State Fair of Texas concessionaires are officially off to the races with a new lineup of incredible, edible innovations for the public to taste. The 15th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards is offering another year of exciting bites for all appetites. From savory snacks to sweet treats, 2019’s assortment will not disappoint! After much deliberation in the first round of judging, the scores have been tallied and the results are in; 33 semi-finalists have been named to move forward. Comprised of 20 savory and 13 sweet entries, these semi-finalist contenders are one step closer to the main event, where they will compete for one of three winning titles: “Best Taste – Sweet,” “Best Taste – Savory,” and “Most Creative.”
2019 BIG TEX CHOICE AWARDS SEMI-FINALISTS
|BBQ Pork Rangoons||Big Red® Chicken Bread|
|Cajun Crab Bombs||Champagne Jell-O® Hot Shot|
|Calypso Island Shrimp Bowl||Deep Fried Bayou Fruit Bites|
|Chicks in a Cone||Deep Fried CRACKER JACK®|
|Deep Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Waffles||Deep Fried Energy Bites|
|Deep Fried Mexican Mole||Deep Fried Nutella® Custard Stuffed French Toast|
|Deep Fried Street Corn||Extreme Fried Bananarama|
|Deep Fried Texican||Fla’Mango Tango|
|Fried Burnt End Burrito||Fried Crème Brulee Berry Crunch|
|Fry Rub & Rye||Fried Oreo® Gelato Pop|
|Good Ole Creole Boudin Egg Roll with Pepper Jack Cheese||Fried Southern Bourbon Bread Pudding|
|Loaded Baked Potato Funnel Cake||Peanut Butter Cup Snookie|
|PB&J Bacon Pickle Dog||Quick Fried “Black Gold” Truffles|
|Pig in a Cannoli|
|Southern Fried Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Ball|
|Stokin-Smokin Cowboy’s Bacon and Brisket Egg Roll|
|Stuffed Fried Mexi-Cone|
|Texas Cream Corn Casserole Fritters|
|Texas Fried Fritos® Pie Burrito Dog|
|The “Ain’t No Lie it’s Fried” Steak|
The contest kicked off in mid-July with an impressive 49 entries represented by 30 concessionaires. It is required that all competitors have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas to enter the competition. With food as a cornerstone of the annual State Fair, these contenders are more than just successful small business owners; they have proven themselves to be authentic representations of the dedication and passion brought to the table each year.
The unique selection process used in the annual competition is headed up by a panel of internal judges and requires “blind judging” from start to finish, meaning the panel does not know which concessionaire is behind each recipe. This allows for the scoring to be entirely based on the food entry itself and leaves no room for bias toward concessionaires, since their identities are not revealed to the panel. To vie for a spot in this semi-final round, contestants put their creativity to the test by coming up with an enticing name and description for their original concoctions. Faced with a solid list of tempting treats, the judges based their choices solely on which food name and description sounds the most appealing to their personal palette, just like a fairgoer might do while at the Fair.
Over the next several weeks, the second round of preliminary judging will begin, and these edible creations will have to prove to the panel of judges that they are just as delicious as they sound. The tasting round will judge each semi-finalist on, at minimum, four main ingredients of a finalist-worthy concoction: uniqueness, presentation, creativity and, of course, taste. The judges will also have to defend their rankings against the seemingly simple yet crucial question – how likely is a fairgoer to actually buy the item? By mid-August, anticipation will be at an ultimate high when the Fair-food finalists are announced! The top 10 entries will compete live in the final round at this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony. Even if your cuisine of choice doesn’t make it to the main event, concessionaires can still choose to introduce their food at their stand as a “new food” during this year’s State Fair.
With less than one month left until the doors swing open for the 15th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards, presented by Metro by T-Mobile, be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, August 25 at 2 p.m. in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Last year’s event sold out, so don’t wait to secure your spot. Tickets are available online at BigTex.com for $125, with a limited number of seats available. All proceeds from the annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition are donated to the Big Tex Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarship to students across the Lone Star State. Be one of the first to taste this year’s new foods, as the 10 finalists go up against a panel of celebrity judges in hopes of snagging one of most coveted titles in Fair food.