Check out our preview of the latest deep-fried creations from the State Fair of Texas, new belt not included.
It's that time of year again in Texas. The State Fair of Texas kicks off September 24 for 24 days of excitement. Until October 17, visitors will flock to the historic Fair Park fairgrounds for livestock shows, carnival rides, live music, the Texas Auto Show, and a couple football games in between.
But there’s one reason folks truly love the State Fair of Texas: fried food. The State Fair of Texas is known for taking culinary creativity to new heights, and this year is no exception. In 2020, the Big Tex Choice Awards were done virtually, where fans could vote for their favorites from the last 16 years. The winner, Texas Fried Fritos Pie, took home the trophy.
Every year, 10 creative fried foods are celebrated as the finalists of the Big Tex Choice Awards and are sold during the fair. And this year, we’re giving you a preview.
We hope you have an extra belt hole, or two, ready.
The Armadillo (Best Taste - Sweet)
It's an Armadillo Cookie Butter Ice Cream Sandwich, y'all! The middle is a made-from-scratch cookie butter semifreddo (an Italian take on ice cream that means semi-frozen). Then, it's drizzled with cookie butter before being sandwiched between two deep-fried Armadillo-shaped cookies. And a dusting of buttery sugar tops it off. I never thought I'd love the state small mammal of Texas so much.
Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls (Best Taste - Savory & Most Creative)
This is a family recipe handed down four generations. It melds a dark, rich, and savory roux with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage, then rolled in saltine crackers and breadcrumb batter fried. Served with a side of dark gumbo roux sauce, chicken fried okra spears, saltine crackers, and a small bottle of hot sauce.
If peanut brittle and Texas brisket got married and had a baby, it would this sweet finalist. It combines the buttery, crunchy, rich, sweet flavors of peanut brittle with the smokey goodness that is Texas brisket.
A large fried chewy pretzel forms the base of this Halloween candy explosion. Bathed in candy corn syrup with a torrential downpour of rainbow sprinkles and powdered sugar, it boasts a festive cream center of orange and white buttercream icing with a monstrous stacking of favorite Halloween candies on top.
Crispy Crazy Corn
This will make for a great savory snack if you're not into sweets as much. Sweet whole kernel corn is individually battered and fried and get a dash of special seasoning. But to turn up the heat some slow-smoked pulled pork is added. Topped with tangy pineapple slaw, kissed with a drizzle of freshly made jalapeño crema and a sprinkle of cilantro.
Deep Fried I-35
This concoction combines sweet and savory to pay tribute to the Texas road trip. First, fried kolache dough is topped with smoked beef brisket. Then a peach juice and Dr Pepper barbecue glaze is drizzled over the brisket kolache. It is garnished with peach slices and a dusting of powdered sugar. A roadworthy item, but we won't make you try to eat it in the car.
Lucky Duck Dumplin'
Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake
Fernie's Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake
For more information on the State Fair of Texas, visit the event’s website.
Photography: (All Images) Courtesy State Fair of Texas