Special Report

The Most Iconic Food From Every State

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New Mexico
> Iconic dish: Green chile burger

Hatch green chiles are a way of life in New Mexico. They’re usually roasted and chopped into a sauce-like consistency, and from there the possibilities are endless; they show up in omelettes, topping burritos and enchiladas, in mac & cheese, in chilis and stews, and even in apple pie. But there’s nothing quite like the alchemy of flavors in a green chile burger. The bright spiciness of the chiles cuts through the richness of the beef and cheese, resulting in one of the finest burgers on earth.

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New York
> Iconic dish: Buffalo wings

Bagels, pizza, and pastrami all have iconic status in New York City, but head northwest to Buffalo, and you’ll be in the birthplace of the snack that really took over the country. As the story goes, Buffalo wings were invented at the city’s Anchor Bar back in 1964, back when chicken wings were usually thrown away or used in stocks. When owner Theresa Bellissimo’s son came into the bar late at night with some friends, she needed to cook up a snack for them, so she took some wings, deep-fried them, and tossed them in hot sauce. They were a hit, and their popularity exploded. Buffalo remains wing central, with Anchor Bar attracting millions of pilgrims every year.

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North Carolina
> Iconic dish: Pulled pork

If brisket is king in Texas and ribs in the Midwest, in North Carolina it’s all about the pulled pork. There are two primary pulled pork styles in North Carolina: Eastern North Carolina, where whole hogs are slowly smoked over hardwood charcoal before being pulled and doused with a tangy, spicy, vinegar based sauce; and Western North Carolina, where pork shoulders are smoked, pulled, and served with a ketchup-based red sauce. This is also referred to as Lexington-style barbecue, because the town of Lexington is home to dozens of BBQ joints.

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North Dakota
> Iconic dish: Fleischkuekle

The fleischkuekle was brought to North Dakota by Russian-German immigrants, and remains a hallmark of the state’s regional cuisine to this day. It’s a deep-fried handheld turnover, filled with seasoned ground beef and spices. It’s found at many small-town restaurants throughout the state, and is also crowd-pleasers at family gatherings.

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> Iconic dish: Cincinnati chili

The term “chili” usually connotes a thick stew of ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and spices, but if you travel around the country you’ll notice that there are a whole lot of variations (no beans or tomatoes in Texas, for instance). In Cincinnati, chili is more of a sauce, made with ground beef, tomato paste, water, and a slew of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cumin, and chili powder. Iconic “chili parlors” like Blue Ash and Skyline Chili have become legendary for serving the chili, which was invented by Greek immigrants, on hot dogs, burgers, and, most famously, on top of spaghetti. There’s even a lingo for it: “two-way” is plain, “three-way” is topped with finely shredded cheese, and “four-way” or “five-way” adds onions and/or beans.

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