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Food On TV

Watch This Now: A&E Debuts Its State Fair of Texas TV Show, Deep Fried Dynasty

The new series delves into the deep fryer and follows the fair’s myriad food vendors.
By Alice Laussade |
It may be March, cold, and rainy, but we’ve got State Fair of Texas on the brain. Check out the new show on A&E that highlights the fried food of the iconic fair. Bret Redman

We know you’re just like us and you have Google alerts set for “holy crap” and “funnel cake,” so you’ve obviously already heard that tonight is the series premiere of Deep Fried Dynasty, a show exclusively featuring concessionaires from our great State Fair of Texas. It’ll be just like the Real Housewives of Dallas, plus some fryers, minus some Botox. (Until they fry the Botox, of course. Mark my words: If they can deep fry I-35, they can deep fry a med spa.)

The A&E series debuts tonight, March 8, with back-to-back episodes starting at 9 p.m. We’ll be dispatching weekly recaps as each powdered-sugar-fueled episode airs.

In the promo for the show, Abel Gonzales calls himself “Fried Jesus” (a name I made up for him in 2011, which he seems to like). Concessionaires laugh as they bring in stacks of cash. Some of your favorite Big Tex Choice Awards winners are featured. It’s a breath of fresh fryer air grease.

Before we watch the premiere, let’s review the cast of characters you’ll see tonight and as Deep Fried Dynasty progresses.

Christi Erpillo and Johnna McKee

If you don’t know Christi Erpillo yet, she’s about to become your Dream Grandma. Her family started Fernie’s Funnel Cakes, the first stand to bring funnel cakes to the State Fair of Texas. Since then, her family has grown up covered in powdered sugar for generations. Deep-Fried Legacy: Fernie’s Deep Fried Peaches & Cream, Fernie’s Fried Club Salad, and (my favorite item from the most recent Big Tex Choice Awards) Fernie’s Deep Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake (our D Magazine bracket winner!)

Abel Gonzales

Abel has won the Big Tex Choice Awards five times and is the only person on this show with a Seinfeld reference in his business name. Gonzales is the proprietor of two Vandalay Industries booths at the State Fair of Texas. Deep-Fried Legacy: Fried Coke, Fried Butter, Fried Cookie Dough, Deep-Fried PBJ & Banana

Brent and Juan Reaves

With four booths at the State Fair of Texas, The Reaves brothers are second-generation owners of Smokey John’s BBQ. You know them for frying everything from Jell-O to hamburgers. They’ve had so many of your fried food favorites at their booth over the years that they can’t even serve all of their hits anymore. Deep-Fried Legacy: Fried Jell-O, Fried Reese’s, Deep-Fried Bacon-Burger-Dog Slider On A Stick

Rick and Tammy Stiffler

They have nine booths at the fair, including “Stiffler’s Mom’s Cookie Factory.” And they’ve been contenders at the Big Tex Choice Awards since forever. Deep-Fried Legacy: Fried S’Mores, Fried Oreos, Fried Snickers

Chef Cassy Jones

Chef Cassy’s Creations sells her signature Deep-Fried Collard Greens, and if you haven’t tried these yet, you better figure your life out. Deep-Fried Legacy: Deep-Fried Collard Greens, Fried Alligator Eggs Nest, Honey Pecan Chicken Wings

Tammie Jo Nevins-Mayes and Josie Mayes

Tammi Jo and Josie run nine Nevins’ Concessions booths at the State Fair of Texas, where you can find your safe-but-important fair food staples like corn dogs, buttered corn on the cob, tater twisters and cheeseburgers. Deep-Fried Legacy: Meat-On-A-Stick

Clint and Gretchen Probst

Clint and Gretchen run two booths at the State Fair of Texas: Gulf Coast Grill, and Crazy Otto’s. You’ll remember them as the fine folks who brought Deep Fried I-35 into the multiverse. Deep-Fried Legacy: Deep-Fried Shrimp Boil

Brett “Juicy” Enright

Enright’s stands are more like a traveling circus, as they pop up at fairs all around the country. Deep-Fried Legacy: “Outlaw” burgers and Texas-sized turkey legs.

Deep Fried Dynasty airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on A&E. Come back here every Wednesday for Alice Laussade’s recaps.


Alice Laussade

Alice Laussade

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