In preparation for the State Fair of Texas, a panel of 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 dusted 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 and come Sunday, Aug. 29, two unbelievably scrumptious entries walked away champions -- Deep-Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls and an Armadillo-shaped cookie butter ice cream sandwich.
While you’re at the rodeo, track down these award-wining treats for a tasty time.
Voted best savory item and most creative dish overall: Deep-Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls
The seafood gumbo balls by Gourmet Royale 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.
Voted best sweet item: The Armadillo
The treat by James Barrera consists of two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies filled with cookie butter semifreddo, drizzled with cookie butter and dusted with sugar.
The other 2021 finalists included Crispy Crazy Corn, Deep Fried I-35 by Clint and Gretchen Probst, Lucky Duck Dumplin’ by Bert Concessions, Pork Shots by Glen Kusak and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller, Brisket Brittle by Ruth Hauntz, Deep-Fried Halloween by Isaac Rousso, Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake by The Winter Family, and Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake by Michelle Edwards.
Taste these treats yourself at the Texas State Fair, which will run from Sept. 24 to Oct. 17.