The Most-Iconic Food From Every State

Every United States territory has become notorious for a particular dish.
Charlie Blacks II November 18th 2019 Lifestyle
Living in a society where food is mass-produced and experimentation with our palettes has allowed us to develop distinct food cultures from state to state. Every United States territory has become notorious for a particular dish. And now, we're here to breakdown the must-try dish from each state in the country. Check out each mouth-watering food specialty from state-to-state below and let us know if we got your home state's dish correct in the comment section.
Food consumption is the connecting factor between all living things on the planet. No matter where we're at, our cultural barriers, language differences, and social climates do not deter many of us from being able to share a meal with one another. One of our innate characteristics as humans is to consume for the nourishment of our bodies.
Regionally, a lot of our eating habits and diets are integrally connected to the environment and cultures we've become accustomed to through our heritages and social engineering. From the rice paddies found throughout Asia to the produce grown throughout the mountains of the Bahamas to the grain produced throughout the mainland Americas, the planet has also us to become fruitful utilizing its natural conditions.
1. Alabama - Chicken & White Barbecue Sauce
When most people think of barbecue sauce, they imagine a thick condiment in a smoky brown hue. However, the state of Alabama has mastered a different kind of barbecue sauce in a creamy, white hue that might be even better than the original. A man by the name of Bob Gibson, founder of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, is accredited for inventing the sauce back in 1925 in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama.
Despite the sauce's creamy white hue and texture, it still holds true to the taste of traditional barbecue sauce containing a tangy-peppery flavor. The mayonnaise-based condiment features a third cup of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, powdered garlic, cayenne pepper, and more. Alabama's infamous white barbecue sauce is traditionally served over smoked chicken or pork to which it compliments both to perfection. If you ever find yourself in the Yellowhammer State you can't afford to miss the opportunity to try some grilled/smoked chicken topped with white barbecue sauce.
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2. Alaska - King Crab
America's 49th state in Alaska isn't known for much. It's a blue-collar state recognized for its rich oil reserves, indigenous Eskimo tribes, proximity to Russia, and one other thing... it's monstrous crab surplus. The cold temperature and climate of the Northern Pacific Ocean have been producing these beauties for hundred of centuries and have been the target of fisheries for years now. The legs of an Alaskan king crab can grow up to nearly six feet long and weigh close to thirty pounds. Crabs this size have become one of the most sought after crustaceans in the world.
Native Alaskans have become experts in preparing king crab from soup-based bisques, rolls, cakes, clusters, and buckets. Personally, we believe there's no better way to enjoy some Alaskan king crab than boiled, seasoned, with a side of butter and opened with a mallet or nutcracker. While the process of accessing the meat might be tedious, it is definitely worth the sweet and savory reward.
3. Arizona - Chimichangas
A lot of southern border states have a lot of thanking to do to our brothers and sisters in Mexico for the influence of our cuisine. While the burrito technically was invented in America, Mexico is to thank for the ideology behind some of our most coveted dishes, one of which includes the accidental invention of the chimichanga. In the mid-1950s, a chef by the name of Monica Flin accidentally dropped a burro (a large burrito) into a sizzling deep fryer. Minutes later, the chef recolonized an already world-renowned dish by creating the chimichanga.
The one thing about the chimichanga that makes it an exceptional dish is that the contents of the wrap can fit the dietary needs of almost anyone. If you're not a fan of red meat, pollo (chicken) should suffice. Like seafood? Why not add shrimp to the mix. Don't eat meat at all, vegetarian chimichangas with beans as a base are just as good. You can't lose when it comes to chimichangas, there are options for everybody.
4. Arkansas - Fried Pickles
It's shocking the number of people that are unaware that the process of making a pickle is nothing more than fermenting a cucumber in a closed vat of vinegar, but that's a conversation for another day. Arkansas is the birthplace to one of the nation's more peculiar snacks of all-time, the fried pickle. Back in 1963, a man named Bernell 'Fatman' Austin invented the fried pickle recipe in his hometown of Atkins, Arkansas. To this very day, the fried pickle is served employing its traditional recipe at the annual Picklefest in Atkins.
Fried pickles are regularly prepared using medium-sized sliced dill pickles, all-purpose flour, eggs, pepper, salt, cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. After properly battering the pickles the frying process is obviously the most significant step in order to not overcook the delectable treat but the eye test should avail removing the product after they've turned a golden brown hue. Served a side dipping sauce of ranch or spicy cajun sauce, you can't go wrong with a fried pickle.
5. California - Avocado Toast
California's naturally sunny climate and fertile soil has allowed the state to become a distributor of a plethora of different types of produce from oranges to strawberries. However, there is one fruit that has risen to the top to reign supreme and become the base for one of California's most trendy and bourgeoisie dishes to hit menus, avocado toast. The open end sandwich has been around since the 1990s but has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade. While wildly simple to construct, it has become somewhat of a status symbol for its aesthetic and health benefits.
There are multiple ways to prepare or enhance avocado toast. The base of the highly-popularized sandwich features toasted bread, mashed avocados with salt and pepper, and citrus juice added for flavor. While other recipes include the likes of tomato, over-easy eggs, feta cheese, pico de gallo, bacon, and more to give the dish an added element of gusto.
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6. Colorado - Lamb Chops
There are very few food items on the planet that are as aesthetically pleasing as well-prepared double-cut lamb chops. It just so happens that the state of Colorado has become a notorious haven for producing some of the most tender and perfectly-butchered lambs in the entire world. This process begins with the treatment and conditions that the animals live in of course. We're not sure if the mountainous climate and cool temperatures of the Rockies help contribute to the taste of these bad boys but we do know one thing, the Centennial State has mastered the lamb chop.
Mountain States Rosen in Greenley, Colorado is responsible for the production of the majority of the state's lamb but its restaurants like Elway's, named after the former Denver Broncos' quarterback, that have mastered the medium-rare delicacy for the masses to enjoy. If you're a meat connoisseur and looking for the best melt-in-your-mouth lamb chop, look no further than the state of Colorado.
7. Connecticut - White Calm Pizza
While the modern-day pizza might have been invented across the pond in the late 18th century in Naples, Italy, it's become an American staple over the past century. And while many pizza practitioners have experimented with a plethora of different toppings and sauces to tantalize the tastebuds of their consumers, none might be as revolutionary as the inventor of the white calm pizza.
In 1925, Frank Pepe of Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana served its very first pizza topped with clams on the historic Wooster Street in New Haven, Connecticut. Ever since then, imitators have been trying to master this specialty pie to no avail like the original that is now nearly a century old. While the ingredients are simplistic consisting of romano cheese, fresh garlic, parsley, clams, and olive oil, nothing beats the New Haven coal-fired brick ovens that toast this charred and chewy pizza pie like its home state.
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8. Delaware - Fries with Vinegar
Over the past decade, chefs have gotten pretty crafty when it comes to dressing french fries. From garlic fries to pizza fries to fries topped with carne asada, we've come a long way from simply salted fried potatoes with a side of ketchup. Yet, the state of Delaware has a concocted a recipe for french fries that has become a must-have treat on the go. The notorious boardwalk hotspot known as Trasher's has been producing hot crispy fries topped with salt and a liberal amount of cider vinegar that tingling the tastebuds of many Delaware-bred patrons and travelers for ninety years.
We're fully aware of the aggressive nature apple cider vinegar might have on some palettes but this is an experience too good to pass up, just moderately apply the vinegar dressing to your likely and expect to be pleasantly surprised. For those of you not willing to make a trip to the United State's smallest territory, this simple snack could be made at home with thick-cut potatoes fried in peanut oil and lightly drizzled with cider vinegar and salt.
9. Florida - Key Lime Pie
Florida is another one of those states like California where the fertile conditions of the land have allowed the state to exploit fruit and vegetable production. Florida is home to some of the best citrus production most likely due to its humid and tropical climate. One of their most regarded fruits, the lime is the base to one of America's favorite pies, key lime pie. The Florida Keys is where this particular treat gets its name and origin story.
While it is wildly simplistic in ingredients, not every key lime pie passes the test of being edible. The meringue base of the pie features fresh lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped egg yolk topped on a crunchy graham cracker crust. The opposing textures, tartness of the limes, and smoothness of the creamy meringue base are a mixture of culinary elements that are nothing short of genius. A little advice, if you're in the hunt of a quality key lime pie, never trust a bright green filling when in search of the authentic Florida pie.
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10. Georgia - Boiled Peanuts
Thanks to American chemist and botanist George Washington Carver, we've found plenty of uses for the peanut, from dynamite to insecticides to axle grease, peanuts have become a necessity in society. However, many southern territories have taken a liking to simply boiling the crop and eating them as is and Georgia has claimed the crown for the now highly-popularized snack. The history of the boiled peanut dates back to the Civil War when Confederate soldiers lacked the necessary food supplies to feed a mass amount of people. So, what's the next best thing to hold over an entire platoon? None other than boiled peanuts of course.
Boiled peanuts take on an entirely different eating experience than the usually roasted peanuts many have become accustomed to. The outer shell becomes soft to the touch and the nut itself takes on the texture of a legume. While traditionally boiled in seasoned water with spices and enjoyed with a soft drink or beer, some hardcore boiled peanut aficionados have gone as far as to boil their peanuts in beer or add peanuts in their Cokes.
11. Hawaii - Shave Ice
Hawaii and the Polynesian culture's influence on food is self-evident. Hawaiin pizza is a thing and eating full meals out of a hollowed-out pineapple has become one of the most Instagrammed food items of all-time. However, Hawaii has mastered one particular food item that is not only delicious but will keep you cool in those sunny and humid Hawaiian temperatures with a dessert known to the locals as 'shave ice.'
Shaved ice isn't your regular snow cone dyed with brightly-colored corn syrup over crushed ice. Shave ice has a consistency that makes the average snow cone texture almost seem barbaric. It's got a fluffy consistency that makes for an unmatched eating experience that is unlike ice cream or snow cones. Shave ice also has an extensive catalog of flavors that you might not ever think to try including pickled mango, Haupia (sweet creamy coconut), POG (passion fruit, orange, and guava), and more. Toppings like custard, azuki beans, and mochi also take shave ice to the next level.
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12. Idaho - Jim Spud Baked Potato
Idaho gets a bad rep for being a flyover state but in reality, the Gem State has provided us with cultural necessities and icons like Napoleon Dynamite, Lou Dobbs, and Sarah Palin as well as one of the most important root vegetables of all-time, the potato. Idaho is one of the top producers of the potato in North America and even has a museum to honor its contributions to the state's economy and culture at the Idaho Potato Museum in the city of Blackfoot.
With the state willing to honor the spud with its very own museum, it's only right that the Canada-bordering state appropriate the vegetable for their most notorious dish, the Jim Spud Baked Potato. The loaded potato is known for its dense toppings of caramelized onions, six ounces of chopped up teriyaki steak scraps, butter, sour cream, and gushing, melty cheddar cheese. Households across America have been composing their very own loaded baked potato recipes, but nothing matches Idaho's original Jim Spud Baked Potato.
13. Illinois - Deep Dish Pizza
The battle for the city with the greatest pizza has been a war waging for decades now. New York's thin-sliced versus Chicago's deep dish. Patrons from both cities claim that their pizza reigns supreme and unbiased critics of both have made arguments for both pies as well. The tug of war for who's got the best is at a standstill, but the entire state of Illinois can agree that deep dish pizza is their state delicacy of choice.
Since deep dish pizza is a heart attack on a plate waiting to happen, many locals only partake in enjoying one a couple of times out of the year. The pie mounded with sweet tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, fresh mozzarella, meat of your choosing, and a thick, buttery crust has become the prized possession for travelers making their way through the state of Illinois. While there is no wrong way to go in regards to toppings, Chicago-natives usually keep it traditional with a hefty addition of sausage.
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14. Indiana - Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
When it comes to culinary ridiculousness, Indiana's most beloved meal takes the cake thus far. The Hoosier State's breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, also known as the BPT, is an eating experience you can't pass up if you happen to be Indiana. The origin of the pork tenderloin sandwich is rumored to have originated at a restaurant called Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana.
The pork cutlet is smashed flat, breaded, and deep-fried into a golden, crispy disk similar to that of schnitzel and served on an extremely undersized bun with traditional dressings of that of a sandwich or hamburger. Now, how one might go about eating something like this is totally up to the diner. You could work your way through the tenderloin with a fork and knife until you are left with a manageably-sized sandwich or you could go the barbarian route, pick that sucker up and go for the gold, the choice is yours. Just remember to pace yourself.
15. Iowa - Sweet Corn
The citizens of Iowa are truly the children of the corn. If you ever find yourself traveling through the Hawkeye State you'll notice for miles and miles the fields of corn stalks being prepared for harvest. Surprisingly, due to this year's cool, wet spring, Iowa had a shortage of corn available for the state's usual summer festivities. With corn being such a surplus in the state, Iowa is known for throwing celebrations for their prized crop. This year, the Des Moines Sweet Corn Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary and the West Point Sweet Corn Festival received a turn out of over 25,000 attendees.
While there is a plethora of different preparation options for sweet corn, nothing beats the traditional way of enjoying one of these bad boys fresh out of a vat of boiling water and buttered to create that perfect balance of sweetness bursting from the ears of corn and salty from the applied melted butter. For more of a crunchy texture, Iowa sweet corn straight off the grill is a better option of preparation.
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16. Kansas - Barbecue Ribs
Let's face it, there is no civil way of eating a rack of ribs, you have to roll up your sleeves and dive in headfirst. Get some barbecue on your cheek? Who cares. Your forehead? It means nothing except that you're an enthusiastic eater. Your hair? You can wash it out later, get to munching. These are the exact experiences for most who've ever gotten the opportunity to indulge in the deliciousness that is Kansas barbecue ribs.
There's been a statewide battle for who has the best barbecue between the states of Kansas, Tennessee, and Texas for decades now and while each state has their arguments and evidence as to who is the pitmaster capital of the nation, Kansas has edged out the competition when it comes to ribs. With specialty rubs, brines, and smoking processes, the end result of fall-off-the-bone ribs can take an entire day to properly prepare. With commitment like that, if you ever get the opportunity to try some of Kansas' famed barbecue ribs, do it.
17. Kentucky - Hot Brown
Sometimes, simplicity and just working with what you have is all that you'll ever need in order to concoct a dish that will become of historical relevance. This exactly what chef Fred Schmidt did while working in the kitchen of Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. With limited resources on hand and a hotel full of dinner-dance party guests working up an appetite, Schmidt improvised by taking a single slice of toast topping it with sliced turkey, dousing it in Mornay sauce, topping the toast with perfectly-sliced Roma tomatoes, toast points and running it under a steaming hot broiler until brought to a slow simmer. That's not all after removing the dish from the broiler adding several slabs of crispy bacon to close out the meal.
This open-faced sandwich has become a staple not only at the Brown Hotel but all throughout the state of Kentucky. The dish, now known as 'The Hot Brown' has become such a spectacle it now garners its very own annual best-of competitions. This dish is easily re-creatable at home and an easy meal to throw into your regular rotation of meals to make throughout the week.
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18. Louisiana - Beignets
Lousiana's culinary history runs deep throughout the state's most rugged depths from the alligator-riddled swamps to the inner-city. From crawfish boils to Po' boy sandwiches, Louisiana has found a way to make something from nothing every single time. However, the state's rich intermingling with their French heritage has allowed them to master one pastry that has broken its way out Louisiana and is now a world-renowned dessert and/or breakfast option. Ladies and gentlemen, the beignet.
The beignet was originally introduced to New Orleans during the 18th century by French colonists and has become a staple ever since. This particular rendition of the beignet is choux pastry consisting of just flour, eggs, butter, and water, ditching a raising agent that provides it with a unique consistency unlike any other pastry on the market. The fluffy deep-fried dough topped with soft powdered sugar is a foodgasm just waiting to happen and with added flavors like strawberry and blackberry jams, it only elevates the delicious pastry's already legendary reputation.
19. Maine - Lobster Roll
We're not exactly sure what it is, it could be the salinity and the temperature of the northern Atlantic Ocean, but somehow that area of the globe just produces some of the most delectable lobsters in the entire world. The quality of the lobsters in the Northeast region of the United States is exactly why Maine is the master at curating the perfect lobster roll.
What makes the Maine lobster roll is the simplistic nature of the seafood sandwich. The perfectly cooked and chilled lobster tossed in light mayo for binding purposes, drizzled with a sparing amount of sea salt, cayenne pepper, chives, and lemon juice and placed in a griddled buttery New England-style hot dog bun accentuates the taste of the lobster without any other elements becoming too overpowering. When it comes to lobster rolls always remember the lobster meat is the star of the show and never trust a lobster roll with lettuce added into the mix.
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20. Maryland - Steamed Crab
Just like Maine, Maryland has a crustacean of their own that is worthy of high praise, the Chesapeake blue crab. This particular crab is native of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to the coasts of Delaware. Unfortunately, due to climate change and the overfishing of the prized shellfish, annual catches have seen a drastic decline in numbers of blue crabs. Conservation efforts have been established in order to replenish the population of the Chesapeake blue crab, hopefully saving them from becoming yet another endangered marine animal.
With that said, that definitely says a lot about how these bad boys taste. The steamed blue crab is known widely for its sweet white meat and Maryland has perfected the cooking process of the meat by lightly steaming the whole crab and dousing it in generous amounts of piquant spice mixes such as Old Bay. These tasty crabs are usually served atop brown butcher paper with no utensils except for a mallet and cracker so, be prepared to get your hands dirty and fight for the prized crab meat.
21. Massachusetts - Clam Chowder
You can go to almost any restaurant in America and find clam chowder as a soup option on a menu. However, no other state in the nation has been able to produce a top-tier chowder like the state of Massachusetts has been able to. While the chowder was originally introduced to the masses in the Northeast province of the United States, the quality of the region's clams have also contributed to the soup's success.
What makes clam chowder so special is the subtleness of the dish. A thick creamy base consisting of fish broth and cream provides the sultry texture of the soup while fresh diced clams, salt pork, and potatoes make up the heavier aspects of the dish. Salt, pepper, onions, and some garnish or parsley add some savory color to the New England classic. Other states have their own versions of clam chowder utilizing tomato broth as a base but nothing beats the creamy, white rendition served with a side of oyster crackers.
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22. Michigan - Pasty
Meat pies have been a part of almost every culinary culture across the world. Some could even argue that the meat pie is the world's number one comfort food. Variations of this filling pastry can be found on every continent from Peru to Jamaica to Iraq to China, societies everywhere have taken this dish and applied their own cultural aspects to the meat pie. This just so happens to include the state of Michigan who received their rendition of the pie, known as the pasty, from the Cornish copper mining immigrants.
Since the introduction of the pasty to the settlers in Michigan from the Cornish, the pastry has added and taken on different elements making the food item specific to the region. The pasty is traditionally known for its ingredients consisting of beef, potato, onions, and rutabagas and can now be found in several different options including garden vegetable mixes for the health-conscious. The pasty is such a Michigan institution now, the state holds an annual festival and parade for the pastry on the Keweenaw Peninsula.
23. Minnesota - Hot Dish
The Minnesota hot dish is another product of a community attempting to make due with the resources that they were provided with. The hot dish came to fruition via budget-minded farm wives that needed a hearty meal that could feed an entire family the fill necessary in order to continue normal work habits. What most city-dwelling folks might consider your average casserole is actually a delicacy to many throughout the Midwest. The Minnesota hot dish has become a staple at large holiday gatherings, church functions, banquets, and your average night in.
For those of you wondering the hot dish consists of a crispy, baked tater tot base covered with cooked ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and mixed vegetables topped by a layer of smoldering cheddar cheese and an additional layer of tater tots. It's an extremely easy dish to recreate and remix to add different elements and flavors to your liking. The hot dish is so popular in Minnesota, the state's congressional delegation holds an annual competition to see who can make the best rendition of the casserole.
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24. Mississippi - Biscuits
The recipe for a quality biscuit is definitely no secret, the internet is riddled with them. However, when it comes to biscuit preparation this is usually the last thing on a cook's mind when preparing an entire meal for guests/family. Many of us, tend to pop a can of premade biscuits open, pop those bad boys in the oven, and call it a day. Not the patrons of Mississippi though. Many Mississippians consider the biscuit just as important as any other food item one chooses to serve. And they may have a point in their devotion to the biscuit as it can make or break an entire meal.
The classic Mississippi biscuit features liberal amounts of buttermilk and butter creating a flaky yet soft melt-in-your-mouth experience that might make you consider ditching your meal altogether and continue reaching for the infamous rolls. Mississippi is considered the biscuit capital of the world and even holds an annual festival known as the Natchez Biscuit Festival that features a cook-off competition, demos, and crowns a Biscuit Queen. The festival curated by Regina Charboneau has been running since 2008 and has seen continual growth since its launch.
25. Missouri - Toasted Ravioli
Ravioli in itself is already delicious, but deep-fried ravioli, better known as toasted ravioli in the state of Missouri has taken the Italian stuffed pasta to the next level making it a foundational appetizer in the Show-Me State. The toasted ravioli craze can be traced back to two St. Louis-based restaurants, Mama Campisi's and Charlie Gitto's, both eateries located in the Italian St. Louis neighborhood known as 'The Hill.' While both establishments might be feuding over who created the savory treat, they both can claim that they started a movement that has now spread not only throughout Missouri but the entire country.
A golden-brown, fried ravioli square stuffed with seasoned meat, spinach, and cheese, topped with dashes of garlic, herbs, and parmesan originano served with a marinara dipping sauce is the traditional way it is served in Missouri. But an upscale, barbecue joint by the name of Salt + Smoke in St. Louis has upped the ante but stuffing their ravioli with burnt ends, fried them to a crisp, and serve them with a side of rich white barbecue sauce.
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26. Montana - Huckleberry Ice Cream
The huckleberry might be the state fruit of Idaho but they have yet to curate a culture around the bitter berry like the state of Montana has. The berry also known as the 'hurtleberry' was originally collected and used by the indigenous people of North America for food and medicinal purposes. This particular fruit can be used to fight infection, treat heart ailments, and pain. Now, the berry is utilized for one of Montana's most famed desserts, huckleberry ice cream.
Huckleberries are known for being a little more tart than their cousin, the blueberry and make for a more unique ice cream experience, unlike any other flavor out on the market. Unfortunately, it's extremely difficult to find huckleberry ice cream outside of the Northwest region of the United States which makes it all the more desirable if you ever get the chance to have a scoop. Local creameries throughout the state have a hard time keeping the ice cream stocked due to its popularity.
27. Nebraska- Tin Roof Sundae
These days the Tin Roof Sundae is taken for granted being that every major ice cream company across the nation has its own version of the notorious ice cream combination. What many people don't know is that the famed combination was invented in a small town with a population of approximately 300 people in Potter, Nebraska in the early 1930s. The original Tin Roof Sundae featured a base of vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge, two scoops of chocolate ice cream, drizzles of warm marshmallow cream, and crushed salted peanuts.
This particular ice cream concoction sounds widely familiar and most likely available at your local creamery, however, Nebraska happens to be the home of the original ice cream sundae. The Tin Roof Sundae forever morphed ice cream allowing servers to experiment with different flavors and textures many had never thought of before and now, ice cream flavors are endless thanks to this blend of sugary and salty ingredients.
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28. Nevada - 3 A.M. Steak & Eggs
The debauchery and nightlife of Nevada has influenced its food culture in one of the most wonderful ways imaginable. By combining breakfast classics with a timeless dinner main course, the 3 A. M. steak and eggs feast has become one of the most popular meals in Nevada. The meal also known as 'steggs' became a mainstay for hotel workers, night owls, and tourists alike due to early morning/late night diners looking for something filling enough to keep them going and to subconsciously keep them aware of the rising sun.
While you might be able to find steak and eggs on the menu of your local diner, Nevada made the meal option relevant across the nation as an originator to the once bizarre combo. These days you might not see anyone order this meal regularly but if you happen to find yourself in Las Vegas, you'll notice the classic steggs are being ordered a mile a minute.
29. New Hampshire - Poutine
While poutine's origins hail from Quebec, Canada in the late 1950s, it found its way to New Hampshire via French-Canadian natives and has been a staple in the Granite State ever since. Originally, poutine was considered a bottomfeeder dish and looked down upon in Canada. These days many Canadian's jokingly claim it as 'Canada's national dish,' which is ironic because New Hampshire has taken the dish for itself as a culinary custom they're proud to represent.
The combination of crunchy french fries, thick brown gravy, and salty cheese curds that make up the basic elements of poutine create an explosion of flavors too good to pass up. As of late, some local culinary experts have been experimenting with different ingredients to create their own unique poutine, but nothing beats the original. Matter of fact, the residents of New Hampshire are so in love with the dish, the state holds an annual festival every fall that brings in thousands of patrons from far and wide to rejoice in the sultry flavors of poutine.
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30. New Jersey - Disco Fries
What poutine is to New Hampshire, disco fries are too New Jersey. Honestly, we can't help but think that New Jersey's french fry dish was highly inspired by their state brothers to the north who both have Canada to thank for the deliciousness of combining gravy and crispy french fries. The only difference between poutine and disco fries is that poutine relies on cheese curds for that extra salty kick while melted mozzarella cheese is the added element of deliciousness for disco fries.
Several establishments throughout the Garden State claim that they are the originators of providing disco fries to the masses but many local residents would give that crown to none other than the notorious Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, New Jersey. Ironically, disco fries existed prior to the days of disco but got its name in the '70s from partygoers crashing diners after a late night of drinking and dancing.
31. New Mexico - Frito Pie
Taking something as simple as corn chips and adding a variety of toppings has turned into the go-to meal for many American families. What many don't know is that the Frito pie originally came to fruition in the state of New Mexico. Texas has argued that they are the true originators of the chip and meat mixture, but the city of Santa Fe's promotion of the filling meal would make you think otherwise.
Hoards of ground beef spiced up with taco seasoning, cumin, garlic, and chili powder, lettuce, cheese, tomato, and onions placed on top of salty, crunchy Frito corn chips is an unorthodox feast that can feed an entire family. The Frito pie has become a tradition made for family gatherings and celebrations alike. It's extremely easy to make, not time-consuming, and extremely hard not to admire. Sorry Texas, New Mexico holds the throne as the best Frito pie makers in the nation.
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32. New York - Buffalo Wings
It's nearly impossible to go to any restaurant across the nation and not see buffalo wings on the menu. Buffalo wings are one the most American food items you can think of next to hamburgers and hot dogs. However, with the tasty bird dipped in a vat of spicy sauce being so readily available everywhere many people forget that buffalo wings were invented in the state of New York despite the city of its birthplace being right in its name.
Buffalo wings were allegedly invented in 1964 by a woman by the name of Teresa Bellissimo at her restaurant in downtown Buffalo, New York when she accidentally drizzled a secret sauce atop of deep-fried chicken wings. The drunken patrons she served the wings to righteously crowned the wings as one of the most delicious things they ever tasted and the rest was history. Now, the hot sauce-based chicken is one of the most popular dishes in all of America.
33. North Carolina - Lexington Style Barbecue
The barbecue wars between the states is no laughing matter, some are willing to get violent in order to prove they're the pitmaster state but none have had in-house barbecue wars like the state of North Carolina. Matter of fact, several laws and legislation have been put in place in regards to the state's barbecue culture. There are two types of barbecue in the state of North Carolina, Eastern-style and Lexington style.
Both styles are pork-based but Lexington style takes the edge over the notorious Eastern style for its tomato-based barbecue sauce that is known for dipping rather than being slathered on the meat directly. The vinegar and tomato-based sauce featuring salt, pepper, chili flakes, and an additional secret spices is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy and has even garnered its very own festival, the Lexington Barbecue Festival. No offense to the fans of North Carolina Eastern-style barbecue, but Lexington style sauce is just more renowned for its deliciousness.
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34. North Dakota - Cheese Buttons
The North Dakota cheese button has quite an extensive history that definitely does not originate in the Peace Garden State. In Polish, this dish is called pierogi, in German, it is known as kase knoephla, the Czech community knows them as vareniki and in Ukrainian, they are called varenyky or pyrohy, but to the North Dakota residents that adopted this now-famous dish, it is known simply as cheese buttons.
Cheese buttons consist of a cottage cheese stuffed dumpling that is traditionally pan-fried or boiled and topped with scallions or caramelized onions and fresh sour cream. The texture and blend of flavors cheese buttons behold is an experience too good to pass up even for the lactose intolerant. Despite, the cheese button being a Euro-centric delicacy, it has become one of the most popular food items across North Dakota and can be found listed on the menus of many restaurants throughout the state.
35. Ohio - Cincinnati Chili
In the city of Cincinnati alone, there are over 250 independent restaurants and 'chili parlors' that serve Cincinnati chili as one of their main courses. For those of you wondering what Cincinnati chili is exactly, it is spaghetti topped with a meat sauce consisting of ground beef, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, allspice, nutmeg and more as well as onions, beans, and lots and lots of cheddar cheese. Some home recipes have been known to add unsweetened dark chocolate to the mix to give it a rather distinct flavor.
Despite its name, Cincinnati chili was originally created by Slavic-Macedonian immigrant restaurateurs from Greece in the 1920s. And now, the chili has found a home in Ohio where it has become a widely popular at-home meal quick and easy to serve large parties and families. This stick to your ribs meat sauce is also commonly found as a topping on hot dogs as well.
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36. Oklahoma - Steak
You can find a quality steak almost anywhere in the United States but there's only one state that has mastered the preparation of the beef cut and its Oklahoma. In the Sooner State, you can find your average patron eating a slab of quality meat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Oklahomans are so passionate about their steak, one of the state's senators has raised a bill to name the rib-eye the 'State Steak of Oklahoma.' With approximately 5.2 million cattle within the borders of Oklahoma, the state has more cattle than people living in the Sonner State (3.9 million residents).
With so many choice cuts and ways to properly cook a steak, Oklahoma restaurants have mastered the process making them the king of the meat slab. The famed Cattleman's Steakhouse has become world-renowned for its prime beef and baked potato meal. Many people claim they prepare a quality steak but many can't match the skill level of your average Oklahoman.
37. Oregon - Marionberry Pie
The marionberry is a cross between the Olallie and Chehalem blackberries exclusively bred at Oregon State University in partnership with the USDA. Since the berry's production started in 1945, the marionberry has become so popular that legislation to make the berry the official state berry is currently in the works. The berry is known for its slight tartness and earthy, yet sweet flavor and since the marionberry doesn't ship well it has become the centerpiece for many Oregon-based delicacies including muffins, ice cream, and jams. But none of those treats can top the marionberry pie.
The easy to grow fruit has become a focal point for pie shops like the Williamette Valley Pie Company in Salem, Oregon who processes approximately twelve million pounds of the berry per year and lets visitors pick their very own marionberry during the summer months of the year. Your average blackberry pie has nothing on Oregon's prized marionberry pie.
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38. Pennsylvania - Philly Cheesesteak
The Philly cheesesteak has become so popular, you can find the notorious sandwich on the menus of tons of restaurants across America. However, nothing beats the original with the best cheesesteak found in its home state of Pennsylvania. Local Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited for the creation of the sandwich in the early 1930s. The two ran a hotdog stand and would occasionally chop up beef with grilled onions and serve it on a roll.
There are several variations of the sandwich but the original sandwich is known for its thinly sliced griddle-cooked beef, grilled onions, topped with cheese wiz served on a hoagie roll. Other versions of the sandwich feature bell peppers, American or provolone cheese, and sweet jalapeno peppers. The local restaurants and their consumers of Philadelphia have been arguing for decades about who has the best Philly cheesesteak but from the outside looking in, their all winners because this sandwich is one of the best to ever be created.
39. Rhode Island - Coffee Milk
While the exact origin story of how coffee milk came to be is not quite clear, credit is given to the Italian immigrants who came to the city of Providence in droves in the late 19th century. Many of their culinary customs were adopted but one stood out and has become the state's official drink of choice, coffee milk. Coffee milk is created by mixing sweetened coffee concentrate also known as coffee syrup, and milk. The coffee syrup is extracted by straining water and sugar through coffee grounds.
This concoction is wildly addictive and is reminiscent of ice cream. The delicious flavor of coffee milk alone is an enjoyable experience but also is beneficial as an effective pick-me-up to start the day. Be cautious of coffee milk created using artificial ingredients, not only is it not as good as the natural rendition it can be costly to your health as well.
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40. South Carolina She-Crab Soup
South Carolina boasts one of the more unique and upscale recipes to make the list in she-crab soup. While this particular dish is also found in states like Georgia and Virginia, South Carolina has mastered the preparation of this rich, savory soup. The creamy pot au feu, similar to a bisque, features a base of heavy cream, fish stock, Atlantic blue crab meat, crab roe (crab eggs), and a dash of dry sherry wine. With crab eggs being one of the defining components of the dish, the soup's 'she-crab' name makes all the sense in the world.
While some might be wary of crab eggs in their soup, the roe provides the necessary saltiness to balance the creaminess of the dish. Many servers of this South Carolina classic also serve she-crab soup with rice, onions, shallots, and additional seasonings to help accentuate the flavors of the crab and thicken the meal out.
41. South Dakota - Lefse
Both North Dakota and South Dakota have implemented the classic Norweigan flatbread dish into their culinary cultures, but South Dakota is taking the crown as its state's go-to dish. With potato crops being prevalent in the region, Norweigan immigrants would make mass amounts of the lefse as a reminder of their home country. The famous flatbread became widely popular with the native South Dakotans and different variations of the flatbread were born throughout the state.
Lefse is made using potatoes as a base, flour, butter, and milk/cream and cooked on a large griddle. Specific tools like large wooden turning sticks and rolling pin with deep grooves are essential to perfecting the bread that is often rolled up and served as is. While lefse is often served during the holiday season, it also is eaten during every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Scandinavian elders have single-handedly provided the state of South Dakota with a dish that is now apart of its own culture.
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42. Tennessee - Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich
With the Popeye's chicken sandwich fiasco that has citizens losing their minds across the nation, local residents of Tennessee have been as cool as a cucumber and reveling in the greatness of their own chicken sandwich. Thanks to the African-American community of Nashville, the hot chicken sandwich has been booming since the 1930s. However, the current spice paste that is commonly applied to the chicken now, dates back to the 1970s.
After being properly soaked in a vat of buttermilk, the chicken is floured and seasoned using cayenne pepper and lard as main ingredients, pan-fried, and served atop a fluffy white bread bun with pickles to add a vinegary kick to the luscious sandwich. The sandwich and chicken have become such a hit, the city of Nashville holds festivals and competitions celebrating the tasty poultry. The chicken's unique red hue and spiciness are unique to the region and could be spotted by your average Tennessee patron from a mile away.
43. Texas - Brisket
The best barbecue battle between the states will continue to wage war for years to come. However, the state of Texas has perfected one particular cut of beef that no other United States territory has, brisket. Since cows don't have collar bones, the muscles, connective tissue, and collagen found in brisket are extremely durable and require a cooking process that could take anywhere from eight to twelve hours to properly prepare.
The history of brisket has been ingrained within the state of Texas before it even became a part of the United States. Supposedly, the Native American population in south Texas popularized the beef cut with early settlers and it has been apart of Texas' food culture ever since. A spice-based dry rub and hours and hours of being cooked over oak and hickory wood chips in an enclosed smoker provides the meat with tenderness and red rings that are just as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious.
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44.Utah - Fry Sauce
While the recipe for fry sauce originally popped up in a New Orleans cookbook published back in 1900, a chef by the name of Don Carlos Edwards popularized the condiment at his Salt Lake City-based restaurant called Don Carlos' Barbecue in the 1950s. For those you wondering what fry sauce is, it is a simple concoction made with two parts mayonnaise and one part ketchup. Some people who dislike the tartiness and sweetness of ketchup may find the subtleness and lightness of fry sauce more enjoyable than the tomato-based sauce that can be found in every restaurant across the country.
While the sauce is typically served with french fries, fry sauce also is known as a condiment used to compliment tostones (fried plantain slices). While fry sauce is widely popular in Utah, it also has many fans in South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and more. Residents in these countries know the dipping sauce as salsa golf rather than fry sauce.
45. Vermont - Apple Pie with Cheddar
With apple pie existing before the United States of America was an even a thought, the phrase 'as American as apple pie' is widely ironic. However, there is no denying that we Americans have definitely perfected the pastry dish's recipe over the past couple of centuries. Traditionally, many of us grew up eating a slice of apple pie accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. That isn't the case for the citizens of Vermont who prefer their pie with a slice of hard cheddar cheese. No, there's nothing wrong with your eyes and you read that right. Apple pie with a side of cheddar cheese.
With the state being known for its apple orchids, many bakers have had the opportunity to experiment with the world-renowned pie and came up with the bizarre combo that is now a Vermont food staple. Some residents who swear by the pie claim that the saltiness of the cheese perfectly balances the sweetness of the pie reminiscent to the combination of chocolate-covered pretzels. We're not exactly sure if that's true or not but if you're daring enough, try it for yourself.
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46. Virginia - Peanut Soup
Virginia's peanut soup has origins that reside in the motherland, Africa. While its history can't be traced back to a specific date, it's African cuisine staple in countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Peanut soup is also extremely popular in east Asian countries like Taiwan. Peanut soup made its way stateside during the colonial era of the state of Virginia. With African slaves still holding onto their heritage, they made the dish popular and mainstay in the United States.
The soup typically features a groundnut or peanut base crushed into a smooth paste with elements of chicken stock, onions, and celery to provide a smoother consistency and burst of flavor that is undeniably exquisite. With Virginia being able to hold on to this soup as a culture dish since the beginning formation of this country, it has to be good. Restaurants like the 1776 Log House Restaurant in downtown Wytheville, Virginia have been stirring up pots of peanut soup for centuries now.
47. Washington - Seafood Chowder
While the Northeast region of the United States is known for its seafood dishes, the Northwest region of the nation is also responsible for providing the masses with quality seafood-based meals. The freezing-cold depths of the Pacific Ocean has been providing the nation with fresh salmon, tuna, and king crab for hundreds of years, and Washington has been reaping the benefits, creating one of a kind seafood dishes that keep patrons begging for more. Which is why seafood chowder will be representing the state of Washington on our list.
In all honesty, it's really hard to mess up a seafood chowder. Basic ingredients like fish stock, cream, butter, onions, potatoes, fennel, leeks, salt, pepper, and other spices make up the supporting cast for the chowder while nearly anything out of the deep blue sea will suffice as a meat source for the soup. From fish to clams to shellfish to even octopus can create a quality seafood chowder too good to pass up.
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48. West Virginia - Pepperoni Rolls
Similar in ingredients like the pasty or sausage roll, the West Virginia pepperoni roll is a cuisine created in the Mountain State. The original pepperoni roll was created by Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro in 1927 who served the tasted meat and bread combo at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, Virginia. Argiro began producing the rolls as a quick and easy lunch option for the coal miners who lived in the community. Since pepperoni rolls don't need to be refrigerated and can be easily consumed, the sandwich became popular amongst the blue-collar working class.
During the baking process, the fats and seasonings of the pepperoni melt into the dough creating a spicy and oily bread that is like none other on the market. To this very day, West Virginia sells tons of these sandwiches at local convenient stores and restaurants. With pepperoni rolls being so easy to make, these sandwiches can easily be recreated at home.
49. Wisconsin - Fried Cheese Curds
There aren't too many things on the face of the planet as good as cheese. From feta to mozzarella to basic cheddar, it's all delicious. However, one state has taken cheese to a new level by breading it and deep-frying it to smithereens. The Wisconsin fried cheese curd is the go-to appetizer and sometimes main course meal in the Badger State. With Wisconsin having over 9,000 dairy farms and producing over 23,000 pounds of milk a year, the residents of the state have gotten quite experimental with their dairy creating a snack that now can be found in tons of restaurants across the country.
Wisconsin also known as America's Dairyland, has perfected the preparation of the fried cheese curd, battering tiny balls of cheese and frying them to protection creating steamy bread pods full of mouth-watering, melty cheese. Traditionally served with a wide array of condiments like ketchup, marinara sauce, or ranch dressing there's no way you can go wrong by ordering up some fried cheese curds.
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50. Wyoming - Fry Bread
While fry bread has historical connections to the states of Arizona and New Mexico, Wyoming has adopted fry bread and the flatbread their own. According to the Navajo Native American tribe, fry bread was invented in 1864 when the United States government provided the indigenous people with flour, salt, sugar, and lard. With few resources and a hungry community on their hands, the Navajo created fry bread to feed their families. Now, the fluffy, flaky bread is part of traditional western and midwestern cuisine.
The flatbread is often pan-fried which creates its flaky and doughy texture and is often eaten during any time of the day. Some renderings fry bread feature toppings such as jam, honey, powdered sugar, pico de gallo, cheese, beef, and more. The highly-popularized Navajo taco uses fry bread as a shell rather than the traditional tortilla. While fry bread does have a painful backstory, it has become an essential food item to the preservation of the history of the indigenous community.

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