Fall is here, on the calendar if not outside, which means it’s time for state fairs and their crazy foods. Alongside the typical corn dog, turkey leg, pretzels, and beer, you can also find crazy fried contraptions and unique drinks to match. They say everything’s bigger in Texas. That also applies to the fantastic fair food.
The Texas State Fair runs in Dallas every fall beginning at the end of September. Within the fairgrounds lies The Cotton Bowl, one of college football’s most historic stadiums, and the site of the annual Texas versus Oklahoma football game. Dallas, nearly equidistant between the school’s campuses in Austin and Norman, has hosted the Red River Showdown for more than a century.
As a college student in the late ‘90s I would go each October up to the game, which takes place sandwiched between concerts, exhibitions, amusement park rides, and food stalls at the fair. Before the game we would go to the fair, drink some beer, enjoy a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, and chow down on some seriously unhealthy food, because what better way to prepare for a big game then by binging on bad food and beer!
My favorite has always been deep-fried Oreos, but a couple of this year’s offerings could be even better. Here are highlights from the list of crazy foods available at the Texas State Fair this year.
Deep-Fried Froot Loops
Yes, that’s right, “Breakfast of Champions” has a new definition. Your favorite childhood cereal is “folded into whipped marshmallow, dipped in a creamy batter, fried to a golden brown, and then topped with a drizzle of glaze and powdered sugar.” Oh yeah!
The Tamale Donut
This combines two of God’s greatest gifts: donuts and tamales. A traditional Latin dish of corn and meat or veggies, tamales are a favorite anytime of the day, but particularly good for Christmas Day breakfast. Combine that with the American classic, the donut, and you have pure bliss. The pork tamale donut is stuffed with slow-cooked pork carnitas and masa, then formed into a donut, “fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside,” and topped with creamy jalapeño salsa. Yum!
Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat
Look at that thing! This beast is a combination of lobster, steak, cheese, and potatoes. It’s an entire Surf and Turf meal in one bowl. Here’s the official description: “Succulent lobster meat is marinated in lemon herb butter and partnered with seasoned steak that is grilled to perfection. Both are topped with cheddar and romano cheeses after being stuffed into a piping-hot baked potato with roasted garlic butter melted inside. It is topped off with a single empress cut lobster claw and a side of lemon butter for dipping.”
It’s gotta be a heart attack waiting to happen, but if that amalgamation of disparate foods actually works, it would be a tasty way to go.
Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger
You read that right. This baby combines a cheeseburger with bacon and a funnel cake. It’s like the state fair cousin of the donut burger. A fresh-grilled burger is topped with a pile of bacon, covered in queso, sandwiched between two fried funnel cakes, and topped with powdered sugar. Naturally. To this burger fan, this one sounds like a must-try.
Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick
When you were home sick, and what’s the first thing your mom used to make for you? Chicken noodle soup, of course. So imagine the stomach-soothing nature of that, fried, then put it on a stick for easy eating. I’m not sure this version of the soup is something that can make you feel better when you’re sick, but hey, it’s on a stick!
Now this isn’t all of the crazy fair foods, mind you. There is also Pinot Noir Popcorn, Chicken Fried Spam Fries, Crawfish Lollipop, and two bizarre brews: Caramel Sea Salt Beer and Oreo Beer. Yep, you can wash down your Fat Smooth with an Oreo Beer. Yum?
Yes, this dish is called “Fat Smooth.” No mincing of words, so sales pitch, no spin, just a straight-up acknowledgement that this is fried fattiness that is undoubtedly amazing and undoubtedly going to give you heartburn. This dish is made up of three Belgium crème puffs dipped in beignet batter, put on a stick, and deep fried. Topped with powdered sugar, and chocolate and caramel sauces, these sound amazing. Eat up!