In a huge upset this morning, Deep Fried Buc-ee’s did not make it into the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards Finals. The result fractured the current timeline of the State-Fair-of-Texasverse, and it’s unclear what the future holds for Big Tex. Even more frightening, Deep Fried Charcuterie Board is vying for the title of Best Savory in the finals: We have chosen fanciness over beaver nuggets. For this, there will surely be consequences.
Also missing from the finals are Abel Gonzales (AKA Fried Jesus) and Christi Erpillo, two concessionaires who brought Fried Coke and Fried Peaches to the competition, paving the way for this generation of fried competitors.
Will the State Fair of Texas be the same, now that we have chosen charcuterie over beaver nuggs? Will Big Tex be wearing a Vineyard Vines shirt and talking about Bitcoin? Will people be putting ketchup on their Fletcher’s corny dogs? One thing’s for sure: This list of fried finalists had turned The State Fair of Texas world upside down.
Here is your complete list of finalists in the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards. And a gallery for you to see them all:
Warning: The photos of the items in the savory category could be triggering to some viewers. I’m not sure what happened this year, exactly, but the savory dishes all look very intense. Except the Explosion nachos. The nachos look great.
Chicharron Explosion Nachos, Glen & Sherri Kusak
It’s pork rinds with beef fajita meat, queso, and topped with “beef barbeque.”
Deep Fried BLT, Tom Grace
Kind of. They put cheese and bacon on a tortilla, fold it so it’s shaped like a Hot Pocket. Then, they fry that, cut it in half and sandwich the lettuce, tomato, and mayo in between the two Hot Pocket halves.
Deep Fried Lasagna Roll, Parish Family
It’s fried lasagna. Plus, you get a side of zucchini fries. This could be the best hangover prevention yet.
Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes & Josey Mayes
Mozzarella, salami, and crisp green apples are tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs. That gets wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried to a golden crisp before it’s topped with creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of hot honey.
Holy Biscuit, Isaac Rousso
“This mouth-watering Southern explosion” is a biscuit topped with brisket and street corn queso. Plus bacon. Plus honey. Plus “crispy pickle French fries.” (Isaac is a tough competitor here. Watch out for this one. Past wins in this competition include Cookie Fries, Smoky Bacon Margarita, Deep Fried Cuban Roll, and Fried Pop Tarts.)
Cha-Cha Chata, Garza Family
Frozen Horchatathat they dust “with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites.” Plus, it has a churro straw? Feels like they buried the lead on this one. This one is super Instagrammable and portable. If it tastes good, it could take home the win.
La Bluebonnet, Milton & Grace Whitley
“Citrus juices,” blueberries and sugar are blended and poured over ice with an “optional lemon-mint-berry twist.” (Was really hoping Tito’s had sponsored this one.)
Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream®, Cody & Lauren Hays
They’re deep-frying fudge, drizzled with chocolate syrup, condensed milk, marshmallows, chopped nuts and powdered sugar. Then they give you a Blue Bell Ice Cream cup with it. It looks hella delicious.
Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter & Nicole Sternes
Deep fry a honey bun, then inject it with caramel and top it with peanut butter. Add Reese’s Pieces, Butterfinger crumbles, peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel, and powdered sugar. (Warning: Does not come with a beverage of any kind.)
The Ultimate Brookie Monster, Juan & Brent Reaves
Chocolate cookies, Oreos, and marshmallows. Then cover that in brownie batter and bake. THEN #FRYIT. Add powdered sugar, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce. (The Reaves Brothers are the brains behind Fried Jell-O, they brought you Deep Fried Bacon Burger On A Stick, and Big Red Chicken Bread. This Brookie is one to watch.)
On August 28, winners will be crowned in the categories of Best Taste – Savory, Best Taste – Sweet, and Most Creative. The 2022 State Fair of Texas will open on Friday, September 30, and will run through Sunday, October 23, 2022. Start jogging now.