State Fair of Texas Announces 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists

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

On Sunday, Aug. 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 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 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, concessionaires may still choose to introduce their creation at their stand as a new food during this year’s fair.

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 are:

SAVORY

Chicharron Explosion Nachos, Glen & Sherri Kusak

Fresh pork rinds are fried to a golden crispy crunch and then seasoned with Cajun-style seasonings. Next, smoked beef fajita meat is spread all over the crispy nachos and covered with queso. These chicharron nachos are then topped with a full serving of barbecue chopped beef.  

 Deep Fried BLT, Tom Grace

Crispy bacon is folded into a 12-inch tortilla along with a pile of shredded cheddar cheese to bind all the corners. The rectangle-shaped tortilla gets dunked into the deep fryer. Then, the deep-fried goodness is used as the sandwich bread by cutting it in half and layering lettuce, two 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 BLT!

 Deep Fried Lasagna Roll, Parish Family

Ribbon pasta is covered with a mixture of ricotta, parmesan, provolone, and fresh mozzarella cheeses, then topped with a homemade meat sauce. Next, more cheese is added and the pasta is hand-rolled. The lasagna roll is dipped in a cheddar and herb batter and fried, creating a crispy yet flaky crust. The roll is then garnished with a touch of marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. 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 & Josey Mayes

Chopped-up fresh mozzarella, salami, and 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. 

Holy Biscuit, Isaac Rousso 

This mouth-watering southern explosion starts with a golden-brown biscuit. Then, slow-smoked shredded brisket and ladle fire-roasted street corn queso is stacked on top of the biscuit. Then, thick-cut bacon is drizzled with Texas honey with a little bit of kick. It’s topped off with crispy pickle French fries.

 SWEET

 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 with the Garza family’s top-secret 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. The Cha-Cha Chata is dusted with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites.

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

Rocky Road Kettle Fresh Fudge is coated with 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. Freshly squeezed citrus juices and blueberries are folded into a sugary base and then shaken well. Then, the concoction is poured over 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. 

The Ultimate Brookie Monster, Juan and Brent Reaves

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.

The State Fair will open Sept. 30 and run through Oct. 23. For more information, visit the State Fair’s website.

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