We are knee deep in the 2012 edition of the Texas State Fair and many are still looking to make the trek and sample some of the finest in fried cuisine. We have a handy guide to help you avoid some of the pitfalls and enjoy your Fair Day with minimal damage to your ticket count and indigestion.
The following is a list that is tried and true. Many of the items you can find each year at the Fair, and some are new editions. We also list items to avoid. Stand back and cinch the waistband, this is going to be bumpy ride.
Located in the indoor food court, BW’s Famous Fried Ribs has been serving their fried meat on a bone for the past 25 years. Owner Debbie Hays has the recipe down to a fine science and invites you out for a sample. Hays also makes the fried banana pudding which is a great side dish for the ribs. Note that her son is the sous chef at Fearings, so the family knows a bit about food.
The food court contains a wealth of great food finds, along with the cheapest beer prices to be found anywhere at the Fair. These crispy fried green tomatoes will require a bit of a wait, but once you taste them you will be rewarded for your effort.
The owners of Crepe Crazy, Inna and Vladimir Giterman, run their little crepe booth inside the food court without speaking to each other, or anyone for that matter. They also are deaf. The pair of crepe makers are able to read lips, and ASL if you know the language, and make a fantastic crepe both sweet and savory.
Tatse of Cuba is located just off the Midway in the heart of the Fairgrounds and serves up many fine dishes fried or otherwise. This new addition to the menu was a State Fair fried food finalist this year and is a meaty success for Isaac Rousso. The fried pork wing easily slides off the bone and is moist and tender. They also include a basket of freshly made potato crisps and a bit of savory sauce on the side.
Also located at Taste of Cuba, the Cuban sandwich will elevate your spirits from the fried food dilirium.
Juicy’s BBQ operates the massive Outlaw Grill which is 100′ long, and weighs in at 27 tons. The grill is capable of cooking 1000 items at a time, and often does. The product includes burgers, dogs, sausage on a stick and turkey legs. Each one more enormous than the other. We love the dog which is nearly pornographic in size. After being slapped on the bun, the dog is slathered in freshly grilled onions and peppers for the ultimate in meat overload.
For a fresh take on Fair food, drop in the Food and Fibre Building and visit with the sweethearts who run a local food truck, Good Karma Kitchen. This vegetarian tamale is all natural and homemade by real chefs who care. The flavors are powerful and compelling.
Back in the food court we found this wonderful fried nugget. Alas, the power of fried biscuits and gravy. It is actually very good and fulfill your need for funky and fried.
The food court has more food waiting for us, and with the cooler weather who doesn’t have an itch for Frito Pie?
We could run a Tale of two Cinnamon Rolls for an interesting look at two pals who became competitive with the advent of the bacon cinnamon roll. We will spare you the drama, but can pronounce the winner. This roll is bacon from the get go and you can find it Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls. He has many other flavors such as the pecan roll, which is pretty fantastic for those not needing any further meat injections.
Another runner up this year fior the best new fried food competition is the Picnic on a Stick. This sounds terrible when explained to a normal thinking adult, but stay with us on this one. Skewered chicken, tater tots, and dill pickle alternating three times, battered and deep fried. Served with the normal ration of sauces such as ranch dressing, this is fried gimmick at its finest.
El Banarito is a past winner that is making an appearance for another season. This will cure any sweet tooth with its banana wrapped in a tortilla, slathered in maple syrup, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It’s a sticky mess that will make you smile at the end of the day paired with a Shiner.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a funnel cake. In our informal poll, the funnel cake was listed as a top favorite for all demographics.
What Fair food list would be compete without the standard Fletcher’s Corny Dog.
So we ate a lot of food all in one frightful night with the help of a large group, but what did we have that wasn’t our favorite?
Fried Bubble Gum won accolades last year which makes begs us to question the judging at the State Fair. Time for a shake up no doubt. This is terrible.
When tasting at the media event held each year on Labor Day, the Fried Jambalaya had all the right components. A crunchy shrimp, scattered sausage bits and moist and flavorful rice all balled up arancini-style and fried. However, the translation to the Midway isnt’ quite what we experienced that day. The jambalaya lacked flavor, shrimp or sausage on two ocassions during the Fair, and in fact was a salt bomb.
Fried Cactus Bites are slivers of cactus that are chicken fried and extremely forgettable.
Fried Tres Leches Cake. Tres leches does not take well to the fry-o-lator. Frying dries the product out and takes away the inherint juiciness from the milks. The strawberry slices were good.