Tacos won the day at the 2019 Annual Big Tex Choice Awards, aka the State Fair of Texas "fried food awards," crowned at a competition in the Tower Building at Fair Park, in Dallas, on August 25.
Before an enthusiastic crowd of attendees who'd paid $125 each to be there, winners were crowned in three categories: Best Taste – Sweet, Best Taste – Savory, and Most Creative.
The winners were as follows:
Best Taste – Savory was won by Ruth's Stuffed Fried Taco Cone by Ruth Hauntz.
Its official name was Ruth's Stuffed Fried Mexi-Cone, and it was an entry from longtime vendor Ruth Hauntz. It featured barbacoa served in a tortilla shell curled like an ice cream cone, filled with black beans, and cilantro lime rice and topped with pico de gallo, queso fresco, and salsa verde.
Best Taste – Sweet went to Big Red Chicken Bread. This entry by Brent and Juan Reaves was a twist on chicken and waffles, with a fried chicken wing served on a doughnut frosted with Big Red-flavored frosting.
Most Creative went to an entry called Fla'Mango Tango. This sweet treat by the Garza Family had a fried mango pastry, drizzled with citrus glaze and whipped topping, and served with strawberry mango sorbet.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included radio personalities Michelle Rodriguez (New Country 96.3) and Donovan Lewis (1310 The Ticket), politicians Mayor Eric Johnson and city council member Adam Bazaldua; F&B professionals Nick & Sam's chef Samir Dhurandhar, Café Momentum founder Chad Houser, Free Range Concepts founder Kyle Noonan, and Jose chef Anastacia Quinones-Pittman; and in a category of her own, reality-TV star LeeAnne Locken.
The State Fair of Texas starts its 24-day run at Fair Park on September 27. Here are the rest of the finalists:
Calypso Island Shrimp Bowl by Stephen Alade
Tropical cabbage stir fry with carrots, kale, scallions, ginger, and red bell peppers, served on yellow tropical rice topped with shrimp and a sweet and spicy tropical glaze.
Fernie’s Fried Burnt End Burrito by Winter Family Concessions
Burrito with burnt ends, pepper jack cheese, cream cheese, bacon, Mexican blend cheese, and diced jalapeños is fried, then cut in half and served with panko-crusted onion rings dusted with barbecue seasoning.
Southern Fried Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Ball by Greg Parish
Fried ball filled with fettuccine Alfredo, Southern-fried chicken bites, and mozzarella cheese; garnished with Alfredo sauce and Parmesan cheese; and served with fried asparagus spears and a toasted garlic parmesan baguette.
Texas Cream Corn Casserole Fritters by Clint Probst
Cream corn casserole with a Texas twist: Cream corn, kernel corn, sour cream, cheddar cheese, cornbread mix, bacon, and diced jalapeños are formed into fritters and fried. Four to an order, served with a cream corn queso blanco dip.
Deep Fried Bayou Fruit Bites by Terrence and Lisa Henderson
Fruit wedges are battered, deep fried, and coated in a secret sweet confection, then finished with whipped topping and caramel sauce, with choice of additional toppings that include candy, chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, and assorted berries.
Peanut Butter Cup Snookie by Michelle Edwards
Peanut butter cup cookie with vanilla ice cream adorned with caramel and chocolate drizzle, whipped cream, and a cherry.
Quick Fried “Black Gold” Truffles by Glen and Sherri Kusak
Fried balls made from crushed thin chocolate cookies, cream cheese, and mini white chocolate chips, coated in a breading made from vanilla wafers, corn flakes, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.