Labor Day is behind us, which means it’s time to plan for the State Fair of Texas, one of the country’s biggest and best. Established in 1886, this annual tradition brings more than two million people to Fair Park in Dallas to eat fried foods, play games, ride rides and soak up Texas culture. This year’s fair begins September 30 and runs through October 23. You can accomplish a lot during that time, but one of the biggest draws is undoubtedly the deep-fried concessions, which in past years have spawned everything from deep-fried gumbo balls to…fried beer. There’s nothing they can’t do.
This year is no different, with a slate of must-try foods waiting for your arrival. That means a famous Fletcher’s Corny Dog, of course, plus a handful of new items you should eat, including the winners of the Big Tex Choice Awards, an annual contest that judges new creations.
Go early, go hungry and maybe consult your doctor first.
Fried Charcuterie Board
Winner of “Best Taste: Savory,” the Fried Charcuterie Board turns this traditional appetizer into one unique concoction. Fresh mozzarella, salami and crisp green apples are tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian herbs. The ingredients are then wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried, before receiving a topper of goat cheese and hot honey.
Chicharron Explosion Nachos
This shareable snack starts with fresh pork rinds that are fried until golden and crispy. The pork rinds are doused with Cajun-style seasonings, and then covered with smoked beef fajita meat and queso. To really embrace that “explosion,” the already-filling nachos are finished with a full serving of chopped BBQ beef.
Deep Fried Lasagna Roll
How do you improve on lasagna? Throw it in the deep fryer. Ribbons of pasta are covered with a mixture of ricotta, parmesan, provolone and fresh mozzarella cheeses, and then topped with homemade meat sauce. All that is rolled up, creating layers of flavor, before the roll is dipped in a cheddar and herb batter and fried to a golden brown to create its crispy, flaky crust. The roll is then garnished with a touch of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Somehow, that’s not all, because the dish is served with a side of zucchini fries.
Deep Fried BLT
We never thought to make a BLT in a tortilla, but that’s why these guys are at the fair and we’re on the sidelines. Crispy bacon is folded into a 12-inch, rectangular tortilla, along with a heaping pile of shredded cheddar cheese. The stuffed tortilla is then dunked into the deep fryer, resulting in a crunchy exterior and melted cheese. This is where things get crazy: The bacon-cheese tortilla is cut in half and sandwiched around lettuce, tomato slices and mayonnaise — so, yes, consider it your bread. And because all good sandwiches need a side, the BLT is paired with fresh-cut garlic parmesan chips.
This Southern-inspired dish starts with a golden-brown biscuit. But it doesn’t stay that way for long, as the biscuit is stacked high with shredded brisket and a ladle of fire-roasted street corn queso. Next comes the thick-cut bacon drizzled with Texas honey, and a final topper of crispy pickle French fries — all the hallmarks of a balanced breakfast.
Peanut Butter Paradise
Winner of “Best Taste: Sweet,” the Peanut Butter Paradise sees a deep-fried honey bun injected with caramel and topped with creamy peanut butter. The treat is then layered with Reese’s Pieces, crushed Butterfinger crumbles, peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel and a dusting of powdered sugar. Yeah, intense.
Winner of “Most Creative,” the Cha-Cha Chata starts with two kinds of milk and vanilla ice cream, blended into the creator’s secret horchata recipe. The drink is then topped with a large dollop of whipped cream, sprinkled with crushed candy, cinnamon galletas de grageas, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites. The cup itself is rimmed with caramel and cinnamon, and the straw? It’s got a churro wrapping.
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