You'd have to call the new Buc-ee's location in Far North Fort Worth ridiculous. You'd just have to ... if it weren't so damned amazing. The new monument to Texas excess is now open just south of Texas Motor Speedway, so come one, come all, because every day is the State Fair at Buc-ee's.
Everyone knows about the famously clean restrooms and the beaver nuggets, but what other salty and sweet delicacies await the weary traveler? As a primer, here are 10 of the best — and zaniest — selections from the new location.
The Metroplex has reached peak Beaver Nugget, the signature item in the Buc-ee's brand family. For the uninitiated, if there are any of you left, a Beaver Nugget is like a giant, more sugary version of Smacks cereal or Corn Pops. These addicting little critters are a time-honored road-trip tradition established with the first local Buc-ee's location in Terrell, but they have multiplied.
The nuggets' success led to a salty alternative, Buc-ee's Nug-ees, as well as a cookie version of the treat known as Beaver Bites, the sleeper of the bunch and the perfect companion to a cup of coffee. Watch out for the Nug-ees, a pseudo cousin to the hot fry. You go in with crunchy expectations, but these have an airy, light crunch bordering on mushy. It's an odd consistency.
The Pecan Log
No, not lodge. Log. But, of course, there is (arguably) a working barbecue restaurant at this Buc-ee's, but we'll get to that later. Go for the $3.49 log, pecan enthusiasts, and be not afraid of the white goo that you realize isn't marshmallow only after you take the first bite.
Much like the sound of a tree falling in the woods, Buc-ee's barbecue brings up a nagging question: If "barbecue" is served and no smoke was produced from cooking it, was it really barbecued?
Don't trust the barbecue at Buc-ee's. The dried and vacuum-sealed sausage packets are a nice alternative if you're craving something meaty, and there are plenty of other reasons to visit the central dining hub at Buc-ee's known as Texas Round-Up.
Buc-ee's Fudge of the Month
By the time you circle around to the fudge cases, stocked with 24 varieties including a couple of rotating options, you begin to wonder if they're actually trying to kill you. They certainly are inventing new ways to do it, like the Fort Worth location's first-ever fudge of the month, a watermelon fudge.
If there's one thing Buc-ee's sells that could become the best thing you eat all day, it lives in the fudge counter. The watermelon is no slouch, even if it is gimmicky (which fits right in at Buc-ee's), and it's not as heavy as other fudge.
To quell the waves of demand for cured and salted meats, the new Buc-ee's jerky junction consists of both a walk-up deli counter and a wall of pre-packaged options. If it's not overrun with jerky zombies, who are no doubt sampling instead of actually ordering, go for the counter for a slight price break at between $8-$9 per quarter-pound.
Your road trip is not official until there's a bag of jerky in the car, and with more than 20 varieties of beef and turkey jerky, Buc-ee's has put its flag in the ground as Jerky Capital, USA. Whether you're a true jerky connoisseur or just window shopping at the deli cases, you can't go wrong here.
Cup 'o' Tenderloin
The jerky barons at Buc-ee's have taken their love for packaging meats to the next level with this one. It's not a fruit cup; no, that wouldn't be Texas enough. The tenderloin cups come with pork or turkey and also come filled with pepper jack and cheddar cheese cubes, with a lid full of pretzels. It's kind of a genius way to get something a little more solid in your belly while on the road — and as road-friendly snacks go, it's beautifully convenient.
If you're blindly grabbing whatever looks tastiest in the moment, don't be surprised when you run up a $30 snack tab at Buc-ee's. That's why these chips are so key. At $1.35 a bag, this unassuming corner of the Texas Round-Up hub in the center of the store probably offers the biggest bang for the buck.
As greasy as they look, these house-made potato chips don't leave much on your fingers. They're warm (thanks, heat lamps) and fresh enough to always offer a strong crunch.
If the idea of bland ole' caramel popcorn just doesn't pop for you, take a stroll over to Buc-ee's wall of popcorn. The first thing you'll notice is something called caramel camo corn. (If you don't buy it, the terrorists have already won.)
This veritable wall of popcorn has every savory and sweet take on popcorn a weary traveler could want.
The wall exhibits on the north side of the new Buc-ee's compound force the skeptical shopper to shed any lingering dismay at the pure excess of the situation. You just have to give Buc-ee's the slow clap here.
Along the wall, there are entire sections of gummies, taffies, trail mixes, nuts, old candy favorites, sugar-free options and dried fruit, right next to the popcorn village and pretzel park.
It's not that they have everything at Buc-ee's. It's that they have everything a wheels-off weary traveller could ever imagine. You may come for the clean bathrooms, but you stay to drool at the wall 'o goodies.
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SHOW ME HOW
One of five Buc-ee's fountain drink options laced with real Imperial Sugar. They've got generic strawberry, True Blue cream, cherry limeade, a root beer claiming to be the "world's creamiest" and a homestyle lemonade. Don't turn your nose up at the cream soda just because it's blue; it's the creme of the tap.
They know why you're there, and it ain't for quinoa or locally-sourced juices.
If there is one thing the new Buc-ee's skimped on, it's the ice cream selection. In lieu of an ice cream spot or soda fountain, there's a Dippin' Dots counter. Hey, not everything about Buc-ee's is perfect.
Buc-ee's, 15901 N. Fwy., Fort Worth