Hearty, tasty, super southern and super bad for you. Nothing quite sticks to your ribs and stays stuck in your happy memories quite like frito pie. No one knows quite for sure where and when the frito pie was born, according to Texas Monthly:

The origins of the dish are unknown. C. E. Doolin may have invented the Frito (in 1932), but not the pie. He in fact eschewed meat and salt and probably would not have touched this concoction with a ten-foot spork. Some give the nod to his mother, Daisy Dean Doolin, a name clearly destined for greatness. A five-and-dime in Santa Fe lays claim to it. And countless sincere souls insist it was dreamed up by their “pawpaw.”

Regardless of it's true origins, Lubbock cuisine and frito pie are no strangers to each other and I am of the opinion that a Lubbock-style frito pie is the best in the world.

Here are my Ten Commandments of the frito pie.

1. Must Use Fritos 

This seems rather obvious, but I've seen folks use a different kind of chip and claim it's a Frito Pie. I have nothing against Doritos or Hot Cheetos or Tortilla Chips topped with the same yummy ingredients as Frito Pie, but that's a walking taco or nachos, not frito pie.

2. Homemade Chili Is a Must

As a kid, my mom always prepared frito pie with canned wolf brand chili, which is traditional baseball park way to make it (especially still in the Fritos bag). However, as an adult, I've realized that frito pie deserves nothing less than real, homemade, Texas-style chili.

3. Shredded Sharp Cheddar Is the ONLY Acceptable Cheese 

I've seen folks use nacho cheese, however, only sharp cheddar cheese can actually "stand-up" to the strong flavor of a Texas chili. The sharpness is imperative, otherwise, you aren't really tasting any cheese at all.

 4. You're Going to Need a Napkin

More like 1,000 napkins. Frito pie is a messy, greasy, magical treat. If you're able to successfully eat a frito pie without getting a little messy you must be a space alien.

Courtesy Bushhog's
Courtesy Bushhog's

5. DO Try Some Fun Toppings

Some folks will argue that a frito pie must have onions. I love onions on a frito pie, and I especially like jalapenos. Bushhog's makes their frito pie topped with fried jalapenos and it's life changing. Barbecue sauce or sour cream are pretty yummy, too. And I always throw on a little hot sauce.

6. Make It Really Lubbock-Style With Brisket

What makes a real Lubbock frito pie special is the inclusion of brisket as a topping. At that point, the frito pie transcends from a simple snack food to a glorious and oh-so-hearty meal.

7. DO Try as Many Different Frito Pies as Possible

Bushhogs, The Shack, Wiley's, J&M and Bigham's all have Frito Pies that I've personally tried the last couple of years, and honestly, they are all my favorite. That isn't to say they are totally alike at all, in fact, I could probably identify between the restaurants by flavor, toppings and presentation. Variety is truly the spice of life and I quite honestly gauge my opinion on a barbecue joint by the quality of their frito pie.

8. Portions the Size of an Actual Pie Are Totally Socially Acceptable

If you can finish a full sized order at The Shack or Wiley's, I am officially impressed. Even though a normal portion will fill any human up for days, there's just something majestic about having enough frito pie to feed a horse.

9. DO Pair With an Ice Cold Beer (or Big Red) 

I'll be perfectly honest with you: I don't care for Big Red, but I know a lot of y'all Texans pair its super sweetness with Frito Pie. As for me, I'll take an ice cold light beer - Pilsner for purists, of course.

Courtesy Bushhogs
Courtesy Bushhogs

10. When Possible, a Spork Is Best

Digging into a frito pie with your hands is a recipe for really messy hands, but neither a fork nor spoon provides quite the correct stabbing/ scooping action required to get a proper mouthful. The humble spork was probably invented specifically for this dish.

Regardless of where you get your Frito Pie, be sure to guard it. Frito pies are always subject to sneaky friends stealing bites.

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