The most outrageous state fair foods

Nothing says America like a wholesome state fair. And what’s more wholesome – or American – than filling your gullet with mounds of fried, sticky, salty, and/or sweet junk foods?

Beyond the carnival rides and the livestock judging contests, state fairs have always served as quasi-laboratories for American-style street food. In fact, the now-ubiquitous corn dog was first introduced to the public in the early 1940s at a state fair, though which one is still up for debate. The Texas State Fair, aka the “Fried Food Capital of Texas®”, and the Minnesota State Fair both lay claim to this distinctly American treat.

Each year, state fair food vendors try to outdo each other – and intrigue the crowds – with new belly-busting concoctions, usually inspired by local fare. For instance, dairy state Iowa features a deep-fried stick of butter at the Iowa State Fair, while the Texas State Fair has served up fried cookie dough and fried beer. The bigger and more artery-clogging the better when it comes to state fair foods. Here is just a sampling of some of the state fair foods Gadling found to be truly outrageous.


Photo of the day (8.26.10)

County fairs are full of good old-fashioned fun. Where else can you see a tractor pull, eat nothing but deep-fried foods, see carnies in their native habitats, and admire the area’s finest livestock, all in a day? This photo from the Nicollet County Fair in Minnesota by mlmartense is titled “the surly llama” but I get more of a coquettish, even cunning, vibe. It’s as if the llama alpaca has big plans for me to follow. Actually, llamas and alpacas are quite docile and gentle creatures often used as therapy animals as they have a calming effect on people. Looking into this fella’s eyes, I can see how an hour of feeding and hugging a llama or alpaca could be an excellent form of therapy.

Have you taken an evocative animal photo in your travels? Upload it to our Gadling Flickr pool (make it downloadable, please!) and it could be a future Photo of the Day.

UPDATED: It turns out this charming creature is, in fact, an alpaca and not a llama. Apologies to any pack animals offended by the mix up.

State Fair of Texas fried food finalists include fried beer and fried Frito pie

Every year, the food vendors at state fairs around the nation compete to come up with the most over-the-top fried food product.

The Texas State Fair is one of the most creative, and the list of finalists in this years Big Tex Choice Award are both mouthwatering and revolting at the same time. The Dallas Morning News picked the 8 best new foods at the fair, and will vote for a winner on Labor Day. The Fair itself opens on September 24.

The eight finalists:

  1. Deep fried s’mores Pop-Tart – deep fried chocolate, peanut butter and s’mores Pop-Tart, battered and served with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
  2. Fried beer – beer filled battered and fried pretzel pocket.
  3. Deep fried frozen maragarita – margarita flavored funnel cake served in a salt rimmed glass
  4. Fried chocolate – candy bar and cherry stuffed inside a brownie, dipped in chocolate cake batter and fried. Served with cherry sauce and chocolate whipped cream.
  5. Fried lemonade – lemon flavored pastry baked and fried served with lemonade glaze.
  6. Fernie’s fried club salad – 12″ spinach wrap filled with ham, chicken, lettuce and tomatoes – deep fried and topped with croutons and served on a stick.
  7. Texas fried caviar – fried black eyed peas, served with “special sauce”.
  8. Texas fried Frito pie – traditional Texas Frito pie, battered and deep fried.


[Photo from Flickr/Traveling Fools of America]

Deep fried butter and pork chops as Texas State Fair food finalists

State fairs have long been the best destination for good carnival style food – kettle corn, ham and hot dogs have always been on offer, but in recent years, competition for the most insane food has heated up.

Things started with the Scottish invented deep fried candy bar, then people started deep frying Twinkies, cookies and other sweetness.

But more recently, vendors have gone to great lengths to compete for the most insane fried food imaginable. Deep fried bacon and deep fried PB&J sandwiches won’t really impress anyone anymore.

The Texas State Fair is where the best in deep fried delicacies are presented, and the current 8 finalists for this years contest have the ultimate in deep fried goodness.

Deep fried butter is the one that stands out, and it is exactly what the name describes; whipped sweetened butter, battered and deep fried. Served on a stick.

Other dishes include cherry peppers, filled with shredded chicken and guacamole, then battered and deep fried. Or, how about deep fried peaches and cream? You’ll find a full list of the finalists here.

For those of you with a good appetite, the Texas State Fair is held from September 25th till October 18th, in Fair Park, Dallas. Check out their site for a list of all the activities.

(Photo from Flickr – Robert S. Donovan)