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Attention all foodies: 2021 Big Tex Choice Awards semi-finalists have been chosen

Now’s the time to plan your culinary road trip
Source: State Fair of Texas
Source: State Fair of Texas(KLTV)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 2:15 PM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - Concessionaires are officially off to the races with a new lineup of incredible, edible innovations for the public to taste at the Fair this fall. The State Fair of Texas has announced its 32 Big Tex Choice Award semi-finalists, which will be featured during the fair’s run.

The 2021 lineup is bursting with flavor

SAVORY SEMI-FINALISTS

BACON JAM CORN BOMBS Crispy, savory, sweet – with a little bit of heat! Warm bacon jam is ladled over crispy corn hushpuppies, then complimented with a drizzle of ranch dressing and topped with homemade candied jalapeños.

COUNTRY FRIED SHRIMP GRITS Grits like you have never tasted before! Deliciously rich cooked grits are infused with shrimp and cheese, formed into squares, then dipped in a light egg wash and covered with a homemade batter, deep fried to perfection.

CRAWFISH ÉTOUFFÉE STUFFED TURKEY LEG This new Fair food comes from an old recipe that was a Louisiana favorite and brings your taste buds to life after just the first bite. We begin with a tried-and-true favorite, a slow smoked extra-large turkey leg. This juicy, tender leg is smoked extra-long to allow the meat to fall off the bone.

CRISPY CRAZY CORN Sweet whole kernel corn is individually battered, fried, and dashed with our secret seasoning. These crispy little gold nuggets alone make a great snack, but the heat turns up a notch when we add slowed-smoked pulled pork, topped with a tangy pineapple slaw, kissed with a drizzle of freshly made jalapeño crema and a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

DALLAS HOT The Texas heat can’t compete with Dallas Hot! A State Fair classic is reimagined to unveil a tasty union that’s hearty, cheesy, and packed with heat. A smoked turkey frank is dunked in a fiery seasoned batter and deep fried, then smothered with rich and creamy mac and cheese. It is topped with fried jalapeños and then drizzled with Cholula® for flavor that bites back!

DEEP FRIED I-35 Our Deep Fried I-35 is a deep-fried Texas road trip on a plate! We fry up our kolache dough, leaving a divot in the center for our filling. We top our fried kolache with smoked beef brisket. Our peach juice combines with the Dr Pepper® to make a sweet and tangy BBQ glaze which we drizzle over our brisket kolache.

DEEP FRIED SEAFOOD GUMBO BALLS Using a family recipe that has been handed down four generations, the base is a dark, rich, and savory roux that represents the true essence of New Orleans. The balls are then loaded with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage. The balls are then rolled in our saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter, then fried.

DEEP FRIED SHRIMP ÉTOUFFÉE If you’re looking for a concessionaire’s twist on a southern classic – this is it! Deep Fried Shrimp Étouffée is our twist on a seafood classic! A deep-fried dumpling filled with piping hot rice and juicy house seasoned shrimp is smothered in onion, celery, tomatoes, green peppers, and cheese. The fried treat is served with creole mustard or chipotle ranch.

FROZEN RANCH WATER One of the most popular cocktails in Texas is Ranch Water – a simple cocktail consisting of silver tequila, Topo Chico®, and fresh lime. The Original Frozen Ranch Water is sure to be most popular new adult beverage offered at the State Fair of Texas this year. Margaritas are between 700-1,000 calories – a Frozen Ranch Water has only a quarter of those calories and tastes just as great. Crisp and refreshing, it’s the perfect companion for sunny warm days at the State Fair for those over 21 years of age.

HAWAIIAN LUAU This fantastic sandwich brings the Hawaiian luau feast into one amazing bite. We begin this incredible food experience with a soft Hawaiian bun, introducing a honey mustard slaw as the first layer. We continue stacking slow roasted pork infused with a hint of smoke and tropical mango flavor. We take the island favorite Spam and lightly fry it, followed by a drizzle of Hawaiian teriyaki sauce on top.

LOBSTER CORN DOG Unique one-of-a-kind item will fulfill both your corndog and fancy tastebuds. First, we take a lobster cake, bread it, and baste it in the freshest of cornbread batter. Then, we deep fry it until golden and serve with a fresh Remoulade for dipping. Who knew that you could get lobster with your corn dog?

LUCKY DUCK DUMPLIN’ A delectable pastry filled with a delicious combination of rich, fluffy cream cheese, blended with succulent duck bacon and delicately roasted sweet corn, with a sprinkling of herbs and spices. These delicately filled dumplings are dropped into the deep fryer until golden-brown and fried to crispy perfection!

PORK SHOTS This new Fair favorite starts with Texas best smoked sausage at the base of this shot. We wrap the sausage with delicious hickory smoked bacon which forms a tiny bowl, and this savory tastebud-teaser is filled with everyone’s favorite – creamy mac and cheese. We sprinkle the outside with a secret sweet, spicy BBQ rub to finalize this perfect Fair-food-to-share item.

TAKIS LOCOS Taking bold Takis Fuego chips with their distinctive rolled shape, we cover the chips with melted cheese, savory refried beans, and a dollop of sour cream. We top the chips with fresh pico de gallo, cilantro, and an insatiable serrano pepper for an added burst of heat.

TEXAS BBQ BRISKET BANH MI Texas BBQ Brisket Banh Mi is served on a lightly toasted Vietnamese baguette that is topped with chopped smoked brisket, lightly coated in our BBQ sauce, along with cilantro, cucumber and homemade pickled daikon radish and carrots. Honey siracha aioli, hoisin sauce, and fresh jalapeño slices are served on the side.

TEXAS CHICKEN FRIED STEAK FLAUTA BASKET What is more Texan than a chicken fried steak sandwich? A chicken fried steak sandwich rolled up in a flour tortilla and deep fried! We took all the fixings of this Texas culinary icon and made it more Texan (if possible).

TEXAS EASTER EGGS Rejuvenate the excitement you experienced as a kid when you anticipated hunting for Easter eggs. The only problem is (if they were real eggs) you probably never ate what was inside. Texas Easter Eggs will change all of that. They will be a little easier to find, and when you do – wow, will you be glad you did!

TEXAS FRIED SURF AND TURF Texas Fried Surf and Turf brings a fine dining vibe to the State Fair of Texas. Tender filet mignon medallions are hand-cut and filled with chunks of Langostino Lobster.

TWICE-FRIED ALBONDIGAS (MEXICAN MEATBALLS) Twice-Fried Albondigas is a wonderful Mexican meatball with a twist on traditional Mexican flavors. Spiced beef is rolled with lightly browned rice, chopped vegetables and aromatic seasonings, rendering one juicy, tasty meatball.

SWEET SEMI-FINALISTS

BRISKET BRITTLE This confectionary delight has the rich, buttery, crunchy, sweet deliciousness of an old-fashion peanut brittle. We have, however, replaced the peanuts with the smokey goodness of Texas brisket. This addictively sweet yet savory treat finishes with a hint of heat.

DEEP FRIED PANCAKES These are just like homemade individual bite-size pancakes, but every bite is the best part of these pancakes. These fresh-from-the-fryer hotcakes come with your choice of our one-of-a-kind homemade syrups: maple butter, fresh blueberry sauce, or our original pecan butter syrup. So good, you’ll never want pancakes any other way!

DEEP FRIED PB & RAZBRÛLÉE A deep-fried peanut butter sandwich pocket is topped with a thick and creamy vanilla creme with a turbinado sugar heavy sprinkling and broiled and caramelized to a hard-shell top. This Deep Fried PB & Razbrûlée is then dolloped with a perfect helping of mixed berries to complete the beautifully delicious dessert!

DEEP FRIED PEACH COBBLER SOUL ROLLS Our twist on a true southern staple around the holidays – but our version is on the go! Peach Cobbler Soul Rolls are filled with juicy sweet peaches that bathe in butter and our housed spiced sugar mixture before being rolled into an egg roll and deep-fried. It is topped with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar.

DEEP FRIED RITZ We take a rich, buttery flavored Ritz cracker, layer with a luscious strawberry-swirled cream cheese filling, dipped in batter, and deep-fried until golden brown. This deep-fried creation is topped with fudgy chocolate glaze and Ritz cracker-powdered sugar crumble with the option of a fresh strawberry topping. Everything tastes great when it’s deep fried on a Ritz!

DEEP FRIED TOFFEE Using a 2019 State Fair of Texas award-winning Milk Chocolate Toffee Square, this tasty concoction wraps the toffee square in a flakey biscuit bite and is then deep-fried. Garnished with powdered sugar bringing out the contrast of confection sugar with milk chocolate.

DEEP FRIED HALLOWEEN Our trick-or-treat experience starts with a delicious large chewy pretzel that is dropped in the fryer. As it becomes golden brown, we quickly bathe it in candy corn syrup, followed by some rainbow sprinkles and powdered sugar. Now the fun begins – piping in orange and white buttercream icing, then stacking some of our most favorite Halloween candies. Top with a delicious marshmallow whip cream and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as the crown, we put the final touches of Hershey’s chocolate syrup caramel sauce.

FRIED CAPIROTADA (MEXICAN BREAD PUDDING) Our family matriarch often made this family-favorite dessert, Capirotada. Combining traditional holiday flavors well-known to Mexican families, it is a lip-smacking bread pudding that is only described as sweet, savory, and scrumptious. Bread is layered with a mixture of two shredded cheeses sprinkled over a piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) syrup with raisins. Delectable aromatic spices are poured over the mixture, then baked.

FRIED TOFFEE COFFEE CRUNCH CAKE This smartly paired, time-tested duo is a harmonious treat for your tastebuds! We start with lightly glazed, old fashioned cake donuts and break them into chunks, highlighting their firm, slightly crunchy exterior, and soft cakelike interior. Next, we add a generous scoop of buttery baking morsels flavored with rich English toffee and crunchy almonds and the mixture is blended with a velvety custard.

GOING BANANAS Let’s face it, we’ve all gone a little bananas in the past 18 months. But your patience is about to be rewarded. We took a perfect, delicious banana, and did the only thing that makes sense. We rolled it in fresh funnel cake batter and deep fried it to a crispy, golden brown. We then topped it with a heaping dollop of whipped cream and finished our masterpiece with a hefty drizzle of chocolate and peanut butter sauces. You will go bananas over this scrumptious treat, which is sure to become a State Fair of Texas favorite!

SOUTHERN FRIED LEMON ICE BOX PIE BALLS A pie ball, hand wrapped in a pâte sucrée dough, is infused with graham crackers, lemon zest, and brown sugar. The filling is our secret family recipe for lemon ice box pies. The pie balls are then battered in our chicken fry, and flash fried to create a golden flaky crust. Then, we sprinkle the fried pie balls with our sweet fairy dust, honey butter powder and confection sugar.

TEXAS PUMPKIN POKE CAKE Your fall favorite with Texas flair! A Texas-shaped, decadent pumpkin cake with a finger-licking, gooey vanilla glaze, silky caramel, topped with fluffy whipped cream, and lightly sprinkled with secret spice.

THE ARMADILLO Cookie Butter Ice Cream Sandwich! It is a made-from-scratch cookie butter semifreddo – an Italian take on ice cream that means semi-frozen. The treat is drizzled with cookie butter and sandwiched between two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies that are made with a branding iron.

For more information about planning and ticket prices, visit the 2021 State Fair of Texas website BigTex.com.

The State Fair of Texas takes place at Fair Park in Dallas from September 24 through October 17.

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