Sorry, Your Heart. It's time for the State Fair of Texas Big Tex Choice Awards. Finalists were just announced. Here's the list, plus a little about the history of some of this year's competitors.
The eight finalists for the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards (in no particular fried order):
Deep Fried Jambalaya This one's from Abel Gonzales (AKA Fried Butter and Fried Coke and Fried Cookie Batter Guy), so it's definitely one to try. Dude has a history of knowing what the heck he's doing at a fryer. His fried jambalaya is shrimp and Cajun sausage coated in lightly seasoned flour and FRIED. FRY IT!! Served with a side of "made in house" spicy ranch sauce.
Chicken Fried Cactus Bites Butch Benavides brings you prickly pear cactus, thinly sliced, chicken battered and FRIED, BITCHES! IN A FRYER!! Served with a combination of sweet and spicy secret jalapeño ranch (it tells the sweetest secrets, you guys) and agave nectar dipping sauce.
Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll And unless this press release is telling me wrong (or unless there are two people named "Butch Benavides" at the fair, which wouldn't really be a shock) it looks like Butch Benavides isn't just bringing you cactus bites -- he's also in the finalists for this entry, as the creator of fried bacon cinnammon rolls. We need to hug this dude. He takes a cinnamon roll dipped in a special sweet pancake batter, rolls that in crispy FRIED BACON BACON BACON FRIED BACON AHMAHGAD FRIED BACON crumbles, then he throws that in a fryer and FRIES IT and then sprinkles it with powdered sugar. My heart just had a stroke.
Deep-Fried Divine Chocolate Tres Leches Cake This treat makes complete sense as a follow-up to Denise Garza's entry in this competition last year: the fried brownie. A slice of chocolate tres leches cake soaked in buttermilk batter, and FUH. RIED, YOU GUYS. A light sprinkle of cinnamon, topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices and peaches are drizzled with a yummy syrup. Blam.
Deep Fried Mac-N-Cheese Slider Wait -- you fried mac and cheese and then you put it on a burger. Uh. OK, I'LL EAT THAT SO HARD WITH MY FACE. Steve Velasquez's three-cheese mac is baked until golden brown, battered in bread crumbs, THEN HE FRIES IT. Then he puts that on a slider bun with a griddled beef patty. Then you go, "I will trade you all of my money for this now please thank you."
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Fried Mexican Fire Crackers Nick Bert, winner of Best Taste in 2010 for his fried Frito pie, brings you "a yummy, spicy chicken, cheese and jalapeño mix wrapped in fresh-made masa dough and deep fried to a crispy, crunchy, explosion of flavor." FRY IT!!!!!!!!!
Fried Pork Wing Isaac Rousso brought you fried Pop Tarts in the past and fried salsa last year. This year, it looks like he's going the savory route again. Here's the description: "This juicy morsel is slow cooked for six hours then lightly deep fried, rolled and tossed in a smoked bacon chipotle glaze. Accompanied by old-school homemade potato chips lightly dusted in barbecue seasoning, it's a sure crowd pleaser." I'm not sure what "old-school" potato chips are, but as long as they're fried, we're good.
Picnic on a Stick Alan Weiss is last year's winner in the Big Tex Choice Awards for Best Taste, with his fried chicken flapjacks. Apparently, breakfast-on-a-stick wasn't enough, so now he's bringing you a whole picnic on a stick. Press release says, "Pieces of delicious spicy fried chicken alternate tater tots and slices of dill pickle. Repeated three times on a stick then dipped in batter, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried until golden brown," FRIED AND HOLY CRAP THAT'S A LOT OF PICKLES, "this picnic wouldn't be complete without its choice of BBQ sauce, ranch, or honey mustard. BYO ants." But, seriously -- don't bring your own ants to the fair. That's fucking nasty.
These finalists will compete for fried glory on Labor Day, and we'll be there tweeting "FRIED" at you a lot. So, be sure to follow City of Ate on Twitter if you like that kind of thing. Good luck, finalists. May the fried gods smile upon you all.