New Fried Foods at the State Fair of Texas 2012: Our Guide to the Best Artery-Cloggers

If my arteries could talk, they’d be screaming in half-pain/half-joy because tomorrow, my friends, is the FIRST DAY of the State Fair. When those beautiful Fair Park gates open in 19 hours, 20 minutes, and 45 seconds, we’ll finally be able to enter Fried Food Heaven and rest in buttered peace. But enough of this chitter chatter. We’re wasting time and breath whenever we’re not talking about fried food.

Deep fried jambalaya (photos by Carol Shih)

The Finalists: A Must Try

Deep fried jambalaya by Abel Gonzalez*

This winner of “Best Taste” at the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards is a Cajun mix of rice, shrimp, sausage and seasonings that’s spicy even if you don’t dip the ball into the spicy ranch sauce.

Jump if you know what’s good for ya.

Bacon cinnamon roll

Bacon cinnamon roll by Butch Benavides*

Eat this “Most Creative” item while it’s hot, or the cinnamon roll with bacon crumbles and powdered sugar is going to have a funky texture when it gets cold.

Fried cactus bites

Like fried okra, but better. It’s actually made from prickly pear cactus pads. (Don’t worry, cacti are edible.) These bites also come with  jalapeno ranch with agave nectar sauce. Mmmm.

Fried picnic on a stick

I have no idea what’s really on the inside of this monster, but it’s supposed to have pieces of spicy fried chicken alternating with tater tots and dill pickle slices.

You want this. You really want this chocolate tres leches cake. (photo by Carol Shih)

Deep Fried Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I love you, deep fried divine tres leches cake, more than I’ve ever loved any other tres leches cake (which is zero). I love you more than air itself. You don’t taste heavy or fried. You’re light and airy on my tongue. I want you forever. Will you be mine?

Fried Mexican fire crackers

The gourmet (and fried) version of a 7-Eleven taquito.

Fried pork wings by Isaac Rousso

Pigs don’t fly. Duh. But Isaac Rousso’s pork wings are tender, juicy, and oh-so-easy to hold.

Deep fried mac 'n' cheese slider

Fried mac ‘n’ cheese sliders by Velasquez Catering

Buy the mac ‘n’ cheese patty on its own, or eat it like a champ inside the slider. Jackie Velasquez’s mac ‘n’ cheese recipe is a secret, but we do know that she uses three kinds of cheese, and they add up to create this sharp-tasting fried mac ‘n’ cheese.

If you still have room left in your stomach, take a whiff of these:

The Sweet: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Fried Kitty-Kat

Wait, is someone really frying a kitty? That’s just wrong. If it’s a Kit Kat candy bar, though, that’s very right.

Deep Fried Samoas

I mean.. c’mon. Deep fried samoas. You don’t even need to use your imagination to know that this is going to be classic.

Fried cow patty

Instead of a fried beef patty, as you’re likely to believe, you’re getting a fried chocolate pastry about the size of your face. Amazing.

Fried cotton candy (photo by Carol Shih)

Fried cotton candy

Don’t be fooled by the name. Cassie’s Froyo doesn’t fry real cotton candy (boo!); she uses cotton candy syrup. These balls come with a bowl of Jelly Belly frozen yogurt. It’s super duper sweet, so stay away, diabetics.

Fried sugar and fried sugar cubes

No, thanks.

West Texas fried apple pie

Perfect for the fall season. But aren’t there plenty of fried apple pies out there already? McDonald’s has one that tastes purdy good when it’s midnight and you only have two bucks to spend.

The Salty: Serious Foods for Serious People

Deep fried chicken and waffle

Gotta love a good chicken and waffle. Especially when it’s ALL fried.

El dogito on a stick

El dogito, you have my heart-o. Smoky sausage with cheese and jalapenos wrapped in a tortilla.

Shrimp quesadillas

The only seafood item on this list! And it’s grilled! Not fried! Wait a second…

Deep fried baked potato

Helloooo, french fries topped with bacon, sour cream, butter, and cheddar cheese. Come to mama.

Crispy frank fries

Fried crispy frank fries

Hot dog + fries in one bite. The inventors of the deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese sliders decided to cut up a hot dog into quarters and fry it to death. The outside is covered in panko breadcrumbs, which creates a dark, crunchy encasing.  A tangy mustard sauce comes with the frank fries.

The Weird and Weirder

Cup of Trash

Really? Really? Why would anyone call anything edible a “cup of trash”? This is a mix of rice, burger meat, and pinto beans served with saltine crackers. I don’t get it.

Fried chocolate candy-coated bacon

Ew. Fried bacon covered in chocolate.

The Snooze List: Not-So-Exciting Normal Stuff

Fried potato twist

I don’t know what this is, but it sounds… potato-y. The description says it’s a “potato concoction,” which doesn’t say much.

Deep fried red velvet cupcake

Red velvet cupcakes. Fried. That’s about it.

Pulled pork sliders

Eh. Normal. There’s better stuff at the fair. LIKE DEEP FRIED TRES LECHES CAKE. Eat and prosper, guys. Eat and prosper. And please don’t count your calories.


  • Milk&Cookies

    Would you please do a write-up of the healthy
    food stands?

  • Stacy

    Hey, Milk&Cookies – I read that Good Karma is going to be in the Food and Fiber Bldg…they are veg and gluten free.
    My old standard had always been Caribbean Foods in the Food Court with their non-fried veg patty with a salad…I missed them very much last year. I hope they will be back this year.

  • Milk&Cookies

    Thank you Stacy. I know the fried stuff is fun for
    peeps no judging there, it’s just right for me.
    All the PR for it makes it seem the fair is not
    for me, so I appreciate your input.

  • Milk&Cookies, I’m planning to scope out healthy food options for a later post.

  • The “Mega Truck”, otherwise known as the combination of SlushWorks & Good Karma, will be in the Food and fiber Pavilion. I wrote about it here:

  • Milk&Cookies

    Thank you Carol and George! I like to try fun new
    treats too am just on a different path.

  • Annie

    Last time we went we got Borden milk for a dollar in the Food and Fiber building, along with lots of free samples that practically made a meal. Of course, that was a couple of years ago…

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  • Fair-a-holic

    If you get to the fair before 11, try a breakfast taco at the Desperados booth near the Coliseum. Fresh eggs and potatoes in a plain flour tortilla. Love the guys who own it. Often, their mom is there, too.

    Somewhere near the Gateway Plaza, you can get fresh apple wedges with caramel sauce and chopped nuts. They core the apple right in front of you.

    Check out the Vitamix demo in The Grand Place building. Healthy smoothies for sampling all day long. The shpiel is always entertaining. Plus AC and chairs for resting.

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  • cb_foodie

    Carol, Do you have booth numbers so we can find these things? It’s always sensory overload, and I end up wandering around without finding the good stuff.

  • Paul

    I tried the fried jambalaya at the Fair yesterday and thought it was quite tasty, but was surprised by the small serving. Its basically the size of a hushpuppy and you get exactly one for your $4.00. I wasn’t expecting a plateful, but still . . . You’ll definitely need to follow it up with a Fletcher’s corn dog!

  • GrapeHeart

    Fried food at the fair if just plain fun. My husband and I went opening day and he had the Fried Jambalaya and I had the fried pepperoni pizza which apparently didn’t make the cut of frieds. He said the Jambalaya was pretty great but enjoyed the fried pizza more. The fried pizza was pretty huge…about the size of a salad plate and pretty scary looking. You know those little crispy bits at the bottom of the frying pan after you have fried chicken? It looked like a one of those but enormous and flat. They do give you a knife and fork because that would be the only way to go. By the way, Paul is right on target with the size of the Fried Jambalaya. We also thought it resembled at hushpuppy. By the way, we didn’t get the picnic presentation glamour that is in Carol’s photo (all the photos are great by the way). Just a little ball in a paper boat with a tiny drizzle of sauce on the bottom of the boat. In fact it was more like a smear. Don’t get me wrong. He said he would buy it again but with a side of Fried Pizza. We were also watching what others bought to eat and it looked to me like the corny dog is still King of Fair Foods. Happy munching!

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  • Eastside

    I agree with cb_foodie. I need a guide to where this stuff is. We always get there and I get extreme tiredhead and want to give up. The booklet at the fair rarely has the info in it. Sometimes they only mention where one or two are. Does anyone know if the Doritos taco in the bag thing is back this year? That was yum.

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