lover, you know that there are many different types of chili out there. But have you tried Oklahoma-style chili? It’s a unique and delicious spin on the classic dish that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are three reasons why:
- No beans: Unlike many other types of chili, Oklahoma-style chili is made without beans. This allows the rich flavors of the meat and spices to shine through.
- Thick and hearty: Oklahoma-style chili is typically thicker than other chilis, with a heartier texture that’s perfect for topping hot dogs, burgers, and more.
- Spices: Oklahoma-style chili is known for its bold blend of spices, which often includes cumin, chili powder, and paprika, among others. The result is a flavor explosion that will leave your taste buds dancing.
If you’re in Oklahoma, be sure to try a bowl of this famous chili. And if you’re not, why not try making it at home? You won’t be disappointed!
Top Places to Satisfy Your Chili Cravings in Oklahoma
- The Tamale Place: Located in Oklahoma City, this family-owned restaurant serves up some of the best chili in town, along with mouth-watering tamales.
- The Garage Burgers & Beer: With locations throughout the state, The Garage offers a delicious chili that is perfect to pair with their signature burgers and craft beers.
- Johnnie’s Grill: A staple in El Reno since 1946, Johnnie’s serves up classic chili that locals have been raving about for decades.
- The Pink Pistol: Owned by country music star Miranda Lambert, this Tishomingo restaurant offers a unique take on chili with their “Pistol P” recipe.
- Rock Cafe: Located on Route 66 in Stroud, this historic diner serves up a variety of delicious dishes, including their award-winning chili.
- Goldie’s Patio Grill: Known for their famous onion burgers, Goldie’s also serves up a tasty chili that has been a fan favorite for years.
Whether you prefer it mild or spicy, with or without beans, Oklahoma has no shortage of places to satisfy your chili cravings. Be sure to stop by one of these top spots on your next visit to the Sooner State!
How to Cook Oklahoma-style Chili at Home
If you’re a fan of hearty and flavorful chili, you need to try Oklahoma-style chili. This variation is known for its use of tender chunks of beef, cumin, and a blend of spices that give it a rich and smoky flavor. Here’s how you can make it at home:
- 2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef and brown on all sides.
- Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.
- Add the onions and garlic to the pot and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the chili powder and cumin and sauté for an additional minute.
- Return the beef to the pot and add enough water to cover the beef.
- Simmer for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the chili has thickened.
This Oklahoma-style chili is perfect on its own or served over rice. Top it with your favorite toppings, like shredded cheese, sour cream, or chopped onions. Give this recipe a try and you won’t be disappointed!
Unique Native American-inspired Dishes
Native American cuisine is as diverse as the people who make up the indigenous tribes across the Americas. From the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest and beyond, the dishes vary greatly. Here are five unique and delicious Native American-inspired dishes to try:
Frybread – This is a traditional food of many Native American tribes, consisting of a fried dough that can be eaten on its own or used as a base for toppings like beans, cheese, and meat.
Bison Chili – Bison was a staple food for many tribes, and this hearty and flavorful chili is a great way to enjoy it. Made with ground bison, tomatoes, beans, and spices, it’s a satisfying and protein-packed meal.
Frybread Tacos – A twist on the classic taco, this dish uses frybread as the base instead of a traditional tortilla. Top it with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and salsa for a unique and tasty meal.
Three Sisters Stew – This dish gets its name from the three crops that were traditionally grown together by many tribes: corn, beans, and squash. Combined with tomatoes, onions, and spices, this vegetarian stew is both nutritious and delicious.
Salmon Candy – A Pacific Northwest delicacy, this dish involves curing salmon with a mixture of salt and sugar, then smoking it until it becomes candied. The result is a sweet and savory snack that’s perfect for any occasion.
These dishes are just a small sample of the many unique and delicious foods that come from Native American cuisine. Give them a try and experience the rich flavors and cultural significance of these traditional dishes.
Experience the Rich and Flavorful World of Native American Cuisine
If you are looking for a unique and delicious culinary adventure, then look no further than Native American cuisine. This traditional cuisine is rich in history and has been influenced by the different cultures and traditions of the Native American tribes across North America.
Bison, also known as buffalo, is a staple in Native American cuisine. The meat is leaner than beef and has a rich, savory flavor that pairs well with traditional spices and herbs. It is often prepared as a stew or slow-cooked in a pit, and served with fry bread, a delicious and traditional Native American bread made with flour, water, and yeast.
Three Sisters is a classic Native American dish that features a trio of vegetables – corn, beans, and squash. These ingredients are considered sacred in many Native American cultures and are often referred to as the “three sisters”. The dish is versatile and can be served as a side dish or used as a filling for tacos or burritos.
- Frybread Tacos – Fry bread topped with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and salsa.
- Bison Burgers – A healthier and flavorful alternative to beef burgers.
- Wild Rice Soup – A hearty soup made with wild rice, vegetables, and sometimes chicken or bison.
- Salmon – A popular and delicious fish that has been a staple in Native American diets for centuries.
- Indian Tacos – A tasty and filling dish featuring fry bread topped with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
- Pemmican – A high-protein food made from dried meat, fat, and berries. It was a traditional food of many Native American tribes and was often used as a portable food source during long journeys.
Native American cuisine is a wonderful way to experience the rich and flavorful history of North America’s indigenous peoples. With its emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking methods, it is a truly unique and authentic culinary experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some traditional foods in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is known for its unique blend of Native American and cowboy cultures, which is reflected in its traditional dishes. Some popular foods in Oklahoma include chicken fried steak, pecan pie, fried okra, barbecue, and of course, chili.
How did Native American cuisine influence Oklahoma’s food culture?
The Native American tribes that once called Oklahoma home introduced many unique ingredients and cooking methods that continue to influence the state’s cuisine. Some Native American-inspired dishes in Oklahoma include fry bread, Indian tacos, and bison burgers.
What makes Oklahoma-style barbecue unique?
Oklahoma-style barbecue is characterized by its use of hickory wood, which gives the meat a distinct smoky flavor. The state is also known for its unique barbecue sauce, which is typically made with vinegar, ketchup, and spices.
What are some popular regional dishes in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma’s diverse regions each have their own unique culinary specialties. Some popular regional dishes in Oklahoma include chicken and noodles in the northeast, catfish in the southeast, and calf fries (also known as Rocky Mountain oysters) in the southwest.
What are some must-try foods when visiting Oklahoma?
Visitors to Oklahoma should be sure to try some of the state’s signature dishes, such as chicken fried steak, fried okra, and pecan pie. They should also sample some of the state’s unique barbecue and chili, which are known for their bold flavors.
How has Oklahoma’s food culture evolved over time?
Oklahoma’s food culture has evolved over time, influenced by the state’s diverse populations and changing food trends. Today, Oklahoma is home to a vibrant food scene that includes farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, and food trucks serving up a variety of international and fusion cuisines.