It started with a whopping 51 entries represented by 36 concessionaires. The Texas State Fair has now narrowed the Big Tex Choice Award finalists down to a coveted 10, judged on uniqueness, creativity, presentation, and taste. These 10 final dishes will be taste tested by a panel of celebrity judges on August 28. That elite panel will decide which dishes will be awarded the titles of Best Taste – Savory, Best Taste – Sweet, and Most Creative.
Alas, we were not invited to the taste testing, and most of us won’t be able to get our mouths on these wild dishes until the fair opens up at the end of September. So we will all have to get by ogling these photos of the finalists and deciding which ones to make sure to find between Ferris wheel rides and consuming Fletcher’s corny dogs.
Below, with the blessed/cursed description from the Texas State Fair’s press release, are finalists in all their glory.
Chicharron Explosion Nachos
“Fresh pork rinds are fried to a golden crispy crunch and then seasoned with just the right number of Cajun-style seasonings to insure a mouthwatering kick. Next, smoked beef fajita meat is spread all over the crispy nachos and covered with delectable freshly made queso. To make this an explosion of flavor, these chicharron nachos are topped with a full serving of savory barbecue chopped beef. “
Deep Fried B.L.T.
“Crispy bacon is folded into a 12” tortilla along with a heaping pile of shredded cheddar cheese to bind all the corners. The rectangle-shaped tortilla gets dunked into the deep fryer, just long enough to get a golden-brown crunch and a melted bliss of cheddar and bacon. Then, the deep-fried goodness is used as the sandwich bread by cutting it in half and layering cool crisp lettuce, two juicy red tomato slices, and mayonnaise in between. To top it off, the fried creation is paired with fresh-cut garlic parmesan chips for a truly notorious B.L.T!”
Deep Fried Lasagna Roll
“Ribbon pasta is covered with the perfect mixture of ricotta, parmesan, provolone, and fresh mozzarella cheeses, then topped with an amazing homemade meat sauce. Next, more cheese is added and the past is delicately hand-rolled, creating delicious layers of flavor. The lasagna roll is dipped in a cheddar and herb batter and fried golden brown, creating a crispy yet flaky crust. The roll is then garnished with a touch of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, creating a mouthwatering burst of flavor. Served with a side of Deep Fried Zucchini Fries, this dish gives you a taste of Italy with a Texas twist!”
Fried Charcuterie Board
“Chopped-up fresh mozzarella, salami, and crisp green apples are tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs. Then the ingredients are wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried to a golden crisp, topped with creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of hot honey.”
“This mouth-watering southern explosion starts with a perfectly cooked golden-brown biscuit. Then, slow-smoked shredded brisket and ladle fire-roasted street corn queso is stacked on top of the biscuit. Then, thick-cut bacon is drizzled with Texas honey with a little bit of kick. The masterpiece is complete when it’s topped off with crispy pickle French fries.”
“Inspired by the cha-cha dance, the recipe starts with a triple-step of two kinds of milk and vanilla ice cream blended to perfection with the Garza family’s top-secret (but famously delicious) horchata recipe. The creamy drink is then poured into a cup rimmed with caramel and cinnamon goodness and topped with a Texas-sized dollop of whipped topping. To bring even more flavor to your tastebuds, the Cha-Cha Chata is dusted with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites.”
Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream
“Rocky Road Kettle Fresh Fudge is coated with fluffy, lightly sweetened batter and deep-fried to perfection, stacked high, and drizzled with chocolate syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Mini marshmallows and chopped cinnamon glazed nuts are sprinkled atop with powdered sugar. The dish is accompanied by a single-serve ice cream cup of Blue Bell Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla.”
“This decadent drink is inspired by iconic Texas bluebonnets which have served as a natural photo backdrop for many memorable life moments. Freshly squeezed citrus juices and blueberries are folded into a sugary base and then shaken well to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Then, the tasty concoction is poured over refreshing ice and topped with an optional lemon-mint-berry twist.”
Peanut Butter Paradise
“Peanut Butter Paradise starts with deep-frying a honey bun. Then, caramel is injected into the honey bun and then topped with creamy peanut butter. The treat is then layered with some fan-favorite peanut butter treats, Reese’s Pieces, Crushed Butterfinger crumbles, topped off with peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel, and a cloud of powdered sugar.”
The Ultimate Brookie Monster
“It starts with crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies, layered with Oreos and marshmallows. Then, the creation is covered in triple-chocolate brownie batter and baked together into a super brookie. The fun begins when the brookie is then battered and deep fried. Then, the super brookie is showered in powdered sugar, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To finish, it is topped with cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce.”