2022 fried food finalists announced

By Karissa Condoianis

The final countdown to three of the most coveted food titles in all of Texas begins. The State Fair of Texas is proud to present the 18th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards finalists.

The Holy Biscuit by Isaac Rousso.
Photo courtesy of The State Fair of Texas

On Sunday, August 28, three winners will be crowned in the categories of: “Best Taste – Savory,” “Best Taste – Sweet,” and “Most Creative.” The competition began in early July with an impressive 51 entries represented by 36 concessionaires. Of those entries, 36 were selected as semi-finalists. Each entry was evaluated on four Fair-food elements: uniqueness, creativity, presentation and taste. After some tasty tests and delicious dishes, votes were cast, and the results are finally in. Now the top 10 finalists must present themselves to a prestigious panel of celebrity judges in hopes of securing one of the top spots. If your favorite entry did not make the final cut, fret not, because concessionaires may still choose to introduce their creation at their stand as a new food during this year’s Fair. Without delay, the State Fair of Texas is happy to announce the 10 finalists that will be competing for the titles of “Best Taste – Savory,” “Best Taste – Sweet” and “Most Creative” in the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards competition.


Chicharron Explosion Nachos, Glen and Sherri Kusak

Fresh pork rinds are fried to a golden crispy crunch and then seasoned with just the right number of Cajun-style seasonings to insure a mouthwatering kick. Next, smoked beef fajita meat is spread all over the crispy nachos and covered with delectable freshly made queso. To make this an explosion of flavor, these chicharron nachos are topped with a full serving of savory barbeque chopped beef. 

Deep Fried BLT, Tom Grace

Crispy bacon is folded into a 12” tortilla along with a heaping pile of shredded cheddar cheese to bind all the corners. The rectangle-shaped tortilla gets dunked into the deep fryer, just long enough to get a golden-brown crunch and a melted bliss of cheddar and bacon. Then, the deep-fried goodness is used as the sandwich bread by cutting it in half and layering cool crisp lettuce, two juicy red tomato slices, and mayonnaise in between. To top it off, the fried creation is paired with fresh-cut garlic parmesan chips for a truly notorious B.L.T!

Deep Fried Lasagna Roll, Parish Family

Ribbon pasta is covered with the perfect mixture of ricotta, parmesan, provolone and fresh mozzarella cheeses, then topped with an amazing homemade meat sauce. Next, more cheese is added, and the pasta is delicately hand-rolled, creating delicious layers of flavor. The lasagna roll is dipped in a cheddar and herb batter and fried golden brown, creating a crispy yet flaky crust. The roll is then garnished with a touch of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, creating a mouthwatering burst of flavor. Served with a side of Deep Fried Zucchini Fries, this dish gives you a taste of Italy with a Texas twist!

Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes and Josey Mayes

Meats, cheeses, fruits — oh my! Chopped up fresh mozzarella, salami and crisp green apples are tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian herbs. Then the ingredients are wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried to a golden crisp, topped with creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of hot honey. Everyone’s favorite appetizer rolled into one perfect bite!

Holy Biscuit, Isaac Rousso 

This mouth-watering southern explosion starts with a perfectly cooked golden-brown biscuit. Then, slow-smoked shredded brisket and a ladle of fire-roasted street corn queso are stacked on top of the biscuit. Then, thick-cut bacon is drizzled with Texas honey that has a little bit of a kick. The masterpiece is complete when it’s topped off with crispy pickle French fries. Your taste buds will go crazy with the savory-sweet crunchy combination of flavors all in one bite.


Cha-Cha Chata, Garza Family 

Inspired by the cha-cha dance, the recipe starts with a triple-step of two kinds of milk and vanilla ice cream blended to perfection with the Garza family’s top-secret (but famously delicious) horchata recipe. The creamy drink is then poured into a cup rimmed with caramel and cinnamon goodness and topped with a Texas-sized dollop of whipped topping. To bring even more flavor to your tastebuds, the Cha-Cha Chata is dusted with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega and deep-fried arroz con leche bites. Take hold of the churro straw and take a sip. We promise it will cha-cha change your life!

Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream, Cody and Lauren Hays

Rocky Road Kettle Fresh Fudge is coated with fluffy, lightly sweetened batter and deep fried to perfection, stacked high and drizzled with chocolate syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Mini marshmallows and chopped cinnamon glazed nuts are sprinkled atop with powdered sugar. The dish is accompanied by a single-serve ice cream cup of Blue Bell Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla.

La Bluebonnet, Milton and Grace Whitley

This decadent drink is inspired by iconic Texas bluebonnets, which have served as a natural photo backdrop for many memorable life moments. Freshly squeezed citrus juices and blueberries are folded into a sugary base and then shaken well to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Then, the tasty concoction is poured over refreshing ice and topped with an optional lemon-mint-berry twist.

Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter and Nicole Sternes

Peanut Butter Paradise starts with deep-frying a honey bun. Then, caramel is injected into the honey bun and then topped with creamy peanut butter. The treat is then layered with some fan-favorite peanut butter treats, Reese’s Pieces, Crushed Butterfinger crumbles, topped off with peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel and a cloud of powdered sugar. Just another day in paradise!

The Ultimate Brookie Monster, Juan and Brent Reaves

The Ultimate Brookie Monster is the ultimate in dessert decadence. It starts with crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies, layered with Oreos and marshmallows. Then, the creation is covered in triple-chocolate brownie batter and baked together into a super brookie. The fun begins when the brookie is then battered and deep fried. Then, the super brookie is showered in powdered sugar, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To finish, it is topped with cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce.

This year’s Big Tex Choice Awards event will be closed to the public. You can stay up to date with the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards event by following the action live on social media channels — @StateFairofTX.