Everything LOL because have you seen a Buc-ee’s? Have you been to Buc-ee’s and walked around? Have you walked past the hundreds of grills, fryers, and ice freezers containing enough 79-cent bags of ice to build an ice castle inside of an ice castle inside of an ice castle ad infinitum? Have you pulled into the parking lot and driven past the 96 or so fuel pumps feeling like the Sultan of Dubai overground of enormous petroleum reserves. If you’ve ever needed gas, food, or a leg stretch on a central-east Texas road trip you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The selection is almost overwhelming, which is good.Arch Alpin III. Buc-ee’s: The Path to World Domination. Texas Monthly, March 2019
No, Arch, the selection is overwhelming, which is even better for the road-weary among us. Our defenses are down. We’re looking for a quick escape from the driving and our appetites are ravenous after sitting in one sedentary position and moving our arms occasionally for several hours. We’ve also been trying to choke down another handful of banal and dubious podcasts recommended by people in our lives we mostly respect. So we’ve been justifying substantial existential conflict related to that, too. Like, we just need some chocolate or coffee, or maybe a leather concho belt with sterling silver and a old-timey dentist sign made from wood and painted to look weathered and simple that says, “Tooth Extractions $1.25”. Do you have any of that?
You have it all? Who do I give my money to?
The Most Comprehensive Review Of Buc-ee’s Food There Ever Will Be.
Seriously, I wrote the book on Buc-ee’s Food. Of course, no one was asking for it.
Table of Contents
- Tru Sausage W/ Tortilla On A Stick
- Bacon Egg & Cheese Taco
- Buc-ee’s Fudge
- Tru Small Beaver Chips
- Tru Chopped BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich
- Peppered Turkey W/ Cheese & Pretzels
- Hill Country Brand Bohemian Recipe Garlic Beef Jerky
- Buc-ee’s Trail Mix
- Buc-ee’s Nug-ees
- Beaver Nuggets
- Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Croissant
- Cinnamon Roll
- Sausage & Cheese Kolache
- Dried Beef Sausage
- Pecan Pie Kolache
- Banana Pudding
- Boudin Kolache
Tru Sausage W/ Tortilla On A Stick.
Sure there’s some crap in this. Garlic powder (instead of the real thing) and nitrates, but remember, we’re in junk food land. For $2.99, these have plenty of heft to serve as a full meal. The tortilla is decent and the sausage is actually good. It’s not the kind of sausage that’s casing is strangely somehow impenetrable by teeth. You know when you take a bite of sausage and you get a mouthful of sausage but somehow the skin is still hanging together and you end up raking the meat out in a repulsive maneuver that leaves the casing stretched out and translucent? That doesn’t happen with Buc-ee’s Sausage with Tortilla On A Stick.
Eat This If:
- You’re short on change because you and your boys spend all your travel funds on beer, gas for your jacked-up RAM dually, and expensive cigars for the lake.
- Superfluous packaging doesn’t bother you. Why you would need a tortilla AND a stick is a mystery to me.
*Pro Tip: Pull the stick out before you leave the store and use it to skewer and carry extra bags of Beaver Nuggets.
Bacon Egg & Cheese Taco.
First of all, this is not a blog about the simple and unmistakable difference between a taco and a burrito. Getting into that is like getting into the difference between a klobasniky and a kolache and it’s not the kind of witless commentary this blog engages in, or is known for. Leave that to the regional rags that clog up your social media feeds with their self-important and tedious “hot takes”. The Buc-ee’s breakfast taco is actually pretty good. It has some texture problems: waxy tortilla, over-cheesing that’s prone to end up gelatinous or chalky, and soft bacon. However, they nail the eggs and the flavor is perfect. They put more bacon on than all my local burrito joints. For $2.49, it’s another steal.
Skip This If:
- If you’re looking for a taco. You will be sorely disappointed to unwrap this foil because in it will definitely be a yolky-eyed burrito staring back at you. I’m talking a fully wrapped and tucked, pinch-ended 10-inch tortilla.
- You have an aversion to heat and need a mild salsa. You can get a pretty good pulse on the taco-shopping demographic at Buc-ee’s by looking at the salsas. They had about 3 red salsa’s (mild as diced tomatoes) left and about 60 greens (hot). I’d classify the green as safe for the stomach, but on the flaming side of medium.
I’m not big on fudge but I understand truck-stop fudge to be some kind of holy sacrament to the gods of interstate and transcontinental infrastructure so I thought I’d give it a whirl. When I asked for three flavors I didn’t realize they’d come as fist-sized solid bricks. My basket was getting heavy already so I figured, why not? I chose a vanilla pecan (we were in Hill Country), English toffee, and cookies and cream.
Eat This If:
- You’re of a certain age. I’ve never heard a young person talk about fudge. But an old dude, or a wisened older woman, can spit endless fudge knowledge off the top of the dome about every place on every major highway in Texas.
- You’re not put off by this alliterative description of fudge: semi-solid sugar slab. That describes fudge perfectly. I honestly can’t even tell the difference between these flavors because they’re so sweet and even the Oreo brick has lost all it’s crumb-crunch texture in the slab manufacturing process. The only thing capable of cleansing your palate after this will be a 2×4 to the teeth.
Tru Small Beaver Chips.
I’ve spent enough time in Burnet county to know that cow chips are sun-dried manure patties perfectly shaped and airy-crisp; weaponized, they’re ideal for frisbee-ing into the back of your younger brother’s head when he’s not looking. Conversely, I don’t think Beaver Chips are in any way related to nocturnal rodent excrement. What these house-cut and fried taters are: the perfect road food. They’re mostly crispy and hot, despite a few lesser fried slices that serve as a perfect reminder of their freshness. They could use extra flavor, but serve as the perfect crunchy, savory treat for junk-fooders who go for salty.
Skip This If:
- You’re looking to throw something light and poopy, while still relatively safe and non-infective, at someone who didn’t know that was a thing.
*Pro Tip: Get a handful of these and smash ’em into a Buc-ee’s Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Croissant if you want to know what life is about.
Tru Chopped BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich.
I keep expecting some of this food to be bad, but it’s all decent-as in better than a high school cafeteria. This chopped beef sandwich is no different. It’s a nice and serviceable sammy that despite its use of ketchup and liquid smoke, remains tasty and perfectly capable gas station roadway fare. Bless the Alpin family for packaging these with onions and pickles as that’s the only way to eat a bbq sandwich. Bless them for adding plenty of pepper and even getting what appears to be a bark on the brisket they’ll serve at a convenience store where lots of people wouldn’t notice if they had scooped it out of a freezer bag from Costco. The brisket isn’t cooked onsite, so they may do this, but the fact that they’re willing to chop it in front of us should mean something. God bless Buc-ee’s for only taking inconsequential shortcuts (ketchup, liquid smoke, cooking off site) and not participating in any grand-scale half-assery. You’ve denied cheats that bring shame to your fellow statesmen who extol the virtues of Texas BBQ above all else.
Eat This If:
- Your favorite BBQ joint is getting overrun with hipsters and snobs and the lines are so long you don’t even care that much about quality anymore – a.k.a. you’re defeated and basic.
- You don’t like Pastrami Ruebens – apparently that is the sandwich to get at Buc-ee’s… This one, not so much.
- You’re tired of only having three options for sides from a real BBQ joint and you’re looking to spice it up a bit with something wild and crazy like 40 kinds of licorice.
- You just need something fast so you can get the hell out of town to go see your family who may live in a lesser state such as New Mexico, Oklahoma, or even Louisiana.
Peppered Turkey w/ Cheese & Pretzels.
This peppered turkey cup, or redneck charcuterie, maybe the best $7 spent at Buc-ee’s. The turkey is good. The white cheese is a little spicy, the cheddar is medium sharpness and the pretzels in the lid are pain to open and close without spilling or crushing, but they make a perfectly edible tiny tray for the turkey.
Eat this if:
- You want something mostly real. After consuming copious amounts of all this manufactured garbage, you feel like a redneck charcuterie would hit the spot real nice. I’m here to say, it does.
*Pro Tip: Buy some Bravado Spice Pineapple & Habanero or Ghost Pepper & Blueberry hot sauce at Buc-ee’s (they have a real solid hot sauce selection) and mix it into some BBQ sauce for a killer turky dip sauce. White meat was basically invented to be a backdrop to the fruity heat of these sauces.
Hill Country Brand Bohemian Recipe Garlic Beef Jerky.
When I told the Buc-ee’s Nug-ees sample evangelist I got this jerky she told me it was the number one seller. This either truly is their best seller or Buc-ee’s employees are trained to say that about anything you chose as a marketing ploy to up your level of “delightment”. Buc-ee’s is such a well-oiled machine I wouldn’t put the later statement past them. I’m not sure what’s bohemian about this because it really just tastes like a teriyaki style jerky with heavy garlic and pepper. I think they just know that BOHO is having a moment so they went with it. It’s ok, but honestly a little ho-hum. I do prefer the thick, gnarled chunkiness of this versus the cardboard-like meat slates everyone else deals in these days.
Eat This If:
- You wish Jack Link would just stop already.
Buc-ee’s Trail Mix.
This trail mix is like really basic trail mix that you might find at a Sunday potluck church dinner made by the cat lady with the truck driver husband. It’s partly sweet, partly salty. Partly inspired with a few Beaver Nuggets here and there, but mostly passable in every regard. My advice, take that $3.50 and put it all toward more Buc-ee’s Nug-ees.
Eat This If:
- You’re feeling weirdly nostalgic for something with a hand-tied bow that your empty-nester neighbor hands out on the holidays. You know the neighbor, the one who gives ballroom dancing lessons in the garage.
Buc-ee’s Nug-ees are a lot like a junk food classic: Cheetos Puffs or Tom’s Puffed Cheezers. Polish them off with an Orange Crush fountain drink if you want to know how a sad, young me used to junk out as a glazed-eyed youth. These have a bolder taste than Cheetos, somewhat reminiscent of a spicy Texas BBQ sauce. They claim to be baked and offer the cheesy flavor profile of, “mildly sharp cheddar cheese”. I sampled these from a lady who tried very sincerely to direct my attention to the healthfulness of them as indicated at the bottom of the package. Low cholesterol, gluten free, 0 trans fat. Don’t be fooled (wink, wink), these are 100% garbage food. But delicious all the same.
Eat This If:
Beaver Nuggets are delicious. They’re like carmel popcorn with none of the side effects: They don’t get stuck in your teeth. They don’t have any potently concentrated nooks and crannies to accumulate tacky, cloying carmely sugar. They don’t have any tooth breaking kernels lying in wait, concealed to ambush zealous chompers. Warning: these are highly addictive due to their crunchy, light sweetness.
Skip This If:
- You’re worried about eating highly processed junk food. Even the corn in this stuff is probably three or four different manufacturing plants removed from the ears of corn you find and shuck from a field. There is actually probably zero real food in this, so this bag probably knocked about 18 months off my life. Worth it? I don’t know, ask me in 20 years.
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Croissant.
You should judge gas station food off the outcomes from consuming items that can make you sick or kill you, e.g. chicken salad, sushi, or pasta with blowfish dried mullet roe. Not only do I love croissants and croissanwiches, but I also needed to see if this chicken will make us sick. Not only did it not make me sick, it made me pretty dang happy. The chicken salad is chunky and not overly mayo-ed. It’s slightly sweet from the cranberries and there is a nice crunch from time to time from the pecans. The croissant is buttery and light. However, I’m not sure why only half of the croissant is being used, but I’ve never been mad at a bread flap before. I wonder if the breakfast burrito roller also makes the sandwiches and is practicing the empty-end crimp on various mediums. Kinda like how Rocky punches cow carcasses in preparation for the real thing.
Eat This If:
- And only after you have purchased Buc-ee’s Beaver Chips and you’re ready to load a solid handful into this chicken sandwich. Get ready to crunch your face off.
This tasty number has a cream cheese frosting, plenty of cinnamon, and nice buttery flavor. It’s really good. The construction of this thing is damn near flawless. All the rings are the same size; some cinnamon rolls have progressively bigger rings toward the outside making it too doughy as a whole. But this Buc-ee’s cinnamon roll has the perfect amount of dough, cinnamon, and frosting per each and every bite. The Buc-ee’s evangelist who sold me the Buc-ee’s Nug-ees convinced me to buy this because she said she took one home to her family in California, “people are real health-wise people,” and she had intended to share thus splitting it four ways. However she ended up eating all four pieces herself before she got home. I like to imagine she did it in front of them, though. Stabbing each large chunk with a fork, staring back at them. Then once she finished she flips a milk jug lid onto the floor with her thumb and chugs it hard for a few seconds. She slams the jug down, wipes the milk from her face with her forearm and says, “Well welcome to Texas, ninnies,” even though she’s visiting them in California. That’s how it went down in my head.
Eat This If:
- You want to eat the whole thing in one sitting to prove a point to your family who lives outside of Texas that everything really is bigger in Texas and it’s made you a new tougher, more severe version of yourself that anyone would now want to “have you in their corner when SHTF.”
Sausage & Cheese Kolache.
This kolache is actually a klobasnik, but I don’t want to split hairs. It’s actually better than most “kolaches” you can find in Lubbock. The bread is sweet and light. They use a white and yellow cheese mix, maybe Monterrey jack, that works really well here. The biggest surprise is that they actually use a sausage as indicated by the coarse grind of the meat. When you can see pepper, spices, and fat morsels you know you’re not dealing with an emulsified meat product, e.g., a hot dog wiener.
Eat This If:
- You’re looking for breakfast and you don’t mind eating almost a hot dog. Call me bourgeoisie but I’m against it.
- You’re in central and east Texas and you’ve somehow ended up at a gas station looking for Polish baked goods, while also being in a region thick with actual Polish people who have actual non-convenience store bakeries. I feel almost as bad for you as I feel for the ones who are eating the Buc-ee’s chopped beef BBQ sandwich in the middle of Hill Country (me).
Dried Beef Sausage.
Look, I’ll try to hurry, ok? I’m as tired of writing this as you are of reading it. But I think I owe it to you to finish this. Otherwise, you’re going to go into Buc-ee’s next time just as overwhelmed as you ever were and it’s going to be my fault.
Skip This If:
- You could do without a one-dimensional beef sausage. If you do get it, be prepared to pair it with something vinegary or mustardy because it needs some help to get there. It’s mostly boring.
Pecan Pie Kolache.
I love pecans. We spent many summers picking pecans across my grandmother’s farm between Bertram and Burnet so when I saw this I couldn’t say no. Although I should’ve said no because I’m so tired of eating this Buc-ee’s food that I honestly don’t know how I’ll finish this article at this point. If you’re reading this far, I’m really surprised. I’m so exhausted from this food that even my enthusiasm for the tastiness of this buttery, cinnamony, nutty, and puffy, light breaded treat is waning with each additional word typed. This is easily one of the most tasty treats at the Buc-ee’s bakery. I’d bet my Hill Country Heritage on it.
Skip This If:
- You’re like my wife, and strangely ‘meh’ when it comes to pecans.
- Your kolache compass is broken as most Lubbockites is and your true north has you thinking more like a pig-in-a-blanket when you hear ‘kolache’.
This banana pudding is on point. My only two complaints: smaller banana chunks and more wafers.
I’m sorry… I can’t really think of anything else to say about it. (why did I buy so much of this food?)
Yep, that’s all I got.
Eat This If:
You want to.
You know what, I’m done. I can’t even bring myself to try this. I need a freaking salad right now (which Buc-ee’s has, but looked… less than optimal.)