The Ultimate Fair Foods at the 2022 State Fair of Texas
Since 2005, the Big Tex Choice Awards contest has solidified the State Fair of Texas as the top Fair for great food creations. Each year, State Fair concessionaires fry up tasty and unique foods for a chance to become a finalist in the annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition. Everything from Fried Beer to Fried Peaches and Cream has made the cut to become a part of the exclusive club of fried food creations. Best of all, YOU get to enjoy the winning creations at this year’s Fair! Read all the way through the post to see the winners of the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards competition and the best of the best fair food that will be featured at the State Fair of Texas this year!
savory finalist 1: chicharrÓn explosion nachos
Chicharrónes, of course, are the much better Spanish version of the pork rind, and they serve as the base layer for this amazing basket of State Fair nachos. Fresh pork rinds are fried to perfection and hit with just the right balance of Cajun seasoning. Next comes the beef fajita meat (we respect that the creators went one step above ground beef) and queso. But when you add in the truly explosive layer of flavor in the barbecue chopped beef and pico (pico is optional), you've got a dish that gave this year's savory winner a hard run for its money. The folks at the State Fair recommend pairing the Chicharrón Explosion Nachos with a Karbach IPA, and we couldn't agree more.
sweet finalist 1: deep fried rocky road
It's served with a cup of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream to display the dish's true Texas roots — so we're off to a good start. Rocky Road Kettle Fresh Fudge is then coated with fluffy, lightly sweetened batter and deep-fried, then stacked tall and drizzled with chocolate syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Mini marshmallows and chopped cinnamon glazed nuts are sprinkled on top with powdered sugar.
savory finalist 2: deep fried BLT
This deep fried masterpiece is ready for its closeup — absolutely gorgeous — as you can tell from the above pic. We found this one to be one of the lightest bites on the list, which was refreshing at an event featuring some of the heaviest foods we've eaten all year. Crispy bacon is folded into a 12-inch tortilla, along with a heaping pile of shredded cheddar to bind the corners. The tortilla is then dunked into the deep fryer, just long enough to get a golden-brown crunch and meld together the cheddar and bacon. That layer becomes the sandwich bread when it is cut in half and layered with cool crisp lettuce, two juicy red tomato slices, and mayo. To top it off, the fried creation is paired with fresh-cut garlic parmesan chips for a truly notorious B.L.T! Your advisors at the State Fair recommend pairing this beautiful fried creation with a Karbach Love Street blonde ale.
sweet finalist 2: LA Bluebonnet
Finally, something to drink! All this fried food will leave you parched if you don't have some sweet nectar like the LA Bluebonnet to accompany it. Freshly squeezed citrus juices and blueberries are folded into a sugary base and then shaken well to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Then, the tasty concoction is poured over ice and topped with an optional lemon-mint-berry twist. Absolutely lovely. 10/10 — no notes from the Love List Crew.
savory finalist 3: deep fried lasagna roll
Fried food truly knows no borders at the State Fair of Texas. We love to see it, and we love to see this take on fried Italian delicacies as well! The accompanying deep fried zucchini fries could do well for themselves on their own — yum. For the main, though, ribbon pasta is covered with the perfect mixture of ricotta, parmesan, provolone, and fresh mozzarella cheeses, then topped with a homemade meat sauce. Next comes more cheese (because you're at the State Fair, duh) and a delicate hand-rolling process, creating delicious layers of flavor. The lasagna roll is dipped in a cheddar and herb batter and fried golden brown, creating a crispy, flaky crust. It's garnished with a touch of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, creating a flavor that gives Italian vibes with a Texas twist! Your minders at the State Fair would humbly recommend pairing the Deep Fried Lasagna with a Karbach Jukebock or a Love Street Light, and who are we to argue?
sweet finalist 3: the ultimate brookie monster
It’s like a dessert hall of fame party on one saucer. It starts with crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies, layered with Oreos and marshmallows. Then, it's all covered in triple-chocolate brownie batter and baked into a super brookie. The brookie is then battered and deep fried before being showered in powdered sugar, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To finish, it is topped with cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce. Truly decadent, and you'll truly need to sit down and take a rest after polishing one off.
savory finalist 4: holy biscuit
For us, the Holy Biscuit was a dark horse to win it all, and we think this will be a really hot item for fair-goers this year. It'a a mouth-watering southern explosion that starts with a perfectly cooked golden-brown biscuit. Then, slow-smoked shredded brisket and ladle fire-roasted street corn queso is stacked on top of the biscuit. Next, thick-cut bacon is drizzled with Texas honey with a little bit of a spicy kick. The masterpiece is completed with crispy pickle French fries. The flavor combo is one of those things you will only ever experience at the State Fair of Texas, and it's pulled off really well here.
and now 🏆🏆 your winners 🏆🏆
most creative 🏆 cha-cha chata
One sweet refreshing treat to rule them all. Every drop of Cha-Cha Chata is precious, especially on those warmer days at the State Fair, which happen every year! Mexican Horchata (there are different variations of the refreshing, milky treat in various Latin American countries and further across the globe) is based on rice milk and cinnamon, but this variation, we are pleased to report, comes with a CHURRO STRAW — we repeat — you drink this beautiful creamy delight through a churro straw! The Garza Family, who created the drink, isn't divulging their specific horchata recipe, save that it starts with a triple-step of two kinds of milk and vanilla ice cream blended with the horchata then poured into a cup rimmed with caramel and cinnamon and topped with whipped cream. The Cha-Cha Chata is dusted with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites. It is truly a fair-food behemoth — was the win ever really in question? We think not.
savory champ 2022 🏆 fried charcuterie board
We were all thinking it. "How are they going to make this one work?" But we'll be damned — because Tami Nevins-Mayes and Josey Mayes made it work, and then some with this fried charcuterie instant classic. It was our favorite bite of the day, for sure. Fresh mozzarella, salami, and crisp green apples are chopped and tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs. Then the ingredients are wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried to a golden crisp, topped with creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of hot honey. It's surprising how good this one was. The folks at the State Fair tell us that this one goes really well with a Karbach Light Circus hazy IPA, and that sounds fine by us.
champion of the sweets 🏆 peanut butter paradise
The Love List Crew dubbed this one the "most likely to send you into a diabetic coma," so it's no wonder it took the win in the sweet category. The starting point — the base layer here — is a deep-fried honey bun injected with caramel and topped liberally with peanut butter. The treat is then layered with fan-favorite peanut butter treats including Reese’s Pieces, crushed Butterfinger crumbles and topped off with peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel, and a cloud of powdered sugar. Count us in, but we're going to need a nap afterward.