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The State Fair of Texas’s Fried Food Bonanza Is Officially Back

Lobster corn dogs and frozen ranch water are among this year’s contenders

Fried Sriracha Balls
The Big Tex Awards are back, and this years semifinalists have just been named.
State Fair of Texas

After a year-long hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Big Tex Choice Awards are back, and as over-the-top as ever.

The State Fair of Texas announced the list of semifinalists for the 2021 concessions competition earlier today — 19 savory and 13 sweet dishes that will vie for the top spot in each category, as well as the coveted “Most Creative” award. These 32 dishes will be whittled down to a final 10, and the winners from that pool will be announced at the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony in August.

This will be the 17th year for the outrageous food competition. Last year, instead of the normal event, the fair hosted something called Fair Food Madness, in which North Texans voted online for their favorite previous Big Tex Choice Awards winners. (The 2020 State Fair of Texas was cancelled due to the pandemic.) The winner of that competition was Texas Fried Fritos Pie, which originally won the Big Tex Award in 2010.

Scope out some of the highlights from this year’s semifinalists below:

  • Deep Fried I-35 — A confusing conglomeration of sweet and savory kolache filled with brisket, peaches and Dr Pepper glaze.
  • Brisket Brittle — Peanut brittle, but the peanuts have been replaced with smokey brisket.
  • Pork Shots — Smoked sausage, wrapped in bacon, then stuffed with mac and cheese. The makers call it “a party in your mouth”.
  • Takis Locos — Takis Fuego chips served nacho-style, with melted cheese, refried beans and topped with pico and cilantro.
  • Texas Easter Eggs — An egg-shaped concoction made with non-specified meats, spices, cheeses, and peppers, deep-fried, and topped with ranch sauce dyed with food coloring. They’re served in an egg carton.
  • Lobster Corn Dog — A lobster cake covered in cornmeal and deep fried, corndog-style.
  • Deep Fried Halloween — A large chewy pretzel bathed in candy corn syrup, covered in orange and white buttercream icing, then topped with marshmallow whip cream. The pretzel is then stacked with Halloween candy like Reese Piece, Mini-Twix, Orea crumbles, and candy corn.
  • Frozen Ranch Water — Exactly what it sounds like, a frozen version of the popular cocktail, which can be topped with additional flavors like passion fruit, raspberry, and watermelon.

The Big Tex Awards will take place in mid-August, though a date has not yet been announced. The 2021 State Fair runs from September 24 through October 17 at Fair Park.