DALLAS — Updated Aug. 29, 2021 with the winners.
The names alone sound intriguing enough: Deep Fried I-35. Brisket Brittle. The Armadillo. Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake.
Then you see the pictures and read the descriptions, and your diet braces for impact.
The 2021 Big Tex Choice Awards finalists were announced several weeks ago, with the 10 top finishers in the State Fair of Texas' annual competition for sugary, deep-fried goodness. And now the time has come to see who won.
Three of the 10 finalists will be crowned winners for "Best Taste - Savory," "Best Taste - Sweet" and "Most Creative." The winners will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Initially there were 32 semi-finalists before the pack was narrowed to 10 finalists.
On Aug. 29, the winners were announced.
"Each year the judges of the Big Tex Choice Awards are faced with the challenging, yet highly sought-after, job of selecting the winning Fair foods – this year was no exception, and the lineup proved to be extraordinarily competitive this year," the State Fair of Texas said in a statement.
The two winners, as well as the other finalists, will be available all 24 days of the 2021 State Fair of Texas.
Check out all of the winners and finalists below.
Starting in the "savory" division....
Crispy Crazy Corn - Ruth Hauntz
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.
Deep Fried I-35 - Clint and Gretchen Probst
First, 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. We garnish this roadworthy concoction with peach slices and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
WINNER: Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls - Gourmet Royale
This dish also won the "Most Creative " award on Sun., Aug. 29. Check out what Gourment Royale has to say about it below:
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, creating an explosion of flavor.
Lucky Duck Dumplin' - Bert Concessions
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 - Glen and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller
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.
Moving on to the "sweet" division
WINNER: The Armadillo - James Barrera
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. Finally, it is dusted with buttery sugar.
Brisket Brittle - Ruth Hauntz
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.
Deep-Fried Halloween - Isaac Rousso
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, like M&M’s®, Reese’s® Pieces, Mini-Twix®, OREO® cookie crumbles, and candy corn just to name a few.
Fernie's Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake - Winter Family Concessions
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.
Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake - Michelle Edwards
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.
Watch the reveal of the finalists below: