For those who haven’t been, the Texas State Fair is a code-red, five-alarm amalgam of classic car shows, college football, country music, chainsaw carving, goat judging, oversized vegetables, competitive baking, pony rides, pyrotechnified parades, Norteña groups, and a Ferris wheel you can probably see from space sprawling over hundreds of acres and attracting over 3 million visitors a year.
But the country’s largest state fair is truly known for two things: Big Tex and food, specifically fried.
Big Tex is the towering Texan figure cheerfully looming and waving over the fairgrounds complete with a Dickie’s western-style shirt (made out of awning fabric) and 95-gallon fiberglass cowboy. He is also the namesake of the Big Tex Choice Awards, an annual competition for glory on a stick where food vendors try to create the next new, must-taste item for fair goers. This year, the fair committee announced 34 semi-finalists for the coveted titles of Best Taste and Most Creative for the first time in its 130-year history.
We’ve taken a look at the list, and this is what we would pick to move on to the next round.
Bacon Wrapped Churros
Yes, yes, we’re over the bacon with extra-bacon phenomenon as much as you are, but we still aren’t blind to the potential wonder of a cinnamon sugar-sprinkled tube of fried dough enveloped in savory bacon.
Holy Guacamole Balls
Yes, we’re also tired of the add avocado for $1.75 trend too, but we never grow weary of Texas-style guacamole. This version also gets the popular deep frying treatment making it a creamy-crunchy sensation.
Lollipop Fried Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast on a Stick
While we’re sure this one tastes fantastic (also who wants to start a petition to rename quail, the Texas Chicken?) we’re digging it also for its functionality. There’s nothing worse than not having a solid surface and/or gripping mechanism for fair food. It always ends in a BBQ sauce on your jorts. Luckily, the lollipop style bone will prevent any grease stains.
We’re not above this. Besides, think about your Aunt Gladys’ cake that required pouring a strawberry or lemon Jell-O slurry on top. It was delicious, and you know it.
State Fair Edible Coals
While we aren’t exactly sure what form this treat might take at the fair, we were able to dig up the trademark file on it, which indicates that it is an “edible cup made from seaweed, organic sweeteners and flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables.” Is it deep fried too? Or guess is yes.
Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket With Mac ‘n’ Cheese Dip
Ambition can take on so many forms here in America, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
Tag @southernlivingmag in your Texas State Fair Instagrams so we can see your deep-fried favorites.