Who will take the cake? Here are the top 10 finalists of the Texas State Fair Food competition


From duck dumplings to fried coffee cake, the 10 finalists for the 17th Big Tex Choice Awards offer a picture of the state – and a little something for everyone’s taste buds.

The judges will choose the best salty dish and the best sweet dish. There will also be a prize for the most creative entry.

Tangy selections include fried seafood okra dumplings, crispy crazy corn, and the fried I-35 – a deep-fried kolache topped with smoked brisket and Dr. Pepper BBQ frosting.

On the sweeter side, finalists include the brisket brisket, Texas pumpkin poke cake and armadillo, a buttery cookie ice cream sandwich.

A panel of famous judges will award the best dishes based on creativity, presentation and taste. The winners will be crowned on August 29.

Here’s a look at the 10 finalists:

Fried Halloween, Isaac Rousso

Texas State Fair®

This treat experience begins with a chewy pretzel that’s fried and bathed in sweet corn syrup, followed by rainbow nuggets and powdered sugar. Then it’s topped with an orange and white buttercream frosting and stacked with some of your favorite Halloween candy. Finished with a marshmallow whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate and caramel sauce.

Crispy Crazy Corn, Ruth Hauntz

Crispy Crazy Corn

Texas State Fair®

The whole kernel sweet corn is individually breaded, fried and sprinkled with a ‘secret seasoning’. These crispy gold nuggets are then topped with slowly smoked pulled pork, a tangy pineapple salad, a drizzle of freshly made jalapeño cream and a generous pinch of fresh cilantro.

The Armadillo, James Barrera

The Armadillo

Texas State Fair®

A cookie butter ice cream sandwich with cookie butter semifreddo made from scratch – an Italian version of ice cream. The treat is drizzled with cookie butter and sandwiched between two fried armadillo-shaped cookies made with a branding iron. Finally, it is sprinkled with buttery sugar.

Pork shots, Glen and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller’s

Pork Shots

Texas State Fair®

This fair food starts with a smoked sausage wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon and filled with creamy mac and cheese. It is then sprinkled with a “secret, sweet and spicy” barbecue coating.

Brisket Brisket, Ruth Hauntz

Brittle chest

Texas State Fair®

The buttery, crunchy and sweetness of old-fashioned peanut brittle – but replace the peanuts with Texas smoked brisket. This sweet but tasty treat ends with a hint of heat.

Dumplin Lucky Duck, Bert Concessions

Lucky Duck Dumplin

Texas State Fair®

A pastry filled with cream cheese, mixed with duck bacon and delicately roasted sweet corn, with a pinch of herbs and spices, then fried until golden and crispy. Three Lucky Duck Dumplins are served with a “mild and slightly spicy” Thai chili frosting.

Fernie’s Coffee Crispy Fried Caramel Cake, Winter Family Concessions

Fernie's Crispy Coffee and Fried Caramel Cake

Dick Patrick

Lightly glazed old-fashioned cake fritters, broken into chunks and mixed with baking pieces of butter, toffee, crunchy almonds and custard. The cakes are dipped in an egg product and covered with panko and vanilla cookie crumbs, then fried until golden brown. It is served with powdered sugar, pieces of caramel and a dollop of mocha coffee whipped cream.

Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, Gourmet Royale

Fried seafood okra balls

Texas State Fair®

According to a family recipe handed down for four generations, the meatballs are filled with Gulf Coast shrimp, simmered chicken, blue crab meat and andouille sausage. Then they are rolled in a cracker and a batter of breadcrumbs and fried. Served with a dark red okra sauce for dipping and garnished with chicken fried okra spears.

Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake, Michelle Edwards

Piece of Texas-shaped cake with a drizzle of caramel on top and two tablespoons of whipped cream on each side.

Texas State Fair®

A Texas-shaped pumpkin cake with a sticky vanilla frosting, caramel, topped with fluffy whipped cream and lightly dusted with secret spices.

Fried I-35, Clint and Gretchen Probst

I-35 fried

Texas State Fair®

The Kolache paste is deep fried and topped with smoked beef brisket and a homemade BBQ frosting made with peach juice and Dr. Pepper. It’s topped with sliced ​​peaches and a pinch of powdered sugar.

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