Come Fry With Me
Sep 27, 2017 04:24PM
● By Dia
Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, and the State Fair of Texas is no exception. Boasting more than 2.4 million visitors last year, it’s the country’s biggest state fair. The 24-day extravaganza that runs through October 22 in Fair Park packs in more than 100 daily attractions ranging from agriculture to art. But if you’re like us, the real draw is the food—the mind-blowing, health-defying, belly-busting fare deep-fried to a golden crunch. Loosen up your Texas-shaped belt buckle; it’s time to get a taste of the glorious fried wonders of the State Fair of Texas.
If you ask many Texans about their favorite fair food, the top dog is a hot dog—specifically one that’s dunked in cornmeal batter and deep-fried on a stick. Since 1942, Fletcher’s Corny Dogs have been a signature part of the State Fair of Texas experience. During an average fair season, Fletcher’s sells nearly 630,000 corny dogs. We’ll stand in line to get our hands on one, but we’re definitely saving room for some of the fair’s over-the-top culinary concoctions. Last year, Fried Jell-O® and State Fair Cookie Fries stole the show. This year, palates are perked at the thought of Fried Texas Sheet Cake (a fresh-from-the-fryer brownie served with chopped Texas pecans, whipped cream and a fresh strawberry carved to mimic a Lady Bird Johnson rose), Texas Fajita Fries (deep-fried beef fajita strips served in a bread cone with fried onions and jalapeños) and the Tamale Donut (a classic pork tamale hand-formed into a donut shape and deep-fried to perfection). Intrigued? These are just a few of the 2017 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists.
Now in its 13th year, the awards competition invited State Fair concessionaires to pull out all the stops in developing newfangled twists on Texans’ favorite foods. The contest kicked off in mid-July and drew 47 entries. Ten finalists advanced to compete for the titles of “Best Taste – Sweet,” “Best Taste – Savory” and “Most Creative.”In the end, a judging panel comprised of a variety of local personalities and renowned chefs tasted their way through the entries to determine the winners. Who came out on top? The Gulf Coast Fish Bowl (a drinkable aquarium filled with candy gravel, alcoholic punch and Swedish Fish) won in the sweet category, and the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger seized two titles: savory and creative. This Texas-sized king of all burgers is topped with bacon and queso, and sandwiched between two crunchy, powdered-sugar-dusted funnel cakes. Because, well, why not?
In true Texas fashion, the Big Tex Choice Awards even had a philanthropic twist—all proceeds from the sold-out awards competition were donated to the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program. Folks got their fried-food fix and felt good about it. If you didn’t snag tickets to the awards ceremony, you have until October 22 to try the slew of new foods tantalizing Texans’ taste buds this year. Want to make a beeline for the Surfin’ Turfin’ Tater Boat or the Pinot Noir Popcorn? Pick up a visitor’s guide when you get to the fairgrounds to map out vendor locations. Or, plan your route in advance at BigTex.com. There’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of foods to taste.
With so many inventive and positively wacky options, we can’t think of a better (or rather, batter) way to get a taste of the Lone Star State. We’ll see you at the State Fair of Texas!
STATE FAIR OF TEXAS
3921 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Dallas