You might think that the state fair is confined to just a few weeks, but the State Fair of Texas food vendors have been hard at work already coming up with new creations to tempt fair-goers' taste buds. Lucky us, the 2018 State Fair of Texas has some amazing foods on the lineup.
The 31 semi-finalists for the 14th annual Big Tex Choice Awards have been named and we can't wait to try everything on this list.
30 State Fair of Texas food concessionaires entered 49 different foods into the contest, which started last month. Each of these competitors has at least one year under their belt as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas and all of them have brought their A game to this year's contest.
The entries go through blind judging during the entire competition. During the first round, judges choose the best entries based solely on the food name and description (though contestants also have the option to submit a photo of their food entry). The idea is that it's the same process a fair-goer would use to choose which food to buy.
The next round puts the innovative creations to the taste test. The 31 semi-finalists will be judged on uniqueness, presentation, creativity, and taste, plus the judges will consider how likely a fair-goer is to actually buy the item.
In mid-August, the top 10 finalists will be announced. The final round happens live at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 26 in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. These best of the best will be tested by a panel of celebrity judges in a quest for one of three titles: Best Taste - Sweet, Best Taste - Savory, and Most Creative. You can get tickets online at BigTex.com for $125, but the event usually sells out, so get them early if you want to try the Top 10 finalists.
This year's entries, of course, include a full set of deep fried foods, because a state fair wouldn't be a state fair without deep frying literally everything (Deep Fried Ranch or Deep Fried M&Ms, anyone?). Some of the names alone have us looking forward to the food, because half the fun is trying to figure out what the food is. For example, we wouldn't be surprised if the "Orange You Glad We Fried It?!" turned out to be a deep fried orange, but it's actually a fried pie with chiffon orange cake, whipped cream, and citrusy orange preserves blended into a custard-like filling then spooned into puff pastry, fried, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
"Texas Twang-kie" and "Deep Fried Raspberry Brie-ret" are also all outstanding monikers. (And we are wondering if "The Roll Tide" is just some excellent football season trolling.)
Other semi-finalist include the "Cotton Candy Taco," "Bacon Brittle," and "Corn Dog Ale" (and yes, that is corn dog beer inspired by a State Fair of Texas favorite, Fletcher's Corny Dog).
Here is a full list of the 31 finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards (and a note that even if your favorite doesn't advance, the State Fair of Texas food vendors can still choose to introduce their entries at the fair, so keep an eye out for all of these fantastic creations).
|Corn Dog Ale||Bacon Brittle|
|Deep Fried Bodacious Bacon Bombs||Cherish Erbert Champagne|
|Deep Fried Chicken Tetrazzini Parmesana||Cotton Candy Taco|
|Deep Fried Lobster Pops||Deep Fried M&M's®|
|Deep Fried Ranch||Deep Fried Raspberry Brie-ret|
|Deep Fried Shepherd's Pie||Frosty's Frozen Hot Chocolate|
|Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat||Fruity Dessert Nachos|
|Fried Cup of Corn "Elotes"||Kool-Aid® Pickle-Dilly Sangria|
|Fried Kool-Aid® Pickles||Orange Julia's Beermosa|
|Hoppin' John Cake with Jackpot Sauce||Orange You Glad We Fried It?!|
|King Crispy Coconut Crab Sliders||State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream|
|Pico Frito (Deep Fried Pico de Gallo)||Supra Stuffed Mini Sopapillas|
|Southern Fried Chicken Nachos||Sweet Bakin' Bacon|
|Texas Fried Hill Country||Sweet Crispy Rice (Arroz con Leche)|
|Texas Twang-kie||Texas Thai Delight|
|The Roll Tide|
Last year's winners were the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger (Best Taste - Savory and Most Creative) and Gulf Coast Fish Bowl (Best Taste - Sweet).
The State Fair of Texas is held in Dallas and runs from September 28 through October 21.