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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Previewing the new food options at the State Fair of Texas (2021)

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Give me the Fried Frito Chili Pie!

Syndication: The Oklahoman BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the highlights of OU-Texas week is find out what varieties of new foods will be served at the State Fair of Texas, and after a one-year hiatus, this might be the best lineup of all. You’ll usually see some weird ones that simply can not possibly taste good. 2021 seems different. Even the ones that seem ‘meh’ are probably pretty great.

None of these items are terribly tough sells. Not a dud in the group. There’s not much else to say other than “Wow, there’s no way this could possibly suck”, and most of my judgements will likely read as such. Anyway, here’s how I’m grading each of them simply based on the appeal of their descriptions.

Here we go!


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. This bursting-with-flavor shareable treat is sure to become a State Fair favorite.

Hushpuppies are very hit-and-miss, as the bad ones can be exceedingly dry. I’m confident that the ones served at the State Fair of Texas would not make the cut if they fell under this category, so I’m going to proceed as if they’re pretty bomb (as the name would imply). Bacon jam quite literally never fails under any circumstances, and the same goes for candied jalapeños.

Appeal Grade: A-


BAG OF EGGROLLS

You know the saying – variety is always good. A new vendor at the Fair this year, Crunchies Eggrolls and More brings a bag of eggrolls to the Fair, and the taste is Texas-sized. Fairgoers will receive a variety of tasty eggrolls in a bag, consisting of mac and cheese, pizza, original, and samosa egg rolls.

“So it’s just a bag of egg rolls?”. NOPE. Mac and cheese? Samosa filling? I’m sold. The pizza ones will probably scorch your taste buds, but it might be worth it.

Appeal Grade: B


BIG TEX BOWL

It’s mac and cheese covered with all of your favorite toppings. A rich and creamy three-cheese sauce is perfectly combined with cavatappi noodles to hold all of the cheesy goodness. Then, it’s topped with smoked brisket, sharp cheddar, French fried onions, chives, applewood smoked bacon, candied jalapeños, and a BBQ cream sauce. A bowl large enough to share for friends with a Texas sized appetite!

Not very “fair food”-ish, but there’s literally nothing to knock here other than the fact that it’s not particularly conducive to walking around in a crowd. If you can find a table or bench, giddy-up.

Appeal Grade: B+


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. To top it off, this delicious dish is then covered with a mouthwatering shrimp and crawfish sauce. Flavors so good, you’ll come back for more.

I do declare have found an earlier leader.

There is zero chance of this being a dud. I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced grits in fried form, but it just screams ‘comfort’. It might be wise to wait until after the game to eat this, as it will probably knock your ass into a food como. However, that’s a perfect transition into your post-game, pre-dinner nap, so this is just a winner all around.

Appeal Grade: A+


DALLAS HOT BIRDDOG

The Texas heat can’t compete with the Dallas Hot Birddog! 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!

This is served at Fletcher’s, and Fletcher’s does a corn dog better than anyone in the world. Not as foot-traffic friendly as the standard version, but this seems like a perfect combination of flavors and textures. Your digestive system will be the only person complaining.

Appeal Grade: A-


DEEP FRIED PANCAKES

It’s pancakes like you’ve never had them before. 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!

These sound like mini pancakes. I mean.. I’m not complaining, but this just doesn’t stand out at all.

Appeal Grade: C


DEEP FRIED PB & RAZBRÛLÉE

This is the shabby chic of Fair foods. The seamless marriage of an after-school kid food (PB&J) and that special dessert you sometimes get at anniversary dinners at 5-star restaurants as an adult (crème brûlée). The two are melded together perfectly to blend different times of your life all in one unforgettable food experience. 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!

Appeal Grade: B+


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 and served with a side of Blue Bell Ice Cream® if you desire.

That last one was looking like a sweet category winner, but the throne has already been usurped. Peach cobbler is GOAT of deserts, and putting it in egg roll form WITH VANILLA BLUE BELL ON THE SIDE is unbeatable.

Appeal Grade: A+


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. Looking for a kick? Add our favorite southern style hot sauce on the side!

As is the case with the fried ship and grits, it’s just impossible to turn this down. This also looks less messy, and the creole mustard seems like a winner. Can’t go higher than A+, but this takes the lead.

Appeal Grade: A+


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. The resulting pudding is battered and fried, then crowned with whipped topping covered with a drizzle of dulce de leche. A shake of fresh ground cinnamon and bright sprinkles readies the dessert for your first bite. Your tastebuds will wonder why you have never tasted this time-honored dessert before.

I’m sure this is great, but I’m not a raisin guy. I am, however, decidedly a dulce de leche guy, so this is back in the hunt.

Appeal Grade: B


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. The Original Frozen Ranch Water is our own unique recipe with a wine-based tequila that can be sold at the State Fair. We will also be offering flavored toppers such as passion fruit, paloma, raspberry, and watermelon for those that want to sweeten it up.

During the early days of Covid quarantine, my fiancee and I grew quite fond of the regular version of these. Outside of a Swirl from The Mont, I rarely elect to order a frozen drink, but it’s going to be hot AF at the fair after this game, and you best believe I’m spending an unreasonable amount of fair tickets on one or more of these.

Appeal Grade: A


GOBBLE BALLS

It may not be November quite yet, but Ferris Wheeler’s BBQ are getting into the spirit with their new dish, Gobble Balls. First, turkey nuggets are smoked, then breaded and deep-fried. These delectable bite-sized treats are served with your choice of BBQ dipping sauce. You’ll gobble this dish up!

These look amazing, but I feel like they dropped the ball by not offering a brown gravy for the dipping sauce. We’ll gladly accept the BBQ sauce.

Appeal Grade: A-


LOBSTER CORN DOG

Everybody comes to the State Fair of Texas for a corn dog, right? But have you ever had a Lobster Corn Dog? This unique, one-of-a-kind item will fulfill both your corn dog 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?

I don’t know about this... but that’s okay. Full disclosure: I’m getting a regular Fletcher’s dog and won’t be getting a second corn dog of another variety. If you try this, please let me know how it works out.

Appeal Grade: B


QUESABIRRIA, WITH CONSOMÉ

This new food is taking a traditional quesadilla and turning it up a notch! Juicy and tender shredded steak is mixed with cheese, then stuffed in fresh corn or flour tortilla. Then, it’s grilled to a slight crispy perfection, and topped with cilantro, onion, and delicious side of rich consommé for dipping.

I’ve never had bad birria, and I seriously doubt the streak would end here.

Appeal Grade: B+


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, made of honey butter powder and confection sugar. After that, we top the balls with dollops of Chantilly cream and garnish them with a lemon graham cracker crumble, lemon zest, and edible gold glitter. One of our family’s favorite desserts, made with a Big Tex twist!

Lemon is the supreme pie filling and the supreme cake flavor. This isn’t up for discussion.

Appeal Grade: B+


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.

I love a banh mi. Believe it or not (and you do believe it if you live here), but Oklahoma City has many a fantastic banh mi option due to its strong Vietnamese community. Incorporate BBQ and I’m very much down with it.

Appeal Grade: A-


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! These mildly spicy, creamy, cheddar cheesy deep-fried eggs will make you wish you had an Easter basket full of them to take home. While they are not actual eggs from a chicken, they are filled with meats, spices, cheeses, peppers, and all things Texas, shaped like an egg, decorated with a savory (Easter colored) ranch sauce, breaded, deep fried, and served in our special Texas Easter Egg carton with a perfect finishing dipping sauce.

This almost sounds like a fried food version of a Juicy Lucy. Give ‘em to me.

Appeal Grade: A-


TEXAS FRIED FRITOS® PIE

A generous portion of savory Texas chili and a hint of sharp cheddar are encased in everybody’s favorite corn chip, then lightly battered and fried to a golden-brown perfection. Its smooth medley of hot, meaty, crunchy, salty, cheesy, oozes goodness; “Texas Fried Fritos® Pie” transports you back to the golden age of Fair food.

SHUT IT DOWN! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

Appeal Grade: A+


TEXAS FRIED SURF AND TURF

Our 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. A slice of fresh jalapeño inside gives this savory dish a Texas crunch and kick. The medallions are rolled with the delicious lobster and jalapeño inside and then wrapped with a slice of hickory smoked bacon to hold it all together. There is no breading or batter on our Texas Fried Surf and Turf – we fry them until a crispy shell of fried bacon forms with juicy medium-well steak and rich chunks of lobster inside. Two Texas Fried Surf and Turf medallions are served with our tempura fried asparagus on the side. This delectable delicacy is drizzled with our horseradish hollandaise sauce – a creamy concoctions with a mild kick to top things off!

I’m just not really into the idea of throwing chunks of lobster meat (even langostino) into a deep fryer. I’m going to say that the lobster corn dog is different due to the fact that the lobster meat is minced and in cake form. I don’t know that my logic is actually sound here, but this one seems more wasteful. The horseradish hollandaise does sound good, though.

Appeal Grade: B-


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. First it is deep-fried, then carefully battered, followed by a bread crumb coating, making it ready to fry again to a golden perfection. Biting into an Albondiga will be a culinary surprise of flavors reminiscent of our abuelitas’ kitchens. This delightful Albondiga will be served on top of a hearty tomato-based-infused sauce. Rich in flavor with an afterbite, this dish will give you a swift kick and make you yearn for more. Hold your fire, wait a minute, we are not done! Topping off this burst of flavors will be a drizzle of Crema Mexicana and a sprinkle of cotija queso. Buen Provecho!

Love meatballs. Love Mexican food. Love fried food. It all seems like it would mesh together.

Appeal Grade: B+


Most Appealing Food: TEXAS FRIED FRITOS® PIE

Best Idea: DEEP FRIED SHRIMP ÉTOUFFÉE

Worst Idea: DEEP FRIED PANCAKES