It's almost time for Big Tex, patron saint of fried foods, to make his glorious return: The State Fair of Texas kicks off its 2015 season on September 25 at Fair Park.
This morning brought the announcement of this year's Big Tex Choice Awards nominees, the sneak peek at what are destined to be this year's hottest fair foods. This year fair vendors are getting fancy with chicken-fried lobster (ooh), and weird beverages also continue to trend — last year it was funnel cake beer, and 2015 sees the addition of a bacon margarita (yes, really).
Here are the nominees that will battle it out for Most Creative and Best Taste, along with abbreviated official descriptions. (Last year's winners were Fried Gulf Shrimp Boil and Funnel Cake Ale, respectively.)
Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy (Abel Gonzales)
"An entire lobster tail, breaded and deep fried to perfection. Served with a rich sauce combining lemon butter and champagne gravy."
Cowboy Corn Crunch (Isaac Rousso)
"A kickin' mixture of sweet corn, minced jalapeño, rich cream cheese and a hint of smoky bacon, the Cowboy Corn Crunch is the perfect blend of savory and spice. This flavorful tot is fried to a golden, crispy brown and served in a unique palm leaf cone, proving especially convenient when walking while snacking around the fairgrounds."
Deep Fried Alligator's Egg Nest (Cassy Jones)
"The Deep Fried Alligator's Egg Nest blends rich alligator meat with Monterey Jack cheese, chopped jalapeños, onions and garlic. This flavorful mixture is then rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried to the perfect golden brown. Served atop a "nest" of shoestring potatoes and drizzled with a chipotle sauce."
Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly (Christi Erpillo)
"Golden-baked bread swirled with cinnamon has been flattened and filled with moist carrot cake, plump raisins and crunchy julienned carrots. Rolled with a light coating of cream cheese and then breaded in a mixture of panko, graham crackers, cinnamon and nutmeg ... Drizzled with cream cheese frosting and lightly dusted with powdered sugar, this divine confection is served with extra caramel on the side as well as a caramel macchiato cream sauce."
Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo (James Barrera)
"This dish takes lean ground buffalo and gives it the Texas treatment — flavored with a Mesquite smoke and rolled in Pequin chili pepper, known as our state's official native pepper. The meat is then crusted in crushed Corn Nuts® and dipped in a batter made from Shiner Bock Beer®, also native to the Lone Star State. Lightly dusted with bacon bits and served with a chipotle cream sauce, the Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo is a tiny taste of Texas."
Lone Star Pork Handle (Justin Martinez)
"The Lone Star Pork Handle takes a hand-cut bone-in pork chop, marinates it with a rich pork rub, then dips it in batter made from Texas' own Lone Star Beer®. The seasoned pork chop is then smothered in toasted bread crumbs and deep fried to a crisp, golden brown. Finished off with a coat of bourbon barbeque glaze, this savory dish will leave you nothing short of satisfied."
Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso (Allan Weiss)
"Shredded chicken is combined with a rich blend of cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, cilantro and Sriracha sauce. Rolled into a ball and crusted with a crispy pretzel breading, this item is then deep fried to golden perfection. Served with a jalapeño ranch dipping sauce for an extra kick."
Smoky Bacon Margarita (Isaac Rousso)
"The Smoky Bacon Margarita takes the smokiness of freshly-cooked bacon and infuses it into a frozen lime margarita. With just a hint of smoke, this drink still captures the zesty citrus flavor of a traditional margarita. Finished off with a pinch of bacon crumbles on top, this thirst-quenching drink is served in a collectible souvenir cup for an added funky flair."
Those chomping at the bit to taste this bizarro creations can snag tickets to the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony to be held Sunday, August 30 at 2:30 p.m. in Fair Park's Tower Building. It'll cost you, though — tickets are $100, which could probably get you at least 8 bacon margaritas if you wait till the actual fair to start.