KINGSVILLE — One of the largest cattle ranches in the world sits near Corpus Christi and this weekend is a great opportunity to pull on a pair of cowboy boots and pay a visit to the 825,000-acre National Historic Landmark’s annual Ranch Hand Breakfast.
Known as the largest ranch in the United States and the birthplace of American ranching, the famed King Ranch sits just outside Kingsville, about a four-and-a-half-hour drive south of Killeen-Fort Hood.
This Saturday, from 7 to 11 a.m., guests can enjoy an authentic cowboy breakfast — eggs, refried beans, biscuits and gravy, sausage, tortillas, coffee and juice — cooked and served outdoors. Along with the cowboy grub, the morning’s activities will also include team roping and old-time cow camp cooking demonstrations, along with storytelling and musical entertainment.
King Ranch traces its roots back to the 1850s. It covers portions of six Texas counties, is larger than the state of Rhode Island, employs 400 workers, and is home to 35,000 head of beef cattle and more than 200 Quarter horses. Along with the breakfast, the adjacent city of Kingsville — home of Texas A&M University-Kingsville — kicks up its heels with Ranch Hand Weekend from Nov. 19-21.
The festival celebrates the city’s rich cultural heritage as one of the mainstays of the Texas ranching industry and features such attractions as live music, cooking demonstrations, art, storytelling, food, a car show, two-step dancing and more.
Tours of the massive ranch are also available Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Guides are on hand to explain the history and modern-day workings of the sprawling facility, including such things as the auction arena, horse cemetery and historic buildings like Mrs. King’s carriage house, the Commissary with lookout tower and the grand home built by Capt. King’s window, Henrietta, in 1912.
See historic Santa Gertrudis Creek, where Capt. King first camped in 1852. Take a look at the ranch’s Quarter horses, Santa Gertrudis cattle herds, a Longhorn herd and various wildlife that call the ranch home: tens of thousands of migratory birds, bobwhite quail, white-tailed deer, nilgai antelope and Rio Grande turkey.
While you’re in the area, be sure and pay a visit to the King Ranch Museum in Kingsville, along with the King Ranch Saddle Shop and its assortment of leather goods, outdoor gear and handmade saddle-making.
For more information, go to king-ranch.com.
After that cowboy breakfast wears off, how about digging into one of Kingsville Steakhouse’s legendary marinated and mesquite-grilled steaks.
Choose from a ribeye, flat iron, filet mignon, Texas T-bone, New York strip, Cattleman’s sirloin cut, steak and shrimp, steak and ribs, steak and quail or black and bleu ribeye. Other popular menu offerings include chicken fried steak, chicken cordon bleu, fried pork chop, grilled pork chop, calf liver and fried chicken.
Seafood lovers are also well-taken care of with such treats as: salmon, fried oysters, catfish and shrimp, popcorn shrimp, fisherman’s platter, coconut shrimp, flounder or catfish, shrimp and oysters, jumbo shrimp, mahi mahi and the Captain’s Platter (fried flounder, shrimp, oysters and deviled crab).
That’s not all.
How about some chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken cacciatore, shrimp parmesan, fettuccini alfredo, Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta. Maybe a Texas burger (10-ounce mesquite charbroiled beef patty topped with bacon, fried onions and cheese), or a California burger (specially seasoned one-third pound ground beef patty served with avocado, mayo, lettuce, tomato).
The sandwich menu features a Philly steak sandwich, chicken fried steak sandwich, BLT, meatball sub, turkey and avocado, club, shrimp po’ boy, chicken parmesan sub and a gyro.
Last but not least, wet your whistle with an ice-cold draft beer, imported longneck or domestic bottle of frosty suds. Designated drivers and non-imbibers have a choice of iced tea, soft drink, water, milk and an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade).
Have a great weekend.