Jess Pryles

Fond artery-hardening memories of the State Fair of Texas

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If you can eat it, they can fry it. Renowned for some of the most obscene culinary creations known to man, here’s a look at the State Fair or Texas.

I finally got to tick another “Texas must do” off my list this year by visiting the State Fair up in Dallas. It’s known for Big Tex (a beloved but incredibly creepy 50 foot talking statue), the Oklahoma Vs Texas Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl (OU still suck, FYI), and the barf-inducing rides of the Midway. It’s actually not at all that different from the Royal Shows we have in Australia, prized livestock, a petting zoo for kids, a baking and sewing competition and other hallmarks of a classic Agricultural show.

These days, the most famous drawcard of the Fair is without doubt the fried food. Not just regular carnie food, I’m talking a menu so obscene even Homer Simpson might struggle. The list of new foods is released each year, with journalists scrambling to write up the “must tries” of the season (and tell you the ones to avoid). Previous creations include deep fried Margarita, deep fried beer, french fry coated hot dog, deep fried cheesecake and well, you get the idea. And yes, they’ve even fried a salad…what a waste of perfectly good batter!

Previous years winners are proudly showcased in the dining hall
Previous years winners are proudly showcased in the dining hall

In order to sample as many of these golden masterpieces as possible, I definitely recommend adopting a 1-2 bite policy and pacing yourself. Here are some of the bites I tried:

fried cheese curds
fried cheese curds
fried seasoned olives served with ranch
fried seasoned olives served with ranch
fried pizza – yes, an entire battered slice
fried pizza – yes, an entire battered slice
fried biscuit stuffed with cream gravy
fried biscuit stuffed with cream gravy
fried egg roll stuffed with smoked barbecue brisket
fried egg roll stuffed with smoked barbecue brisket
fried cookie dough – the stuff your hangover dreams of
fried cookie dough – the stuff your hangover dreams of

This is about the point I ran out of steam and couldn’t face another bite. I suppose this just means I’ll have to go back next year and try harder.

For now, let me leave you with what was perhaps the most impressive edible (albeit not for sale) sight at the Fair, this strangely detailed horse butt made entirely out of butter.

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By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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