Sampling the State Fair Foods, Part Four

The Observer this week set out to sample all the new fair foods that didn't make the Big Tex competition finals. Here, our favorites:

All photos by Stephen Masker

1. Pig poppers

Silly name aside, this dish is so startlingly well-composed that a restaurant could serve it without shame. The pig here is a thick-cased smoked Texan sausage wrapped in bacon; the canapés are bathed in a chipotle-brown sugar glaze, garnished with housemade candied jalapenos and served with a pillowy cheese biscuit. It's an ambitious dish that works.

2. Fried Juicy Lucy

Juicy Lucy hails from Minnesota, where an inspired 1950s bartender thought to seal cheese between two hamburger patties. Tradition calls for grilling the burger, but deep-frying's an innovation worthy of reputed inventor Matt Bristol. The fry amps up the textural contrast between the fabulously beefy, oozy patty and its deliciously salty crust.

3. Sliver Dogs

Cardiologists would no doubt warn their patients to not even stand near Sliver Dogs, a trashy bit of genius that's more coney than corny. The slivers are deep-fried hot dog wedges, sunk in sweet chili and doused with processed cheese sauce. It's ridiculous, and very, very Fair.

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