Best Bites at Buc-ee's

Texas Traveler

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my ritual of stopping by mega-convenience store Buc-ee's on my way to visit family in the Hill Country. Because I visit my folks pretty regularly, I stop at Buc-ee's a lot. It's not really a road trip unless I do.

I listed the top 5 things to eat at Buc-ee's, including Beaver Nuggets, fudge and, of course, beef jerky. I thought it was a pretty good representation of the greatest things Buc-ee's has to offer.

But once the article was posted, comments started pouring in.

"I can't believe you didn't include the potato salad!"

"What, no roasted cashews?"

"This isn't even a list without the banana pudding!"

I hear you, folks. There's just too much awesome stuff at Buc-ee's to include it all. But in the spirit of thoroughness, I returned to Buc-ee's and tried out some of your suggestions. Here's the best of the rest.

5. Kolaches

The Buc-ee's bakery makes at least a dozen different kinds of kolaches, both sweet and savory. The jalapeño cheese ones are pretty dynamite (see below for some jalapeño cheese love), but I've got a soft spot for the pecan pie. Buc-ee's claims that its kolaches are some of the biggest around, and though I've seen bigger, they're pretty delish. Part of what makes the sweet kolaches so good is the buttery crumbs sprinkled around the edges that make them almost strudel- or coffee cake-like. The savory ones are plump and round and filled with sausage, ham or bacon. Grab one (or five) of those and a cup of coffee, and you've got yourself the breakfast of champions!

4. Roasted Nuts

Buc-ee's roasts nuts in-house, so not only does the nut/fudge look amazing, it smells amazing, too. There are roasted peanuts (not such a novelty) and roasted almonds (definitely delicious), but the roasted cashews are the star nuts in the Buc-ee's repertoire. Though oft overlooked, cashews are one of my personal favorite nuts, and I think many people would agree that they deserve at least as much credit for being awesome as peanuts. Buc-ee's treats cashews right, roasting them slowly until they're bursting with that warm, buttery cashew flavor. If you're feeling more like something sweet, Buc-ee's also makes honey-roasted cashews covered in sugar and honey. Not quite as fresh tasting as the ones roasted in-house and left under a heat lamp for warmth, but still a fine tribute to the cashew nut.

3. Apple Crumb Pie

Just look at those mini pies full of crumbly goodness! They look and taste homemade. Buc-ee's also makes buttermilk and pecan pies, but the apple ones are clearly the best. I mean, can you see how much crumb topping is on those babies? And beneath that, there are plenty of gooey, cinnamon-y, not-too-sweet apples. The best part is that they come in personal sizes that are just as good as the big ones. Okay, they aren't called "personal pies," but I'm pretty sure those mini ones aren't for sharing. Good luck getting me to fork over half my perfect little country pie. Ha!

2. Loco Cheese Dip

Unless you're a regular at Buc-ee's, you probably walk past all the stuff in jars in favor of fresher offerings that you can eat in the car and don't have to worry about refrigerating later. This, my friends, is a mistake. Buc-ee's puts all sorts of stuff in jars, from cherry cobbler to pickled quail eggs (both of which are also pretty darn good). The best jarred food is Buc-ee's Loco Cheese Dip, though. It's pretty much just queso, but it's also so much more. It's smooth, creamy cheese (or, rather, cheese product, but let's just ignore that fact) dotted with slightly spicy red and green peppers with a mildly smoky flavor. It won't solidify in your fridge or sear off your taste buds with too much spice. In conclusion, no chips are needed. Just grab a spoon.

1. Jalapeño Cheese Bread

The fact that this didn't make it onto the first list is just a gross oversight on my part, because I buy this heavenly bread nearly every time I go to Buc-ee's and end up eating the entire loaf (the mini ones, I swear) before I arrive at my destination. It's not wimpy jalapeño cheese bread; this stuff packs a punch! And unlike some cheese bread that only kind of tastes like cheese, this bread has visible ribbons of orange cheddar swirled throughout it. There are also slices of jalapeño and shredded cheese dotting the tops of the loaves, which get crispy when they're baked. The bread is doughy rather than crusty, which satisfies major baked-good cravings, and it has just a hint of sweetness to counter the spicy jalapeños and salty cheese. In all, it's a perfect loaf of bread. Trust me on this. Just buy five loaves and stick them in the freezer until you have guests over, then reheat them in the oven and tell your guests they're homemade. You can thank me later.