Big Tex ‘Blesses’ His Favorite 2018 State Fair Food Picks

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You might ask yourself sometimes, what’s the most “Texan” thing I’ve ever seen or done? For me, that’s an easy question to answer.

Big Tex-Little Tex State Fair

“Little Tex” (Big Tex’s protégé), photo courtesy of

At the end of August, I had a blast going on a road trip to the 14th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards in Dallas, where I taste-tested this year’s unique State Fair food creations with our Texas Hill Country team. It doesn’t get any more Texan than the tasty offerings at the Big Tex Awards. Fried everything, of course, and even a Texas Hill Country food representation–locally sourced mozzarella sandwiched between fried green tomatoes!

Big Tex Choice Awards 2018

Our Team at the 2018 Big Tex Choice Awards

Thanks to our friends at Chevrolet, we rode to Dallas in the lap of luxury. For the trip, Chevy loaned us a beautiful 2018 Equinox with a gorgeous two-tone interior. It featured a 2.0 Turbo, which really had some get-up-and-go. Merging into the Dallas traffic on 75 was easy as pie. You could get spoiled driving this puppy! The premiere edition came with all the bells and whistles, like Driver 1 and Driver 2 settings, which allow the Equinox to remember your special preferences. That’s an option many luxury cars don’t even offer! There’s no more reliable or luxurious way to road trip through the Lone Star State than in an Equinox.

The Big Tex Awards were held in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park. Each year, concessionaires submit the best of their food creations to be served that year at the State Fair of Texas. 2018’s finalists were judged by an all-star panel of taste-testers. Since the awards began in 2005, they have resulted in the State Fair of Texas becoming the premiere fair in the nation for incredible, creative food. I was particularly excited to sample the Texas Fried Hill Country, a grilled cheese sandwich that’s made with fried green tomatoes sourced right from the Hill Country and fresh mozzarella.

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My “sampler” tray… I couldn’t finish!

If you love the occasional indulgence in fried or sweet food, the Big Tex Awards are heaven on earth. Plus, all proceeds from the event go toward the State Fair Scholarship Fund, which means you can help fulfill a student’s dreams while satisfying your taste-buds.

When the judges had tasted all 10 of the finalists’ entries, they cast their votes, and the winners were announced to a round of applause. Winning Most Creative was the Cotton Candy Taco. A graham cracker waffle cone formed into a taco shape, it’s filled with a marshmallow glaze, topped off with chocolate, a roasted marshmallow, and organic cane sugar cotton candy. To top it off, add two biscuit sticks, which are covered in chocolate cream, as well as chocolate cookie crumbles and marshmallows.

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Photo: Cotton Candy Taco, photo courtesy of

In the Best Tasting Savory category, the award went to Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce. Black-eyed peas, spicy smoked sausage, bread crumbs, eggbeaters, fluffy white rice, green onions, and a special secret seasoning combine to form into a cake. It’s then breaded and deep fried for a crunchy exterior, and garnished with a piece of pickled okra, topped with a black-eyed pea relish, and served with a side of what they call “Jackpot Sauce.”

Taking home the Best Tasting Sweet award was Arroz con Leche (Sweet Crispy Rice). Coated in crispy rice cereal, this battered, cinnamon-spiced rice ball is a fair foodie’s delicacy. Paired with a single scoop of vanilla ice cream, the ball is also sprinkled with powdered vanilla and a caramel sauce drizzle, then finally topped with a powdered cinnamon crown.


Photo: Arroz con Leche (Sweet Crispy Rice), photo courtesy

If you missed your chance to attend the Big Tex Awards, not to worry! Fair foodies can still get a taste of these delicious concessions at the State Fair of Texas, from September 28 to October 21. Be sure to get a copy of the Visitor’s Guide, which includes a food map of vendor locations, ensuring you won’t miss a single delicious dish. You can also try out the food finder at