Texas

Fair food gone wild: Here are the 10 Big Tex Choice finalists at the State Fair

What’s Big Tex smiling about? The fair food finalists for the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards

From Pinot Noir Popcorn to Texas Fajita Fries, it's going to be a heartburn inducing 2017 State Fair of Texas, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 22 at Fair Park in Dallas.
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From Pinot Noir Popcorn to Texas Fajita Fries, it's going to be a heartburn inducing 2017 State Fair of Texas, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 22 at Fair Park in Dallas.

The State Fair of Texas is outdoing itself this year. No, really, they shouldn’t have.

For the first time in the 13-year history of the Fair’s Big Tex Choice Awards, 10 dishes, instead of the traditional eight, have been named fair food finalists.

Also for the first time, three of the following will be crowned winners at the awards pig-out on Sunday, Aug. 27. But who are we kidding? You just want to cram the best, most unholy combination of sweet, savory and unique fair foods into your junk-food hole, and we’re here to help.

The 10 dishes everyone will be talking about this fall are:

The Fat Smooth

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The vaunted Fat Smooth. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

Three mini creme puffs dipped in Café du Monde beignet batter and fried, then covered in powdered sugar, chocolate and caramel sauce. Perhaps the most inside-the-box of the fair food finalists. Perhaps also the most appetizing.

Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup

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Deep fried chicken noodle soup. It’s good for the soul. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

It’s just as good for the soul as a bowl of the only known cure for the common cold, but it’s also encased in batter and served on a stick with “broth sauce” and a side of crackers.

Deep Fried Froot Loops

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It’s okay to skip breakfast when going to the fair this year. Deep fried Froot Loops are here to save, or totally ruin, your morning. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

The breakfast of State Fair champions. Bits of the multi-colored breakfast cereal are folded into whipped marshmallow, dipped in creamy batter, fried to golden brown and then drizzled with glaze and topped with powdered sugar.

Texas Fajita Fries

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Fajita Fries are the most shareable fair food finalist. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

It starts with deep fried beef fajita strips. It sits on a bed of fried onions and jalapeños. Something called a “bread cone” is your fajita fry delivery system.

Gulf Coast Fish Bowl

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The Gulf Coast Fish Bowl looks cute, and is definitely sweet, but it’s just for adults. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

At some point you’ll need something to drink, right? Enter the cutest, sweetest adult beverage at the State Fair. Nerds candies are the “gravel” of your drinkable aquarium, while red Swedish Fish swim in the iced blue punch. A pineapple slice serves as the lid.

Tamale Donuts

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Tamale. Donut. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

How much more “Texas” can it get? It’s more “tamale” than “donut.” You should know that going in. A pork carnitas tamale is shaped into a ring and coated in masa. It’s fried until crispy on the outside and topped with jalapeño salsa.

Fried Texas Sheet Cake

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Fried Texas Sheet Cake is no ordinary sheet cake. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

Fudgy chocolate brownie cake is generously coated in cocoa puffs, panko and cinnamon sugar. Fry that, and you get a molten center with a crunchy outside. It’s glazed with a rich, dark icing made with Dr Pepper and served with chopped pecans, a dollop of whipped cream and garnished with a strawberry.

Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger

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There’s no right way, or maybe there’s no wrong way, to eat a Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

Funnel cakes are the buns. We repeat, funnel cakes are the buns. The rest speaks for itself.

Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat

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The Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat takes the loaded baked potato to a whole new level. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

This is peak loaded baked potato, right here. Lobster meat and steak are the main ingredients inside, and are paired with cheddar and romano cheeses. A single empress cut lobster claw tops the whole thing off to give the fair-goer next to you lunch envy.

Pinot Noir Popcorn

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Kettle corn’s got nothing on Pinot Noir Popcorn. Joel Braby State Fair of Texas

The lighter side of 2017’s gargantuan offering of interesting fair food, pinot noir popcorn will be a welcome sight after your third helping of lunch. It’s the perfect walking around food. Kettle corn is dusted with a pinot noir burgundy wine powder.

Cookie fries, fried jello and the corny dog--tasty treats special to the State Fair of Texas.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667, @MCTinez817

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