In preparation for the State Fair of Texas, judges ate their way through 43 entries from 26 concessionaires vying for glory at the 17th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards.
The calorie-dense contestants ran the gamut, from deep-fried peanut butter sandwich pockets to deep-fried shrimp etouffée. Essentially, if it could be deep-fried and dunked in powdered sugar, there’s a pretty good chance these judges ate it.
By mid-August, 10 unbelievably scrumptious entries, half savory and half sweet, had been deemed this year’s finalists. The contest winner will be selected by a panel of judges at the Big Tex Choice Awards event on Sunday, August 29.
These are the decadent Texas-themed treats you should track down while at the fair this year. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.
The savory finalists
Crispy Crazy Corn: Sweet whole kernel corn individually battered, fried, dusted with secret seasoning, and topped with slowed-smoked pulled pork, tangy pineapple slaw and a drizzle of freshly made jalapeño crema.
Deep-Fried I-35: A fried kolache topped with smoked beef brisket, drizzled with a Dr. Pepper and peach infused BBQ glaze and dusted with powdered sugar.
Deep-Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls: The seafood gumbo balls are loaded with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage, then rolled in saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter before taking a dip in a deep fryer.
Lucky Duck Dumplin’: Deep-fried duck bacon dumplings served with a sweet and gently spicy Thai chili glaze.
Pork shots: Pork sausage wrapped in pork bacon and filled with mac and cheese.
The sweet finalists
The Armadillo: Two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies filled with cookie butter semifreddo, drizzled with cookie butter and dusted with sugar.
Brisket Brittle: Like old-fashion peanut brittle -- if all the peanuts were replaced with brisket.
Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake: A Texas-shaped pumpkin cake covered with gooey vanilla glaze, topped with whipped cream, and sprinkled with secret spice.
Deep-fried Halloween: A deep-fried pretzel bathed in candy corn syrup and topped with rainbow sprinkles, powdered sugar, the piped with orange and white buttercream icing before being stacked with Halloween. Once drizzled with chocolate syrup and caramel sauce, the creation is complete.
Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake: Old fashioned cake doughnuts, English toffee morsels, and almonds blended with custard, dipped in an egg product and covered in panko and vanilla cookie crumbs before taking a turn in the deep fryer. The decadent dessert is then dusted with powdered sugar, sprinkled with more toffee bits and topped with a dollop of frothy mocha coffee whipped cream.