Texas Trash

I like old fashioned things. Do you like old fashioned things?

Antique tablecloths. Old school music. Leg warmers. Stuff like that.

Retro recipes are a particular favorite. So you best believe that when I stumbled across this gem at a local used book sale, I pounced.

It was published the year I was born!

And now, thanks to the lovely ladies of the Junior Service League of McAllen, Texas, I’m baking my way through some of the Lone Star State’s best.

Yee haw.

Today we’re starting with some Texas Trash, contributed by Mrs. Jerry Fair (Zetta).

Mrs. Fair must have known her way around the kitchen because this is one intense snack mix. For real. We’re talking cereal, Fritos, pretzels, pecans and Tabasco. Plus liquid smoke! Bang.

Prepare to have every single craving that you’re currently experiencing satisfied in one single bite. Bang bang.

The thing that I love most about retro recipes is the challenge of making adaptations based on ingredient obsolescence and/or modern health zeitgeist.

Mrs. Fair’s recipe, for example, calls for 1 pound of margarine and 2 cups of bacon fat.

Yes. That’s what I said. Two cups. Of bacon fat. With a side of margarine. Discuss.

I healthed it up and went with butter instead.

But what Mrs. Fair really nailed was the flavor combinations:  sweet, salty and spicy all in one. Plus the liquid smoke, which is really a treat. Your kitchen will smell like the best kind of barbeque as this snack mix bakes.

The most challenging thing about making this mix is maneuvering such a huge quantity of stuff. I strongly suggest that you toss the mix as it bakes, and then once it’s baked and cooled, remove it to several large Ziploc bags or sealable containers, fill them only three quarters full, and give them a vigorous toss. The seasonings are so strong that you’ll want to make sure the dry ingredients are as evenly coated as possible.

So thank you, Mrs. Fair. Your Texas Trash is a winner. I like the way you think.

Texas Trash

recipe adapted from La Piñata: The Recipes of The Junior Service League of McAllen, Texas

1 box Cheerios cereal (14 ounces)
1 box Captain Crunch cereal (14 ounces)
1 box Rice Chex cereal (12.8 ounces)
1 bag Fritos (10.5 ounces)
1 bag pretzel sticks (13 ounces)
2 lbs. pecan halves
3 c. unsalted butter
1 bottle Worcestershire sauce (10 fl. oz.)
4 tbsp. celery seeds
4 tbsp. garlic, dried ground
3 tbsp. cumin, ground
2 tbsp. cayenne chile, dried, ground
2 tbsp. liquid smoke (mine was hickory flavored)
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 200º.

Place cereals, chips, pretzels and nuts in a large roasting pan and/or sheet pans and toss well (I used my large roasting pan and two half sheet pans). It doesn’t matter if your pans are shallow or deep, they just need to contain the mix with some extra room to allow you to toss.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. As it melts, mix in the Worcestershire, celery seeds, garlic, cumin, cayenne, liquid smoke and Tabasco. Once the butter has melted, give it a stir in case any of the seasonings have settled to the bottom of the pan and pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Immediately toss the snack mix well (you can use tongs or a large spoon as the butter will still be warm). Bake for 1 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally as it bakes. Mrs. Fair recommends tossing every ten minutes, but I don’t think that much tossing is necessary – just agitate the mixture at least 3 times as it bakes. The finished mix will be fragrant and almost completely dry. Remove and cool.

Once the mix is cool, remove it to several sealable containers filled only 3/4 full and toss vigorously to give the seasonings one more chance to coat all of the dry ingredients. Store in sealed containers.

YIELD:  Lots


  1. 23

    Debra Kapellakis says

    Mixed emotions on this one. I grew up in Texas. I remember when we got the first H.E.B. in town, it was amazing! I later moved to Oregon where we had Fred Meyer not as good as H.E.B. but OK! Now I live in Greece and I can’t get my hands on Captain Crunch, Rice Chex, Fritos, pecans or liquid smoke. I can sometimes find a Cheerios that is a mix. The good side is I live on Santorini (Thira) and it is gorgeous. The name of this and the book you found it in make me love this recipe even more. So think of me while you are eating it…lol :P

  2. 22

    Jamie says

    If you live in Texas, you can shop at HEB to make this recipe even more fun. HEB has Texas-shaped snack crackers (I love the cheddar ones, but they have bacon-cheddar if you want to get that bacon taste back into the recipe without adding the bacon grease). HEB also has pretzels in the shape of cowboy boots and Texas (all in the same bag!).

    I make this snack mix (or a version thereof..I want to try this version!) with the Texas-shaped crackers and pretzels and take it to my work colleagues in our California office. Meetings are always better when there’s Texas Trash on the table!

    • Meagan says

      LOVE these ideas, Jamie! I can’t wait to hit up HEB for some Texas-style snack bits to add to my Trash!!

  3. 17


    As soon as I think I’ve gotten past the fact that I’m looking at Captain Crunch AND Fritos, I slam up against the fact that we’re dealing with BOXES of the stuff, not just cups. That makes enough for a small army. Well, not even that small.

    It looks amazing though. I love Liquid Smoke. A whole bottle of Worcestershire. Wow. Slammed up again. Wow.

  4. 7


    Hot diggity this looks RIGHT up my alley and I just happen to have a box of Cap’n Crunch on hand b/c I adapted a C. Tosi recipe for cereal crunchies and posted about it and used Cap’n Crunch for it. I love snack mixes like this one…YUM!

  5. 4


    This is so rad. I love old-fashioned recipes. Most of my older ones say “oleo” rather than margarine, I love that. This sounds amazing!

  6. 2

    Courtney says

    Wow, haha, that looks like some hard core stuff. Does that Captain Crunch stay sweet after it’s been mixed & baked with the rest of the ingredients? What an awesome recipe – – this is why I love going to used book stores for cookbooks!

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