State Fair of Texas

Deep-Fried Ranch and Lobster Pops: 2018's Big Tex Choice Award Semifinalists

Ready to eat, Dallas? The 2018 State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 21.
Ready to eat, Dallas? The 2018 State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 21. Kathy Tran
This morning, the State Fair of Texas announced the semifinalists for this year's Big Tex Choice Awards, a competition pitting vendors against each other to see who has the craziest (and tastiest) new dish for this year's fair, kicking off Sept. 28 at Fair Park. We hope you're ready to get deep-fried.

There were 49 entries this year, and 31 semifinalists were named in two categories: sweet and savory. We don't have photos or details about each dish just yet — we have so many questions about the Roll Tide and the Texas Twang-kie — but we do have names:

Corn Dog Ale
Deep Fried Bodacious Bacon Bombs
Deep Fried Chicken Tetrazzini Parmesana
Deep Fried Lobster Pops
Deep Fried Ranch
Deep Fried Shepherd's Pie
Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat
Fried Cup of Corn "Elotes"
Fried Kool-Aid® Pickles
Hoppin' John Cake with Jackpot Sauce
King Crispy Coconut Crab Sliders
Pico Frito (Deep Fried Pico de Gallo)
Southern Fried Chicken Nachos
Texas Fried Hill Country
Texas Twang-kie

Bacon Brittle
Cherish Erbert Champagne
Cotton Candy Taco
Deep Fried M&M's®
Deep Fried Raspberry Brie-ret
Frosty's Frozen Hot Chocolate
Fruity Dessert Nachos
Kool-Aid® Pickle-Dilly Sangria
Orange Julia's Beermosa
Orange You Glad We Fried It?!
State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream
Supra Stuffed Mini Sopapillas
Sweet Bakin' Bacon
Sweet Crispy Rice (Arroz con Leche)
Texas Thai Delight
The Roll Tide

Two obvious trends don't seem to be going away anytime soon: bacon and all things deep-fried. We also see a lot of dishes inspired by Mexican food (fried elotes, fried pico de gallo, mini sopapillas, arroz con leche) and even a dip into Thai cuisine with the Texas Thai Delight.

From here, a panel of judges will determine which dishes become finalists — announced in mid-August — and the top 10 entries will compete in the final round, with winners in both categories. Fair food fanatics can try all 10 finalists at the Big Tex Choice Awards, held 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Tower Building at Fair Park. Tickets are $125 each.

Last year's winners: the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger (our least favorite dish) won best savory and most creative, and the obscenely saccharine Gulf Coast Fish Bowl won in the sweet category. 
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin