Schnitzel – What It Is and How to Enjoy It at Hill Country Restaurants

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You’ve probably seen schnitzel on many menus in the Texas Hill Country, but if you don’t know what it is, trying it might be frightening. Once you discover what makes this tasty dish so delicious, you’ll be ready to try all the varieties you see at the Hill Country’s many German restaurants.

What is Schnitzel?

Chicken fried steak likely derives from schnitzel

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Schnitzel can refer to a number of dishes, but all start with a thin cut of meat that is lightly breaded and pan-fried. Sound familiar? Texans took this idea and expanded on it using the locally available beef rather than traditional pork, and poured white gravy over it to create chicken fried steak. If you like this iconic Texas dish, you will probably also like schnitzel.

Schnitzel in the Texas Hill Country

Jagerschnitzel is often found at Hill Country German restaurants

Photo: Flickr/Elsie Hui

In the Texas Hill Country, you’ll find a variety of schnitzels on restaurant menus. Typically, these recipes have German origins with a few exceptions. Immigrants from Germany brought their cuisine with them, giving rise to the numerous German restaurants and schnitzels you can find in the Hill Country. On menus, you may find Jagerschnitzel, also called “hunter-style.” This uses pork cutlets covered in a mushroom gravy. Another variety is made with chicken, though often served with lemon slices rather than gravy. You may also find well-known wiener schnitzel on the menu, which hails from Austria rather than Germany.

Difference Between Wiener Schnitzel and Schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel

Photo: Flickr/tribp

Wiener schnitzel is an Austrian dish made with veal and typically served with lemon slices rather than drenched in gravy. While it does not come from Germany, it still appears on many German restaurant menus in the Hill Country. This form of the dish is perhaps the most well-known, hence its availability in the absence of a large Austrian immigrant population. The next time you see schnitzel on a menu in the Hill Country, try it out for a German dish that inspired the Texas favorite chicken fried steak.