SXSW Inspired Food


SXSW (affectionately known as South By) is Austin’s annual smorgasbord of film, music, and interactive media. Every year, hundreds of thousands of attendees flock to the Texan capital for concerts, movie screenings, keynote speakers, and… food.

Food is a huge draw for the SXSW crowd. The combination of Texan barbeque and Hispanic influences has led to the creation of some mouth-watering dishes, and we’ve rounded up the best ones for you.

Queso Dip

If Austin had its own appetizer, it would be queso. Creamy and smooth, serve it warm with a side of corn chips.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 and ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • Chopped tomato and sliced jalapeno pepper (optional)


In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat; saute onion and garlic until tender. Add chilies; cook and stir for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and milk until smooth; stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in cheeses, adding in small amounts and allowing cheese to melt between additions. Serve warm. If desired, top with tomato and jalapeno.

Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salad

Get your taste buds fired up with this SXSW-spin on the traditional salad. This is one salad that won’t wilt in the Austin heat!


Bean and Corn Salad

  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ears roasted or otherwise cooked corn on the cob, kernels sliced off, or 2 cups frozen and thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, minced


  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To make the vinaigrette: Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk until well combined.

For the salad: Lightly toss the beans and corn together in a serving bowl. Stir in about three quarters of the dressing along with the bell pepper, green onions, garlic, and cilantro. Taste and add additional dressing, if desired.

Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes. Stir again before serving.

Tex-Mex Shredded Beef Sandwiches

This one is easy, thanks to the use of a slow-cooker. You can spend the day at SXSW and come home to a delish ready-to-eat meal.


  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
  • 1 envelope chili seasoning
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • 8 onion rolls, spit
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese


Cut roast in half; place in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle with chili seasoning and pour the barbecue sauce over top. Cover and cook on low heat until meat is tender, 8-10 hours.

Remove roast; cool slightly. Shred the meat with 2 forks. Skim fat from cooking juices. Return meat to the slow cooker; heat through. Using a slotted spoon, place ½ cup meat mixture in each roll and top with cheese.

Barbecued Pork Chops

Austin is famous for its barbecue, and this tantalizing dish makes it clear why.


  • ⅓ cup hickory smoke barbecue sauce
  • ⅓ cup A1 steak sauce
  • ⅓ cup sherry (or unsweetened apple juice)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 bone-in pork loin chops (¾ inch thick, about 8 ounces each0
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


Whisk together barbecue sauce, A1, sherry, and honey. Leave ⅓ cup for serving.

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Place on an oiled grill rack over medium heat. Grill, covered, until a thermometer reads 145°, or roughly 4-6 minutes per side. Brushing with remaining sauce after turning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with reserved sauce.

Arroz Verde

Translated as “Green Rice,” Arroz Verde is a classic Tex-Mex side dish. The green comes from the fresh veggies that are sauteed into the rice.


  • 1 bunch of green onions (about 6), white bulbs diced and green parts chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • ¾ cup cilantro
  • 3 cups uncooked white rice
  • 9 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 lime
  • 6 cups of water


In a heavy pot, saute green onions, bell peppers, cilantro, and bouillon cubes until bell peppers have softened a bit (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add 6 cups of water, then rice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the lid on the pot, then turn heat on low until done. Cook time is approximately 30-45 minutes once water/rice is added.

Before serving, add the juice of half the lime.Sprinkle with the green onion tops.

Pecan Pie

There’s only one way to finish a SXSW food tour, and that’s with pecan pie. It’s actually one of the state dishes of Texas!


For the Pie Crust

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups (minus 3 tablespoons) shortening
  • 5 cups white flour

For the Pie Filling

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pie shell (packaged or homemade crust in a pie pan)
  • 1 1/2 cup pecan halves


For the Pie Crust

Dissolve the salt in the water and set aside. Cut the vegetable shortening into the flour, working the mixture thoroughly until it is crumbly. Add the salted water to the mixture and continue to work the dough until the water is absorbed. Add several tablespoons of flour and continue to work the dough until it pulls cleanly away from your hands.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The dough is rolled out the easiest when it is chilled. Once rolled out, press into a pie dish.

For the Pie Filling

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla in a bowl: mix well. Beat the eggs until very light. Add to corn syrup mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the previously prepared pie shell. Arrange the pecan halves on top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is set and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely, at least an hour, before serving.