Food in Oklahoma
In a cattle region, meat is eaten with potatoes. That goes without saying.
Oklahoma, located in the heart of the United States, is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences. Boasting a rich history and diverse food scene, Oklahoma is known for its delicious, down-to-earth cuisine that reflects the state's agricultural heritage, Native American roots, and Southern charm. In this article, we will delve into the types of food produced in Oklahoma, the meals people enjoy daily, the state's iconic dishes, and some interesting recipes that are worth trying.
As an agricultural state, Oklahoma produces a wide variety of food products. Cattle and wheat are Oklahoma's most important products. The dairy industry is also notable.
Oklahoma is one of the top wheat-producing states in the US, known for its high-quality hard red winter wheat used for bread and other baked goods. The crop includes Durum wheat.
With vast grazing lands, Oklahoma is a major beef-producing state, contributing to the country's supply of high-quality beef.
Oklahoma's dairy industry produces milk, cheese, and other dairy products for local consumption and export.
The state's poultry industry is a significant contributor to the production of eggs and poultry meat, such as chicken and turkey.
Oklahoma is also a noteworthy producer of pork, with a growing number of hog farms across the state.
Oklahoma's diverse climate allows for the cultivation of various fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, peaches, tomatoes, and corn. Green soybeans are grown to be made into bean sprouts, which are used in salads and many Asian dishes.
Oklahoma food and drink
Oklahomans are notorious for eating few fruits and vegetables. Residents love meat with potatoes. Roast pork is always well received, as are stews. Oklahoma chili, as hot as Mexican chili, has a very long history since street vendors used to sell it on the street. Restaurants and cafeterias where you can eat all you want are highly appreciated in the region.
While individual preferences and schedules may vary, typical meals follow a patern and Oklahomans enjoy three main meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A hearty Oklahoma breakfast often includes eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and hash browns. A lighter alternative could be a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Lunch in Oklahoma may feature a sandwich, burger, or salad, often accompanied by a side of fries or fresh fruit. Local favorites include the fried onion burger and chicken-fried steak.
Dinner is typically the largest meal of the day, featuring a protein such as beef, chicken, or pork, along with sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, or corn. Casseroles and slow-cooked dishes are also popular.
Iconic Oklahoma dishes
Oklahoma's culinary scene boasts several iconic dishes that are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Some of these include:
A classic Southern dish, chicken-fried steak is a tenderized beef cutlet that's breaded, fried, and smothered in creamy white gravy. It is usually served with mashed potatoes and a side of vegetables. The fillet is passed through flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fried with plenty of oil, as chicken is fried; hence its English name.
Originating in the town of El Reno, the fried onion burger consists of a beef patty cooked with thinly sliced onions, which become caramelized and crispy during cooking. The burger is served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and pickles.
A delicious fusion of Native American and Mexican cuisine, Indian tacos feature frybread topped with seasoned ground beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Sour cream and salsa are often served on the side.
Oklahoma barbecue showcases a unique blend of Southern, Texan, and Kansas City influences. Smoked meats like brisket, ribs, and pulled pork are served with a variety of sauces and classic sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad.
There is an official state menu that includes fried okra, cornbread, barbecue pork, pumpkin, biscuits and sausage with gravy, corn porridge, corn, strawberries, breaded steak, pecan pie, and black jack beans.
Oklahoma's beverage scene offers a variety of popular choices that cater to different tastes. Apart from water and soft drinks, whether you're a fan of sweet, iced beverages, enjoy a good craft beer, or are looking for a unique local cocktail, Oklahoma's favorite drinks offer something for everyone.
A beloved Southern classic, sweet tea is often served with a slice of lemon and plenty of ice. It's a refreshing choice, especially during Oklahoma's hot summers.
Oklahmas enjoy cherry limeade, made with tart cherry juice, sweet limeade, and a splash of Sprite or 7Up.. A favorite American beverage, the root beer float is popular in Oklahoma as well. This classic drink is made by adding scoops of vanilla ice cream to a frosty mug of root beer.
The craft beer scene in Oklahoma has been flourishing, with local breweries creating a variety of unique and flavorful beers. Styles range from hop-forward IPAs to rich, malty stouts. Oklahoma's wine industry has been growing, with a number of vineyards producing wines from both native and European grape varieties. Local wineries offer a selection of red, white, and rosé wines to suit various palates.
The Oklahoma rattlesnake is a classic Oklahoman cocktail made with whiskey, amaretto or angostura sour, and Southern Comfort and syrup, topped off with a splash of lemon-lime soda. It's a potent drink that's as bold as its namesake. The lunchbox is another popular Oklahoman cocktail that blends beer and orange juice, with a shot of amaretto dropped in. It's an unusual but surprisingly refreshing combination.
The Sooner State
Capital: Oklahoma City
State bird: Sicssor-tailed flycatcher
State tree: Red bud
State Flower: Mistletoe
Oklahoma-style gumbo, a hearty stew, is a fusion of Southern and Cajun influences, featuring a flavorful mix of chicken, sausage, and vegetables simmered in a rich, spicy broth. Served over steamed rice, it's a perfect dish for a cold day or a family gathering.
The comforting cornbread casserole combines cornbread mix, creamed corn, whole kernel corn, sour cream, and melted butter. Baked until golden and slightly crispy, it's a delicious side dish that pairs well with barbecue or a bowl of chili.
The black-eyed pea salad is a refreshing and healthy option. This salad combines black-eyed peas, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro in a tangy lime vinaigrette. It's a great dish for a picnic or potluck.
A Southern classic, Oklahoma's version of pecan pie features a gooey, sweet filling made from corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla, studded with crunchy pecans. Baked in a flaky pie crust, it's a decadent dessert that's sure to impress.
Sand plum jelly is made from the fruit of the native sand plum. This unique jelly is a sweet and tangy treat that's perfect for spreading on toast, biscuits, or even served as a condiment with meat dishes. Foraging for sand plums and making jelly from them is a cherished Oklahoma tradition.
Food festivals and places to visit
Oklahoma's food scene is a delightful blend of diverse influences and homegrown ingredients. From hearty comfort food to mouthwatering barbecue and unique fusion dishes, the state offers a taste of its rich history and cultural heritage. Whether you're a local or a visitor, exploring the flavors of Oklahoma is sure to be a memorable culinary adventure.
The largest pecan festival is held in Okmulgee. It prides itself on having produced the largest pecan pie, the largest pecan cookie, and the largest pecan brownie.
In Tulsa an Oktoberfest is celebrated that is considered one of the best in the world.
The Stilwell Strawberry Festival, held to promote the strawberries grown in the region, has become a tradition. The parade and rodeo are the main attractions, but there is always good food.
El Reno celebrates Onion Burger Day and prides himself on cooking the biggest onion burger. It has a good number of restaurants where you can order full-size onion burgers.
Oklahoma is the birthplace of Sonic Drive-In, a popular fast-food chain known for its variety of specialty drinks. Favorites include their unique slushes, cherry limeades, and a myriad of soda combinations.