Harvest and Heritage in Lubbock, Texas
Taste West Texas.
Story by Ruksana Hussain
Photos by Ryan Shelburne for Visit Lubbock
The mention of Lubbock usually raises questions on where the city is located; even the fact that it is in the state of Texas typically garners curious looks. It may be overshadowed by many of the bigger, more popular cities in the nation’s second-largest state, but it’s a foodie travel destination worth notice. This southwestern gem has a surprisingly long history of agriculture as well as food and wine to sample.
Food and wine? Yes! Lubbock is located within the Texas High Plains—an eight-million-acre region that produces 80 percent of the Lone Star State’s wine grapes. Though known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, you can also find great Tempranillo and Viognier here. Several major wineries, including Llano Estacado Winery—the largest, best-selling premium winery in Texas—are based near Lubbock. Other wineries include Trilogy Cellars Winery, Pheasant Ridge Winery, McPherson Cellars, and La Diosa Cellars. You can get your hands on some killer blended wines as well as award-winning Chenin Blanc and Syrah. Take your pick from wine tastings and tours in the area—just be sure to save room for some local barbecue.
If you’ve never understood the concept of people traveling long distances to dine at a specific venue, one bite of the brisket at Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue will drive home the point. The venue was featured on the cover of Texas Monthly as one of 2017’s Top 25 BBQ Joints. The smoked meats prepared in custom-built reverse-flow smokers warrant long lines of fans that arrive from across Texas and beyond. Meats are cooked slowly for 12 to 15 hours and only cut/pulled to order so as to not reduce the quality of texture or taste. The mixed variety of Texas oak woods used offers a different flavor from the mesquite or hickory that other traditional barbecue provides. Bite in to savor a balance of just the right amount spicy heat and smoky flavors as the meat falls off the bones. Another local dining spot with its own loyal following is Cagle Steaks & BBQ, a family-owned establishment serving specialty steaks and known for its famous steak rubs of the same name.
To complete your Southwestern experience though, a chuck wagon meal is highly recommended. Prepared and enjoyed outdoors and eaten on tin plates, chuck wagon breakfast offerings typically include eggs and sausage accompanied by biscuits and gravy while lunch brings out meaty steak and potatoes paired with gravy beans and cornbread. A chuck wagon cook-off is part of the annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration held in September by The American Cowboy Culture Association. The event features a horse parade, cowboy poetry, and other art and music related to cowboy culture and the history of the American West. Dig into local heritage and history with a stop at The National Ranching Heritage Center, dedicated to preserving and interpreting America’s ranching history. Take a wagon tour of the 27-acre site, which houses a 19-acre historical park with authentic, restored ranching structures from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. Museum guides tell the story of the harsh conditions under which the first ranchers set shop here, and the important role of the Comanche Native American tribes played in the region.
Similarly, The Bayer Museum of Agriculture, serves as a living memorial to the thousands of farm families who were farming pioneers. Agriculture primarily helped transform Lubbock from a tiny village to a thriving metropolis that led the nation’s cotton production. The museum features interactive exhibits and historical displays including 71 pedal tractors and a cotton ginning exhibit. The first working wind turbine within a U.S. city limit can be found at the American Wind Power Center. Home to more than 170 rare and fully restored windmills spread out on 28 acres of rolling hills, this is the world’s largest windmill museum. The American-style, water-pumping windmills shaped much of the country’s pioneering technology efforts. It is this heritage of ranching and agriculture armed with the progressive local culinary scene that Lubbock puts forth as a newly emerging travel destination.
Plan A Trip
Other local attractions to consider while visiting the area:
- Silent Wings Museum
- Charles Adams Gallery
- Robert Bruno Steel House
- The Buddy Holly Center
- Mackenzie Park
- The Museum of Texas Tech University—features nearly 7 million objects related to the arts, humanities and natural sciences! The Texas Tech Public Art Collection is considered one of the top 10 public art collections in the U.S. While strolling around Lubbuck there’s much art to discover.