The 2018 State Fair Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists Are...

August 15, 2018

Let the deep fried food frenzy begin!!!

Just two weeks ago, the State Fair of Texas announced the semi-finalist lineup for the 2018 Big Tex Choice Awards. Today, they've narrowed it down to the best of the best.

In the running for Best Taste - Savory...

  • Deep Fried Shepherd’s Pie by Clint Probst - this is a combination of mashed potatoes loaded with shredded cheddar cheese and cream, filled with Grandma's shepherd's pie recipe, of ground beef, mixed veggies, and rich beef gravy.
  • Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat by Tom Grace - take buttery skillet potatoes griddled to a golden brown, add diced, griddled breakfast sausage patties, then wrap it around a mini Babybel® cheese. Upon assembly, it's rolled in a special seasoned flour and put in the fryer. Once they're done, they're served up in the potato skins they came from and topped with melted cheddar and crispy bacon bites with a cream chipotle sauce is drizzled across the top and served on the side for dipping.
  • Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce by Winter Family Concessions - combine the classic ingredients of creamy, nutty black-eyed peas, fluffy white rice, spicy smoked sausage, aromatic green onions, and a secret blend of special spices with bread crumbs and eggbeaters and formed into a generous Texas-sized cake. Dip in flour and panko bread crumbs then deep fry for that crispy exterior. Before serving, top with a zingy black-eyed pea relish, garnished with pickled okra, and served with a side of Jackpot Sauce.
  • Texas Fried Hill Country by Justin & Rudy Martinez - this dish is fried mozzarella complimented with locally-grown basil, sandwiched between two slices of juicy green tomatoes, and hand-breaded with seasoned breadcrumbs and flash fried to gooey perfection. Each dish is served on a bed of field greens, finished with balsamic drizzle and sweet local Texas honey.
  • Texas Twang-kie by Chris & Sherry Howard - it's cornbread cake baked to moist perfection, hollowed out, and filled with a culinary masterpiece of Tex-Mex grilled chicken white bean chili! Each twang-kie is served with cornbread fries and more chili for dipping.

In the running for Best Taste - Sweet...

  • Arroz con Leche (Sweet Crispy Rice) by the Garza Family - a cinnamon-spiced rice ball...battered, coated in crispy puffed rice cereal, then deep fried. While warm, it gets a sprinkling of powdered vanilla and a Texas-sized scoop of vanilla ice cream, served with a side of caramel sauce and powdered cinnamon crowns.
  • Cotton Candy Taco by Justin & Rudy Martinez - This sweet s'more creation begins with a graham cracker waffle cone shaped like a taco which get a coating of marshmallow glaze, stuffed with chocolate, toasted marshmallow, and organic cane sugar cotton candy, topped off with chocolate cookie crumbles and two chocolate cream-covered biscuit sticks with marshmallows.
  • Fernie’s Orange You Glad We Fried It?! by Winter Family Concessions - layers of moist chiffon orange cake, dairy-fresh whipped cream, and citrusy orange preserves are lightly blended to form a refreshing custard-like filling. The mixture is spooned into flaky puff pastry dough, folded turnover style, and sealed with a pastry crimper. The pastry is quickly fried and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Each dish is served dipping sauces and garnished with a double citrus twist slice.
  • State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream by Tom Landis - it's funnel cake meets ice cream! Created by Howdy Homemade, this super premium ice cream has funnel cake flavor infused into it with funnel cake pieces and powdered sugar mixed throughout, and on top of, the dish. It is available with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and strawberry sauce.
  • Sweet Bakin’ Bacon by Ed & Eddie Campbell - A cream-filled sponge cake is wrapped in savory bacon and then dipped in a funnel cake batter. The treat is deep fried until golden brown and dusted with powdered sugar to finish.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!! They all sound amazing! And of course one of these lucky creators will take home the Most Creative Award!

Now, here's the deal, you can taste test all these goodies on Sunday, August 26 at 2PM. The eatin' goes down at the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Tickets will be available online at for $125, with a limited number of seats available.