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Listen, road food doesn't need to be pretty.

Image: Cory Garcia

The only question that matters to me when it comes to road trips is “where can I eat?” Yes, I have opinions on drive length, traffic density, scenic views and speed traps, but the truth is my excitement level for any drive is really based on what I can eat along the way. It’s really simple: a five-hour drive with good food is better than a two-and-a-half hour drive with nothing to please your stomach.

I’ve learned to index my drives by where I’ll stop. Going to Laredo means corn dogs with gooey batter just under the surface in Beasley. Trips to Austin mean a pit stop at Hruska’s in Ellinger. Drives to Dallas will be nightmare slogs, although Woody’s Smokehouse does have pretty nice bathrooms.

And then there’s driving to San Antonio along I-10 West. It’s never been the worst drive, but unless you’re willing to go out of your way there’s not much to write home about other than a pair of Buc-ee’s, but sometimes you need more than just a bag of beaver nuggets.

Enter Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse, which opened up an outpost in Sealy earlier this year, making the drive west something special. If you’re a regular on 59 South toward Victoria, Corpus and all points south, your eyes likely lit up when you read the name, a smile forming on your lips, your stomach perking up. Yes, it’s true, there is a second Prasek’s location.

Now, the purpose of this here informational wall of text is not to tell you about every bit of magic under the roof of Prasek’s, but yes, they’ve got all the meat you know and love chilling in coolers, and all your favorite sandwiches are available at the back counter. If you know someone in your life that loves jerky, Prasek’s is a must-visit. It even has an aquarium, just like the flagship location.

But to answer the real question on your mind, yes, the pigs in a blanket are just as good as what you’d find at the Hillje location. There’s the perfect ratio of sausage to bread. The bread is simple and not too chewy, the perfect vessel to suck up the juice from the sausage after it’s been nuked for a bit. But the star, as it should be, is the sausage. You can tell with one bite that this is a company that understands meat. The sausage has a deep, meaty flavor and, not to sound like an overly critical judge on a cooking competition show, a good mouthfeel.

They are, in my opinion, the perfect road trip food. They’re not so large as to become unwieldy, the bread isn’t so buttery that your hands will feel gross after the fact and they’re crazy delicious.

Messier, but still worth picking up, are their Rice Krispie treats. Not overly sweet, not overly solid, these squares come in a serious size, great for sharing as you come down from your pig in a blanket high. They are sticky because they don’t go easy on the marshmallow, but well worth it, just be warned that after having one you’ll look at every other gas station take on them with suspicion and ridicule.

And hey, because I know you care about the important things, I’ll answer your other burning road trip question: yes, the restrooms are clean.

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