Worst American Food- Some of the Weirdest Things People Eat in Different US States

People oftentimes forget just how vast of a country the US actually is. The country consists of 50 states and every state has different local traditions, different food, and different ways of doing things. That’s why the food eaten in one state may shock some people in a lot of other states. Naturally, every state has its own quirks that most locals find normal but people outside of their state find weird, and sometimes even disgusting. If you find this hard to believe, keep reading; here’s the worst American food you’ll find in every state!

Salted Peanuts in Coke, ALABAMA

peanuts and coke worst american food
Photo by vasekvi CC by 2.0

Eating salty peanuts and washing it down with a cold coke is always a great combo but the Southern States have found a way to mix these two things in a slightly unusual way; by mixing both of them in a bottle. This is actually a tradition that goes back to the early 20th century when packed peanuts first arrived on supermarket shelves. This was initially done by physical workers so that they wouldn’t have to touch the peanuts with their dirty hands but it’s hard to understand why other people would do this (and still practice it today).

Muktuk, ALASKA

muktuk alaska
By cogdoblog CC by 2.0

Alaska is very different than the rest of the US and it’s not a surprise that some of their dishes are bizarre for most people from the mainland. One such example is muktuk; a dish that consists of frozen whale skin and blubber. Muktuk is usually eaten raw but it can also be consumed frozen and cooked. It’s a great source of proteins and with the limited resources they had in Alaska in the past, it’s no surprise that people would resort to eating this.

Chocolate-covered bacon, ARKANSAS

chocolate bacon
by XF Law CC by 3.0

Arkansians love pork and bacon is always king in The Natural State. And don’t get me wrong; bacon and chocolate are two of my favorite things but some things just shouldn’t go together. To make things even more bizarre, a lot of people top chocolate bacon with sea salt, creating one of the worst American food.

Cactus Fries, ARIZONA

fried cactus
by Serafina CC. by 2.0

Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; people in Arizona actually eat cactuses. And there aren’t too many things one can do to make a cactus edible. Deep-frying actually gives a nice crunchy texture but when your main ingredient is cactus, that’s the best you can do. Even though it might not be the worst American food, this bizarre local snack definitely deserves a mention on this list.

Donut Burger, CALIFORNIA

donut burger
by Phil Denton CC by 2.0

People in California are known to think out of the box but I think we can all agree that they went a bit too far this time. Everyone wants donuts and burgers but I think most people will agree that the mix of the two in one dish is a horrible idea. Using sugary donuts as buns in an already greasy burger is not only a weird combination with sugar, salt, and juices leaking from every bite but it also sounds like something that’s very bad for one’s health!

Shredded Wheat, COLORADO

shredded wheat

Even though a lot of kids in Colorado grew up eating shredded wheat, in all other states of the US, this dish is referred to as ‘nobody’s favorite cereal’. It’s a strange mix of crispy and mushy pillow-shaped biscuits made of whole wheat. People also eat it frosted with one side coated with sugar and the other one with gelatine. I think this is enough to proclaim it as one of the worst American dishes! 

Steamed Burger, CONNECTICUT

steamed burger
by Connie Ma CC by 2.0

I’ll always wonder who was the person who thought that steaming a burger will make it better and what were they thinking. Even though it might be a healthier alternative (but that’s debatable too) I don’t think it’s something that someone would think of when hungry. After all, there’s a reason why you don’t get this burger anywhere else outside of Connecticut.

Slippery Dumplings, DELAWARE

slippery dumplings

First of all, nothing can keep the name slippery and sound tasty. Slippery burger, slippery steak, slippery pizza- none of these feel tasty! But to be honest, this does seem like an accurate description of this dish that includes dumplings filled with a combination of noodles and chicken coated in a gravy-like broth. Some people say they’re tasty but it sounds like an odd mix, and frankly, it looks even worse. Perhaps if you close your eyes when eating, who knows…

Boiled Peanuts, FLORIDA

boiled peanuts
by Katorisi CC by 3.0

If you ask me or most people who come outside of the southern states, boiling is a waste of perfectly fine peanuts. However, for some reason, people in the southern states love boiled peanuts. The practice of eating this southern ‘delicacy’ dates back to the 19the century and was probably brought by enslaved black people from West Africa, where the related Bambara groundnut is traditionally consumed and is one of the basic staple crops.

Pear Salad, GEORGIA

pear salad worst american food
by Ann Larie Valentine cc by 2.0

How does a salad made of canned pears and mayonnaise sound like? If you have a weak stomach, you’re probably already heading to the bathroom to puke or at least wash your mouth. But yes, people actually do eat this and to make things worse some even top this with shredded cheddar cheese! So yeah, no list of the worst American food can be complete without mentioning this Georgian ‘delicacy’.

Cow Tongue, HAWAII

cow tongue

If you can get past the idea that you’re eating something that if alive would ‘taste you back’, this is actually one of the tastier dishes on this list (not that this is an accomplishment though). This dish originates from East Asia but Hawaiians have their own local version and it’s quite popular in the Aloha State. They prepare it rough or in a soup but both dishes come down to the main ingredient- steamed sliced cuts of cow tongue.

Potato Ice Cream, IDAHO

potato ice cream
by David Simmer II CC by 2.0

We all know that Idaho is famous for potatoes but putting ice cream on top of a potato and calling it a traditional dish is a little bit too much. As if ice cream doesn’t have enough calories and sugar as it is. It might not taste bad because there’s still ice cream involved but it’s not very good and certainly not healthy.

Gravy Bread, ILINOIS

gravvy bread worst american food

For some reason, a lot of people in Illinois like their sandwich dipped in a vat of warm beef juice. Apparently they believe this makes the sandwich more flavorful but if you ask me, it just makes it more sloppy and less appetizing. To make things worse, a lot of people order this for delivery which means that they’re basically ordering a wet, soggy, and partially-cold greasy sandwich. When warm, it’s actually edible but when cold, it’s definitely deserving a spot on this list of the worst food you can find in America.

Brain Sandwich, INDIANA

brain sandwich

Brain sandwich is exactly what its name suggests; a cow or pig brain placed in fried buns topped with some mustard. At a glance, it might look like a minced meat sandwich but once you try it, you’ll sense an unmistakable mushiness that will always remind you of what exactly is the thing you’re eating.

Fried Butter, IOWA

deep-fried butter worst american food
by wordshore CC by 2.0

Americans love butter, we get it. But eating deep-fried butter is not only disgusting but also detrimental to one’s health! You can find variations of fried butter in a couple of other states too but I think this one tops all of them. People in Iowa put their butter on a stick, dip it in cinnamon honey, and deep fry it. Personally, this is one of the least healthy meals I ever came across in my 5 years (and counting) of traveling.

Cinnamon rolls with chili, KANSAS and SOUTH DAKOTA

cinnamon rolls and chillies
Photo by Alan CC by 2.0

You might come across some strange combinations featuring chili in different states. I can understand people around the US eating crackers or cornbreads with chili flakes. I’ll even accept people in Ohio and Indiana putting chilies on a peanut butter sandwich. But I just can’t understand people in Kansas putting chili on cinnamon rolls. They actually refer to it as ‘cold-weather comfort food’.

South Dakotans say that you can never go wrong with a delicious warm cinnamon roll dipped in a bowl of chili but the rest of America begs to differ. A lot of restaurants around South Dakota serve this but the mix of cinnamon rolls and chilly sauce sounds bad and quite honestly, it tastes quite horrible too.

Lamb fries, KENTUCKY

fried lamb testicles
by dr .bernd gross cc by 3.0

If for some reason, you ever feel like trying deep-fried lamb testicles, head to Kentucky. This is one of the most beloved delicacies in the Bluegrass State. If you forget what you’re eating and try very hard not to think about the preparation method, you might even enjoy them. They’re like a softer, mushier (nutsacky) version of clam strips.

Nutria, LOUISIANA

nutrie

Before you start judging, keep in mind that for a long time, people down here just ate what they had around. With that being said, why people still eat nutria remains an unknown. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, nutria or coypu is a giant rodent that leaves near rivers feeding on river plant stems. It’s prepared by boiling in a crockpot for four hours. But neither this nor any amount of spices can erase the thought of eating a giant rat. Without a doubt, this is one of the most bizarre dishes in the US and a great fit for this list of the worst American food.

Tomalley, MAINE

tomalley
by Shizu-K CC by 2.0

When you think of Maine local food, the first thing that comes to mind are lobsters. And as much as I like lobsters, I wouldn’t want to taste their inner organs and Tomalley is just that. This dish consists of lobster pancreas and liver. In a soup, it might be edible but on its own, it’s almost inedible.

Muskrat, MARYLAND

muskrat barbecue worst american food

People in Louisiana eat giant rats too but at least they don’t brag about it by holding a massive festival.  The festival features muskrat skinning competition, Muskrat Leg Eating Contest, muskrat barbecue, etc. And trust me seeing all these things will make you even more uncomfortable about trying a muskrat (if you were even thinking about it in the first place).

Fluffernutters, MASSACHUSETTS

fluffernutter
Kimberly Vardeman cc by 2.0

They sure love fluff in Massachusetts and this sandwich proves that. Fluffernutter is basically peanut butter and marshmallow crème white-bread sandwich topped with several different sweet, salty, and savory ingredients. Similarly like many other items on this list, there’s just so much contrast between this sandwich’s ingredients that it’s borderline unedible.

Dessert nachos, MICHIGAN

dessert nachos

I’m very open-minded when it comes to experimenting with food but sorry Michigan, nachos are not a desert. Instead of hot cheese and salsa, these nachos are topped with cinnamon, sprinkles, whipped cream, and best of all- smoked-chocolate-cherry Nutella sauce. Even though it’s far from being as bad as some other dishes on this list, it’s certainly one of the stranger mashups you’ll come across.

Pickle dog, MINNESOTA

pickle dog

Speaking of the worst American food, we just have to mention the pickle dog. Frankly, I don’t know what people in Minnesota were thinking when they invented this. No, this is not a hot dog topped with a pickle. It’s a pickle covered in sauerkraut, dipped in dressing and wrapped around a thick slice of beef. Where I come from, this is something you would make someone eat for losing a bet but apparently in Minnesota, this is a treasured delicacy. 

Banana Sandwich, MISSISSIPPI

banana sandwich

Southerners definitely have different taste buds and Mississippi’s banana sandwich is a living proof. As if putting banana inside a sandwich isn’t weird enough, they had to top it with mayo and cheddar cheese. I don’t know about you but personally, I get a stomach ache just by thinking about this strange mix.

Saint Louis Pizza, MISSOURI

saint louis pizza

When it comes to culinary experiences, Missouri doesn’t have a lot to offer and this St. Louis pizza just seems like trying too hard. The pizza basically consists of Ritz crackers topped with sweet tomato sauce and Provel cheese (one of the worse I’ve tried). Locals are proud of this invention but there’s a good reason why you won’t find this pizza anywhere outside of Missouri.

Rocky Montana Oysters, MONTANA

fried bull testicles
Wally Gobetz cc by 2.0

Don’t let the name full you- these are not oysters. It’s bull testicles. Pounded flat, skinned, coated in flour, pepper, and sault deep-fried testicles. But even after deep frying, they’re still chewy and stringy. Even though you can eat these in several other states, they’re called Rocky MONTANA Oysters for a reason. In Montana, they even have an entire festival devoted to their favorite delicacy.

Hot Beef Sundae, NEBRASKA

hot beef sundae

The combination of mashed potatoes, beef gravy, whip cream, and tomato is bad enough as it is but what’s even worse is that people in Nebraska actually eat this for dessert. The taste probably isn’t terrible but sorry Nebraska, you can’t convince anyone that this is a dessert dish no matter how hard you try.

Nothing really, NEVADA

You can’t be featured in a list of the worst American food if you don’t actually have any traditional dishes. Great thinking, Nevada! But jokes aside, the only strange thing when it comes to eating in this state are the buffets and how people use them. I’m talking about expensive caviar laying down on a taco topped with Chinese noodles topped with marinara kinds of things. And yes, this comes down to one’s eating habits, but look closely and you’ll find some weird things at the average Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet.

Boiled Dinner, NEW HAMPSHIRE

boiled dinner

Sure, boiling things is a healthy choice but when boiled, some things are just gross and New Hampshire’s traditional boiled dinner has just too many things that are gross when boiled. This local dish consists of boiled mixed vegetables (which is okay), boiled cabbage (kinda weird but still acceptable), and hear this- boiled ham (which is plain gross). And when all of this is boiled (and without too many spices may I add) and just thrown on the plate not only does it look ugly but it also tastes even worse.

Pork roll, NEW JERSEY

pork roll austin
Austin Murphy CC By 3.0

Even though the name doesn’t actually sound bad, this is one of the worst food served in all of America. It consists of processed ultra-salty, fried, pork products paired with egg and cheese sandwiched between two buns. I know it doesn’t sound that bad but this cholesterol bomb should be banned. To make things even weirder, some people have even tried sandwiching the pork roll. I could see no other reason to do this except maybe to hide the awful taste of the salty processed pork.

New Mexican Sundae, NEW MEXICO

green chilli sundae

For some reason, people in New Mexico love topping frozen custard with green chili sauce and salty pecans. Yes, you heard that right; New Mexico’s favorite dessert consists of sweet, spicy, and salty ingredients. We have to give them points for creativity, but to put it politely unless you’re not a local, chances are, you’re not ready for such an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

Garbage plate, NEW YORK

garbage plate
by Eugene Perez CC by 2.0

Many people forget that New York is an entire state that goes beyond Manhattan, Time Square, and Coney Island and you can find some quite strange dishes in places like Buffalo, Rochester, and Saratoga but the so-called Garbage Plate tops all of them. The garbage plate is exactly what its name represents; a dish that looks like a microwaved combination from yesterday’s leftovers. According to the urban legend, this dish was invented when a local student asked for a plate with ‘all the garbage in it’ at Nick Tahou Hots. In return, he got a mix of meat leftovers, burger buns, French fries, chicken tenders, hash brownies, and a few other thing that go very bad together.

Livermush, NORTH CAROLINA

Livermush

Something named livermush could never become popular even if it was the best food in the world. However, the name of this dish is unfortunately rather descriptive. Livermush consists of pig livers mushed with a bunch of other weird things like pig head parts (ears and snouts), cornmeal, and seasonings. The texture is soft and mushy while the flavor is difficult to describe but definitely not something I would recommend trying.

Lutefisk, NORTH DAKOTA

lutefisk
by Jarvin Jarie Vines 3.0

Speaking of the worst American food and bizarre dishes from every state, we can’t complete this list without North Dakota’s lutefisk. Soaking a fish in lye for an entire week before eating it, doesn’t sound good at all. However, this doesn’t stop people in North Dakota from enjoying this bizarre delicacy. Lutefisk looks and feels like jelly but it tastes nothing like it and it’s a very unpleasant surprise to see something like that tasting like fermented fish.

Skyline Chilli, OHIO

cincinnati chilli
Scott Beale CC by 2.0

Ohioans clearly learned from the mistakes of some of their countrymen and at least gave their weird dish a more-or-less appetizing name. But don’t let the name fool you; Skyline Chilli or Cincinnati Chilli isn’t something you want to try. This dish consists of half-liquid meat soaked in cinnamon topped with noodles that even Asians wouldn’t eat because of their poor quality. They even tried to hide the actual ingredients by adding so much cheese that you can’t see anything else. Nice try, Ohio!

Fried Okra, OKLAHOMA

fried okra
by Lahiti213 CC by 2.0

Just like Arizona’s cactus, there’s little one can do to make okra edible but it seems like deep frying every food is quite popular in some US states. Okra is actually rich in soluble fiber and is great for people with high cholesterol but deep-frying it takes away most of it but even this doesn’t help make it more chewable.

Horrible Ice Cream mixes, OREGON

worst american food
photog: Ricky Carioti TWP

Oregon needs to be taken to court for crimes against ice cream! Perhaps we can forgive New Mexico about their New Mexican Sundae because they put chilies on everything but the things people in Oregon do to ice cream are just criminal. Some of the weirdest mixes include pickled mango ice cream, strawberry with cracked pepper, bacon ice cream, and perhaps the worst- Cheetos-topped ice cream! Now, that’s just pure blasphemy!

Cream chipped beef, PENNSYLVANIA

cream chipped beef
Photo by Kurt Wagner CC by 2.0

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would think of trying something that looks like puke on a piece of bread. The béchamel sauce that tops the salted, dried, and smoked beef doesn’t do anything except making the dish look bad. I know it was a staple during WWII and the Great Depression but it’s hard to understand why people would still eat it today or even worse put it on a bagel.

Chop suey sandwich, RHODE ISLAND

chop suey sandwich

Sandwich of chicken noodles cooked in a starch-thickened sauce topped with mixed vegetables is the ultimate carb bomb. There are reasons why people eat either bread or pasta (in this case noodles). It might not be the worst American food but this sandwich looks quite ugly and eating it without making a mess of yourself poses a challenge too.   

Looking for some more ugly-looking dishes? Check out this list of worst-looking food people eat around the world.

Fried Pig Ears, SOUTH CAROLINA

fried pig ears
Sarah Stierich CC by 4.0

Pork is one of the favorite things to many Americans but everyone wonders why South Carolinians would eat pig ears with so many other delicious parts of a pig. People say it doesn’t taste very different than a pork chop but the thought of eating pig ears is enough to stop most people from trying this.

The Fat Elvis, TENNESSEE

fat elvis

If this wasn’t the King’s favorite snack, this sandwich of peanut butter, jelly, banana, and bacon would have been an insult to the great Presley’s legacy. Just like a lot of other dishes on this list, The Fat Elvis has just too many different spectrums of flavors and too many things that just shouldn’t be mixed together.

Fritos pie, TEXAS

fritos pie

I have to admit Fritos pie is actually one of the tastiest dishes on this list but this can hardly be called an achievement. This ‘pie’ consists of a bag of Fritos corn chips mixed with spooned chili and grated cheese. Some people add a lot of other ingredients too but this is the basic. To make things weirder, I’ve seen a lot of people adding the ingredients in the plastic bag of frits and eating it like that. A great creative way to fill up all the empty space in a bag of Fritos, Texas!

Pickle pie, UTAH

jimmy emerson worst american food
Jimmy Emerson, DVM CC by 2.0

Even the name of this dish just sounds wrong on so many different levels. This pie is made of chopped sweetened pickles flavored with cinnamon and allspice. The filling somehow resembles tangy mincemeat but the flavor can’t be compared to anything you ever tried before. I think that even people who are crazy about sweet and sour wouldn’t eat this. Unless, of course, they’re from Utah.

Sugar on snow, VERMONT

sugar on snow

Even though I was seriously tempted to put their habit of drinking raw cow milk on this list, I still chose this peculiar Vermonter delicacy. And no, snow doesn’t represent something white that’s added in the dish. It’s actual snow. And actual sugar/maple syrup. I don’t understand their obsession with this but Vermonters even have an entire festival devoted to sugared snow eating.

Ham biscuits, VIRGINIA

ham biscuit
Robyn Lee CC by 2.0

There’s not a lot I can say about this one. Ham biscuit is just ham on a biscuit. No cooking, no spices, no sauces, and not even butter.

Geoduck, WASHINGTON

geoduck worst american food

If you’re wondering what’s that penis-like thing that appears in a lot of seafood dishes in Washington (the state), it’s geoduck. I have to say it, the actual taste of geoduck is okay but on the outside, they look like the grossest thing you have ever seen which makes me wonder who was the first person that thought of eating geoducks and what were they thinking.

Fried squirrel, WEST VIRGINIA

fried squirrel worst american food

I understand, in the 18th or 19th century a lot of local hunters would bring home squirrels when they couldn’t find anything better but why in the world would people in West Virginia still eat squirrels today remains a mystery. Anyway, locals claim squirrel meat tastes similar to rabbit meat and they even have an annual Squirrel Fest.

Beer Cheese Soup, WISCONSIN

beer cheese soup
by Karen and Brad Emerson CC by 4.0

To all chefs who try to make this Wisconsin-originated “soup” a thing, please stop. A perfectly fine cheese has no business being added into a soup and adding beer on top of that certainly doesn’t make this pathetic attempt at a soup any better. Wisconsin, we all love your cheese. Please don’t waste it by adding it to this soup.

Jackalope summer sausage, WYOMING

jackalope summer sausage

For all of you out there who don’t know what Jackalope is, it’s a mythical creature described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns. It’s not a real animal, so you can’t make a sausage out of it. However, that doesn’t stop The Wyoming Buffalo Company from manufacturing this disgusting sausage. This raises the question of what actually does this favorite local snack consist of. People say it’s a (n inappropriate) blend of pork and rabbit meat and their internal organs but no one knows for sure.

Did you like this list of the worst American food? Do you agree with our choices of weirdest food for every state? Do you think we didn’t mention some other bizarre American dishes? Let us know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Worst American Food- Some of the Weirdest Things People Eat in Different US States”

  1. Definitely some DISGUSTING foods on this list! The only one I have tried is the Frito pie and I actually liked it, although it is weird. It is actually from New Mexico not Texas, and was invented in Santa Fe.

    Reply
    • Hi Katie, thanks for the comment. Definitely, Frito pie is one of the better-tasting dishes on this list, but as you said, still weird. Yup, I know its origin is often linked to New Mexico but according to several different sources, the first official recipe of Frito pie was published in Texas in 1949 while the earliest versions of Frito pie in New Mexico date back to the late 1950s. But despite its origin, I think Texas contributed a lot more to its popularity and therefore, I featured it on this list as a Texan dish 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ham biscuits are delicious!!! I’m from Virginia and grew up eating them. They are a very traditional food here that every self-respecting Virginian family provides at Easter, Sunday potlucks, or really any special occasion. I’m honestly a bit offended that they were included in this list. Don’t knock something until you’ve tried it.

    Reply
    • Sorry, you felt offended, Maggie, the point of the post is not to offend anyone. I have tried ham biscuits, didn’t like it, and found the combination of ham and biscuits a bit odd. But, of course, it’s different when you grew up with something. I bet you would find some of the food I grew up with gross, but that’s not something anyone should get offended by 🙂

      Reply
  3. I did my fair share of traveling the US once but thank god I did not encounter any of these horrible looking (and tasting) dishes. The weirdest I encountered was at Kansas City when we learned that locals put honey on top of their pizza.

    Reply
    • Glad to hear, Danial. I’ve found that honey can go surprisingly well in some seemingly unusual combinations but I’ve never tried as a topping on a pizza. That sounds quite bizarre too.

      Reply

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