The air at the State Fair of Texas swirls with powdered sugar, fryer grease, and anticipation. As the sun rises, attendees prepare themselves for yet another foray into these fried food foraging grounds. The State Fair is many things, including a livestock show and the grounds for the Cottonbowl, but it might best be known for its role as the American fried food mecca. Since 2005, every August fried food aficionados flock to the fair to witness the judges' ruling on the year's most inventive fried food. The Big Tex Choice Awards look for the best taste when it comes to fair food. The most creative finalists win big in categories such as savory and sweet with past entries such as Big Red Chicken Bread and Fla'mango Tango, a strawberry mango sorbet served with a crispy mango twist.
The Best State Fair of Texas Fried Food
This contest (in its unofficial state) is nothing new. Back in the 1930s, the Fletcher family claims to have introduced the world to corndogs on these very same fairgrounds. Although the origin of this American delicacy is hotly contested, the State Fair of Texas has proudly continued the legacy of frying up everything in the kitchen, except maybe the kitchen sink.
So what are some of the more unusual finds that have come across the judges' table? Here are 10 of the best.
1. Fried Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving dinner that's available outside of the holiday? Pure genius. This version includes stuffing mixed with turkey dipped in cream corn before it is deep fried.
Dip it in cream gravy and you are set.
2. Fried Jello
It's so weird you can't not try it.
Think of it like a beignet that meets the rainbow. Bundled inside a sweet dough and dusted with powdered sugar is a glistening center. This truly is a sweet surprise.
3. State Fair Cookie Fries
Crinkle cut cookies?! Oh my goodness, sign us up. Available in chocolate chip and sprinkles, there is also a host of dipping sauces to play with.
Who knew that cookies would ever be so exciting again?
4. Injectable Great Balls of BBQ
After your brisket is carefully smoked to perfection, who is going to tear it up and roll it in some barbecue sauce and breadcrumbs. These guys.
No, it doesn't ruin the meat. Actually, it makes it better. Plus, these fried delicacies are served with a pipette of barbecue sauce so that you can inject them with as much or as little flavor as you'd like.
5. Fried Twinkies
Sure, this fried dessert has caught on to some extent, but it's still pretty weird if you think about it. Who decided that battering and frying a beloved sweet cake treat would be absolutely incredible?
Oh right, everyone, especially since it's one of the first foods you think of when you imagine the State Fair of Texas.
6. "Funyun" Dings (Fried Pulled Pork)
When you grab some Funyuns, pineapple, pork, cheese, and bacon and grind it all up, this is the result. Golf ball sized packages of joy. Then, if you're the kind of person who thinks everything needs barbecue sauce, you can dip these little nuggets in. Pure bliss.
Then, if you're the kind of person who thinks everything needs barbecue sauce, you can dip these little nuggets in. Pure bliss.
7. Fried Chicken Pot Pie
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I always look forward to this time of year and this is why.. From the 2016 Big Tex Choice awards, this was by far my favorite item on my "must eat" list - Bernie's Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac n' Cheese Dip. It was definitely worth the long wait and continuing to clog my arteries one fried food after another. To next year.. #vscocam #texasstatefair #statefairoftx #statefairoftexas2016 #bigtex #friedchickenpotpie
This is the Hot Pocket you've always wanted. It's basically your grandmother's cooking, deep fried and served with mac n' cheese dip. You don't want to miss it.
8. Deep Fried Cannoli Bites
Pure Italian dessert joy wrapped up in pastry and dipped in a fryer, this transcendent dessert is filled with sweet cream and mini chocolate chips that just explodes in your mouth like a waterfall of lusciousness.
Seriously, don't knock it until you try it.
9. Doritos Bacon Mozzarella Sticks
Every day is a good day for mozzarella cheese. Especially when it's fried. Seriously, you shouldn't need any further prompting to want to try this.
Just look at this creation, seriously.
10. Deep Fried Spaghetti Meatball
You haven't had an over-the-top fried food until you've had your favorite childhood meal, spaghetti and meatballs, in one neat and tasty deep fried package.
This isn't anything like Momma's cooking, but that deep fryer sure makes it tasty.