Welcome to the State Fair of Texas, where everything you can imagine is deep fried or paired with bacon. The State Fair of Texas is a legend in the game of crazy food creations. Every year, thousands of people flock to Fair Park to have their wildest food dreams fulfilled. This year it's my turn to be part of the flock.
As a Houston native turned Dallas area resident, everything I've ever heard about the crazy creations at the State Fair of Texas was secondary information. The extreme food enthusiast in me jumped at the chance to see and try these crazy creations for myself.
I decided to choose four of the craziest and most reasonably priced food creations at the fair and I volunteered my non-foodie friend Jenae to tackle them with me.
My goal was to tackle the members of the Big Tex Choice Awards list. A mixture of excitement and stomach pain flooded over me as I scrolled down the list. Members of this exclusive list include bacon wrapped churros, southern fried chicken & dumplin's, and Dorito bacon fried cheese sticks. Personally, I'm a sucker for anything covered in bacon, deep fried, or topped with ice cream, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little.
After hours of searching and two snack breaks, I finally narrowed down my list of crazy creations to try and their locations at the fair. My starting line up consisted of the Injectable Great Balls of BBQ, Fried Jambalaya, a Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato, and Fried Pecan Pie.
Injectable Great Balls of BBQ
The morning started pretty early for us and after a 2-hour train commute, Jenae and I were ready to dig into the first item we could find. After standing in a coupon line for thirty minutes, we finally allowed free our noses and stomachs to roam free.
The smell of BBQ hit us before we could walk into the tent for the Injectable Great Balls of BBQ. My excitement encountered my feelings of intimidation as we walked into the tent. The name itself reminded me that I was about to try one of the State Fair's craziest creations.
Two balls cost 16 coupons ($8), which originally struck me as a bit pricey. At first glance, the balls looked a little disappointing in size compared to the online pictures, but all my doubts disappeared after one bite. Brisket is a member of the holy food trinity of Texas, so I immediately felt blessed when I realized this fried ball was full of tender BBQ brisket.
Jenae welcomed the crispy brisket ball with open arms and felt a sudden rush of grief when the experience was over. The actual injector and average coleslaw were overshadowed by this Texas dream covered in a perfectly crisp coating. The overall Injectable Great Balls of BBQ experience left me seriously considering buying more.
Deep Fried Jambalaya:
I could feel my Louisiana blood bubbling at the sight of the Deep Fried Jambalaya sign. I couldn't decide on whether I should feel disrespected or intrigued. Growing up on cajun and creole food made it difficult for me to eat any cajun or creole food that didn't come from my family or straight from Louisiana.
This Deep Fried Jambalaya dish was the definition of stepping out of my comfort zone. Jenae convinced me to stay optimistic as I went for my first bite.
The lack of color in the rice was a huge turn off at first, but the distinctive taste of jambalaya was still present in the dish. Then again, I'm not sure if it was my low expectations or my actual taste buds, but I actually enjoyed the Deep Fried Jambalaya a little.
Oddly, our hunger increased after eating the balls. Could I have paid 14 tickets ($7) for something more desirable? Yes, but the experience was more about teaching myself a lesson.
The Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato
This potato answered all my baked potato related dreams. The shrimp missed the famous blackened look in regards to color, but the flavor alone could've made me eat this potato even if it was blue. Shrimp is the baked potato topping everyone is missing and the great people of Shrimp Doc are on a mission to raise awareness.I almost felt like I was stealing the potato for 20 tickets ($10). Unfortunately, this potato was too valuable to share, so Jenae watched as I dug in. The flavors of the Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato complimented each other so well. The buttery potato, gooey cheese, and salt crusted potato skin bring the shrimp flavors to life in a perfect mix. I would recommend eating this baked potato for "dinner" at the fair because the whole potato is very filling aka food coma inducing.
Fried Pecan Pie
I probably should have stopped after the Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato, but I couldn't complete my trip to the State Fair of Texas without a fried dessert. We decided to spend our last 14 tickets ($7) on something memorable.
The Fried Pecan Pie came fresh out the grease and topped with extra pecans. One bite of this fried pie was the equivalent of two Benadryls. It felt like a warm sweet blanket wrapping around our body.
The inside mimicked pecan pie filling down to the density. Every bite overflowed with pecans, which is hard to find in pecan dishes that are not homemade. Jenae and I had a debate over who got the last bite because both of us were too full to finish it.
The only sad part about this crazy creation is the absence of ice cream and the slothful feeling that develops while eating it. I'd definitely get this again at the fair, but probably not after a two-hour train ride, seven hours of walking, and Texas heat. Fried Pecan Pie feels like a cozy home and that's exactly where I wanted to go after eating it.
This isn't the first time I engulfed a mass amount of unhealthy food in a short time period, but I can tell my fried food adventures are catching up to me. My body was definitely shook by the time I made it home and ultimately decided to pay me back for the stomach abuse I inflicted.
Knowing your limit and getting enough sleep before this challenge is the best advice I could give. The State Fair of Texas earned a special place in my extreme food enthusiast heart while destroying my health at the same time.