2013 Texas State Fair Announces Eight Fried Food Finalists

via http://deepfriedcubanroll.com/

Oh hot diggity gut. It’s already that time of year again – that time when we give up our diets and healthy eating habits for the love of fried food. Yes, folks, the Texas State Fair is right around the corner. Expand your belts. It’s gonna be quite a ride this year.

This morning, the 2013 Big Tex Choice awards announced its eight finalists. Before these lucky sonovaguns were selected, they had to submit a proposal and cook their goodies in front of a judging panel. It’s good to see that some of the veterans are back. Abel Gonzales, creator of the 2012 “Best Taste” award-winning deep fried jambalaya, is back with his new creation: deep fried nutella. And Butch Benavides, who took the State Fair by storm last year with his “Most Creative” deep fried bacon cinnamon roll, has made a fried fireball this time. Let’s take a look at the contenders.

Awesome Deep Fried Nutella® – Nutella is whipped with cream cheese, spread over Phyllo dough, then fried. Honey and shaved almonds top this creation. (Abel Gonzales, winner of 2012’s Best Taste award for his deep fried jambalaya.)

Deep Fried Cuban Roll – Pork shoulder, chopped ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and sauce all mixed together in a pastry dough. Fried. Served with a special mojo sauce. (Isaac Rousso, inventor of the deep fried pork wings from last year’s competition.)

Fernie’s Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole –Texas-shaped fried creation with melted cheese on the inside. Comes with color-dyed tortilla chips that remind you of the Texas state flag. Creamy queso comes on the side for dipping purposes. (Christi Erpillo of The Dock, the same woman who makes my favorite deep fried grilled cheese sandwich.)

Fried Thanksgiving Dinner – A ball of house-made stuffing and diced turkey, then dipped into southern creamed corn and rolled with corn meal. Fried and served with brown gravy. (Justin and Rudy Martinez)

Golden Fried Millionaire Pie – Basically, this fried pie is filled to the brim with cream cheese, pineapple, and Texas pecans. It’s topped with whipped cream, coconut flakes, and more pecans. (Nick Bert Jr. of Bert Concessions)

 Spinach Dip Bites – Fried bites stuffed with creamy spinach artichoke. Crusted with tortilla chips and served with salsa. Very Tex-Mex-y. (Mark and Norman Zable)

Southern Style Chicken-Fried Meatloaf – Your mama’s favorite meatloaf coated in breading, then fried. Comes with garlic mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, and a dipping glaze. (Clint Probst of Crazy Otto’s)

Texas Fried Fireball – Not to be confused with last year’s deep fried firecracker. Butch Benavides combines pimento cheese, pickles, cayenne pepper, and bacon into a ball. He covers it in buttermilk and batter, then deep fries the whole shebang. A side of chipotle ranch is served for some dipping action. (Butch Benavides, winner of 2012’s Most Creative award for his deep fried bacon cinnamon roll.)