The fried fare is back.
Absurd yet compelling fried foods are a hallowed state fair tradition across the West, not to mention the nation. Perhaps nowhere else is that tradition taken more seriously than at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, where for a decade cooks have submitted heart-stopping dishes for top honors in the Big Tex Choice Awards. This year’s finalists, announced today, have a particularly Western bent.
Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo (at right) are meatballs of mesquite smoke-flavored lean ground bison and chile pequín given a Corn Nuts crust and dipped in a Shiner Bock batter. A dusting of bacon bits finishes off the dish served with a side of chipotle cream sauce.
The Lone Star Pork Handle is a portable dry-rubbed, bone-in pork chop dunked in a Lone Star Beer batter and coated with toasted breadcrumbs. After a dip in the fryer, the pork is slathered with a bourbon barbecue glaze.
Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso adds Tex-Mex to the bunch with a ball of shredded chicken, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, bacon, cilantro, and Sriracha hot sauce rolled through a pretzel breading.
The Cowboy Corn Crunch, a fiery fritters of sweet corn, minced jalapeño, cream cheese, and smoky bacon, is one of two entries submitted by Isaac Rousso.
The other, a smoky bacon frozen lime margarita, of course, is the only drink with which to wash down all that fried.
Most Creative and Best Taste prizes will be awarded at the August 30 judging. The state fair runs from September 25 to October 18. Tickets for the event are available here.
For the complete list of finalists visit the State Fair of Texas website.