Deep Fried Fruit Loops? Fried Texas Dirt? Fat Smooth? Must be time to think about the State Fair of Texas.
The fair released its annual list of semifinalists Friday for the Big Tex Choice Awards, and as usual, there’s plenty to shake your head over — or salivate over, depending on your tastes. The contest started in mid-July with 47 entrants, according to a release from fair officials.
Judges will continue whittling down entrants till they come up with the 10 finalists that will compete at this year’s awards, which are open to the public and will take place at 2 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Tower Building at Fair Park.
Tickets will be available online at BigTex.com for $100, and seating is limited. A hundred bucks might sound like a lot, but the awards are quite a scene, you get to sample a lot of fried food and the money goes to the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship program.
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If a spate of triple-digit temperatures has made you think that all the days are running together, like they have for us, remember that Aug. 27 is less than a month away.
One change this year is the splitting of the “Best Taste” award into two categories: Best Taste — Sweet and Best Taste — Savory, as well as the traditional Most Creative. Last year, sweet entries — Fried Jell-O and State Fair Cookie Fries — won, respectively, in the Best Taste and Most Creative categories, so the Savory category gives some non-sweet entries (we’re looking at you, Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick) a chance.
Since both writers on this story are former El Paso residents, we requested additional info on something called Fried El Paso. Here it is, via a State Fair publicist:
“Fried El Paso is pork carnitas-chipotle style, blended with a smoky bacon-jalapeño cheese and hand rolled and then stuffed into a fresh, roasted poblano pepper, then dipped in a beer batter and lightly fried. Served with a trio of dipping sauces in a corn tortilla, which include sweet and tangy BBQ, avocado ranch, and spicy Southwestern ranch.” (What? No Fried Chico’s Tacos?)
And the Fried Texas Dirt entry? Earthy, certainly: It’s crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with cream filling rolled in “dirt clods,” breaded with cornflakes and crushed vanilla sandwich cookies. Then it’s fried, then drizzled with chocolate sauce or whipped cream.
“We consider it topsoil,” the concessionaire says in its entry.
“The Fat Smooth” name doesn’t quite capture the lip-licking lusciousness that’s fried into this concoction: three delicious Belgian mini cream puffs on a skewer, dipped in Cafe du Monde beignet batter, then fried and dusted in powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. (Kinda want one right now.)
Regardless of whether they make the finals, many, if not all, of the semifinalists will be available at the State Fair. Isaac Rousso, the man behind last year’s State Fair Cookie Fries (and a frequent entrant in the competition), even went so far as to open a State Fair Treats store in a Plano Wal-Mart last year, although Yelp! reports that the store (the treats store, not the Wal-Mart) has since closed.
The fair this year runs Sept. 29-Oct. 22.
This year’s contenders:
- Beer Battered Beef Jerky
- Fried Redneck Wedding Cake Balls
- Cajun Fried Deviled Eggs
- Fried Sloppy Joe Flautas with ‘Not Cho’ Fries
- Crawfish Lollipop
- Fried Texas Dirt
- Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Mozzarella with Jalapeño
- Ranch Fried Texas Sheet Cake
- Deep Fried Breakfast Cupcake
- Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger
- Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick
- Gulf Coast Fish Bowl
- Deep Fried Fruit Loops
- Oreo Beer
- Deep Fried Reuben
- Pinot Noir Popcorn
- Deep Fried Root Beer Float with Dragon’s Breath
- Ramen Grasshopper Cookie
- Dreamy Drunken Sopapilla Cheesecake Bar
- Southern Fried Chicken Monte Cristo
- Fat Smooth
- Surfin-Turfin-Tator Boat
- Fried Arroz Con Pollo
- Texas Fajita Fries
- Fried Cheesecake Stuffed Apple Sundae
- Texas Fried Cowboy Fritters
- Fried El Paso
- The Tamale Donut
- Fried Mango Loco
- Tipsy Topsy Catfish on a Stick