State Fair Of Texas: Big Tex Choice Awards Competition Heats Up

Big Tex Choice Awards

The State Fair of Texas has announced eight finalists for the coveted Big Tex Choice Awards. Now the fiery competition is heating up! Finalists are fine tuning their fried food skills for August 28 and the big announcement of this year’s two winning entries.

The State Fair is celebrating more than a decade of fried food decadence. Partnering with the Dallas Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, they will present the winning culinary creations at 2 p.m. at the Tower Building for the 12th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards.

Fairgoers had a behind-the-scenes look into the annual event with the unveiling of the exclusive list of semifinalists. The original creations of 34 concessionaires were chosen to continue on to the tasting round. There they were evaluated on four finalist-worthy elements: uniqueness, creativity, presentation, and of course, taste.

With an impressive 55 entries to choose from this year, only the eight most delicious (or different) dishes earned the right to be tested by the celebrity judges. Even if an entry didn’t make the final cut, concessionaires can still choose to introduce their creation as a “new food” during this year’s fair.

The State Fair of Texas announced these finalists will compete for the titles of Best Taste and Most Creative in the 2016 Big Tex Choice Awards:

Caribbean Pineapple Korn-a-Copia by Stephen Alade

Bringing a taste of Caribbean flare to the Fair, this dish stands out among the rest with its profile of fresh flavors. Marinated grilled chicken and shrimp are served over a bed of yellow Caribbean fried rice and topped with a tropical salsa and pineapple rum glaze. Served in a pineapple half shell, this Korn-a-Copia will have you ready for a day at the beach… or a day the Fair!

Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider on a Stick by Brent & Juan Reaves

Meat lovers are in for a treat with this tantalizing triple threat. A miniature, handmade seasoned ground beef patty is stuffed with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and an all-beef hot dog on a Hawaiian roll. It is then placed on a skewer topped with a pickle, dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried to perfection. Every Bacon Burger Dog is served on a bed of shoestring fries with ranch dipping sauce.

Deep Fried Pulled Pork “FUNYUN®” Dings by Chris Howard

Putting a tasty spin on a pantry staple, the unique combination of flavors in this deep fried dish create the perfect balance of sweet and savory. A “FUNYUN,” the traditional crunchy snack, is stuffed with pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, pineapple slices and bacon. It is then dipped in a flavorful batter and deep fried. Each order is served with a multilayered sweet BBQ sauce.

Fernie’s Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac ‘n Cheese Dip by Christi Erpillo

Two classic American comfort foods, one mouth-watering meal! This ultimate taste extravaganza starts with a savory cream sauce chock-full of shredded roasted chicken breast, tender diced white potatoes, sweet carrots, peas, corn and a special blend of herbs and spices. This hearty filling is ladled into fresh, flaky pastry dough and then gently folded “hot pocket” style. Each bite of the deep fried, golden brown, buttery crust is bursting with a savory sauce of chicken and veggies. Pure down-home goodness! Served with a side of mac ‘n cheese-inspired dip, this unique sharp cheddar sauce creates a tantalizing flavor combination.

Fried Jell-O® by Ruth Hauntz

Big Tex Choice Awards Fried Jello

For the first time in Big Tex Choice Awards history, America’s favorite childhood dessert is given a State Fair of Texas twist! A classic cherry-flavored Jell-O in a panko-crusted breading, flash-fried to perfection, and then dusted with powdered sugar. Prepared with a tasty topping of whipped cream and a cherry garnish, this dish has the perfect amount of crunch to compliment the jiggle.

Injectable Great Balls of BBQ by Glen Kusak

Smoke-crusted BBQ beef brisket is hand shredded with bock BBQ sauce and molded to form balls. The ball of beef is then breaded with seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried to a crispy perfection. Served on top of a bed of coleslaw, each order comes with its own pipette of bock BBQ sauce to be injected into the brisket balls. Guaranteed to be a perfectly succulent bite every time.

Southern Fried Chicken & Dumplins by Clint Probst

Putting a modern twist on a traditional Deep South favorite, this southern fried dish is a two-in-one hit! Juicy shredded chicken is mixed with bits of signature seasonings, dough and a touch of gravy. This decadent mixture is then rolled into balls, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried golden brown! Served with fried “biscuit bites” and a side of gravy, this dish is truly comfort food heaven!

State Fair Cookie Fries by Isaac Rousso

Big Tex Choice Awards Cookie Fries

A unique play on America’s favorite savory side dish. The cookie fry may look like it needs ketchup, but don’t be fooled by the classic crinkle-cut appearance. Offered in traditional cookie flavors like chocolate chip or sprinkles, these sweet treats are served with your choice of the accompanying strawberry or milk chocolate sauce. Just consider it an undercover cookie in fry-form disguise.

Mark your calendar for the 12th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards on Sunday, August 28 at 2 p.m. in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Get your ticket today and be one of the first people to get a taste of the 2016 food finalists. Tickets are available online for $100, with a limited amount of seats available. Don’t miss out on the fun – buy your ticket now before they’re gone!

All proceeds from the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony will be donated to the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program.

Over its 24 year history, the Youth Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to more than 1,800 students for a total of more than $8.7 million. Eligible recipients include graduating high school seniors from around the state of Texas who have competed in State Fair livestock events, as well as graduating seniors from five Fair Park area schools – Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, James Madison, Lincoln, North Dallas and Woodrow Wilson High Schools. Due to the event’s charitable cause, a portion of each ticket is tax-deductible.



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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.