Is it time for this again already? Time does seem to drag when your Fair Food tummy is growling thinking about those delicious deep-fried whatcha-doodles you found at the fair last year. What will be new and delicious at the State Fair of Texas this year? It's time to see who is closing in on the titles. 

The State Fair of Texas concessionaires are off to the races with a new lineup of incredible, edible innovations for the public to taste at the Fair this fall. The State Fair of Texas Big Tex® Choice Awards semi-finalists have been revealed.

The 20th Annual Big Tex® Choice Awards are once again presented by Karbach Brewing Company. The Big Tex Choice Awards began in 2005 to encourage concessionaires to introduce new and unique foods to the Fair. Food vendors these days will tinker for months and sometimes even years with recipes they think could have what it takes to bring home one of the coveted trophies. The Big Tex® Choice Awards have become a world-renowned food competition, putting the Most Texan Place on Earth on the map when it comes to innovative creations.

Big Tex Choice Awards - State Fair of Texas
Big Tex Choice Awards - State Fair of Texas


As always, it is never easy to pic the semi-finalists but after much deliberation in the first round of judging, the scores were tallied, and the results are as follows:

  • 24 semi-finalists were named to move forward.
  • 10 savory entries
  • 14 sweet entries

We don't have the pictures yet, but we have the descriptions below and as usual, they sound amazing.

Big Tex Choice Awards 3 - State Fair of Texas
Big Tex Choice Awards 3 - State Fair of Texas


Deep Fried Crispy Vietnamese Crepes
Imagine the sensation of biting into a golden, crunchy crepe filled with savory meat, shrimp, and fresh veggies perfectly paired with a homemade sauce. Each crepe is meticulously crafted, delicately rolled, and dipped in a special golden crepe batter infused with hints of coconut sweetness, before being fried to crispy perfection. Served alongside crisp lettuce, fragrant herbs, and a side of dipping sauce, every bite is a symphony of flavors and textures - crispy, savory, and refreshingly satisfying. These Deep Fried Crispy Vietnamese Crepes, also known as Deep Fried Banh Xeo (bahnSAY-oh,) will transport you to the bustling streets of Vietnam with just one bite.

Dominican Dog
Indulge in the unique blend of flavors with crispy Dominican queso frito and salami frito coated in a seasoned corn dog batter and deep fried to golden perfection. Drizzled with a tantalizing red Dominican secret sauce, this dish is elevated with a topping of crushed garlic plantain chips and chopped cilantro, creating a delightful explosion of Caribbean flavors in every bite.

The Drowning Taquitos
Fresh, hand-rolled corn tortillas are stuffed with tender, shredded chicken breast, deep fried until golden brown, served in a cup, and topped with our tangy cream sauce, jalapeño, guacamole salsa, shredded lettuce, chunks of avocado, tomatillo, pico and Cotija cheese. With each bite of the Drowning Taquitos, you’re sure to be greeted with a symphony of flavors that will dance on your taste buds. Savor the rich, diverse taste that will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Mexico, one bite at a time. Buen provecho!

Fat Bacon Pickle Fries
These deliciously perfect slivers of dill pickles are battered and fried until golden brown. They are lightly dusted in a spicy ranch pepper seasoning. Lastly, they are ladled with the perfect blend of queso with just a hint of heat. As if it wasn’t perfect enough, this masterpiece is topped with thick-cut maple caramelized bacon chunks, sour cream, jalapeños, and chives for an explosion of flavor.

Hammy Pimento Meltdown
A grilled pimento cheese sandwich with black forest ham is a delicious twist on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The grilled black forest ham joins the rich pimento cheese made fresh daily on Texas Toast and is then grilled to crispy, golden, gooey goodness. The combination of smoke from the ham and tanginess from the pimento cheese creates a harmonious balance of flavors that is sure to satisfy any craving for a savory, cheesy treat!

Hippie Chips
This groovy gourmet combination of crispy, wavy potato chips is covered in your choice of homemade ranch dressing or homemade rich blue cheese dressing, topped with fresh chopped green onions, crispy bacon bits, and a drizzle of sriracha sauce. Then add some blue cheese crumbles for a delectably savory treat. Each bite of these crispy, salty chips is bursting with flavors from the contrasting textures of the toppings. This is the perfect snack or appetizer for anyone looking to indulge in a fun, flavorful treat.

Hot Chick-in-Pancake Poppers
Authentic Nashville hot chicken is wonderful on its own, but have you ever thought of adding homemade pimento cheese to it? Imagine never-frozen, hand-breaded Nashville hot fried jumbo chicken topped and mixed with pimento cheese. A scoop of Nashville hot chicken and pimento cheese mixture is rolled into a ball, dunked into pancake batter, and fried to a golden brown. To top it off, a drizzle of Sriracha honey and a sprinkle of Nashville hot powdered sugar are added as finishing touches, and that’s how the Nashville Hot Pancake Pops were born!

Oktoberfest Pizza
Did you say, “Sauerkraut on a pizza?!” Well, the great State Fair of Texas does take place every October, and no one celebrates like we do! Pizza and beer have always been a great match, and this pizza was created to thrill Oktoberfest and pizza enthusiasts alike. We take some of the most iconic culinary staples of German cuisine and pile them on State Fair of Texas style. A handmade pizza dough that bakes to a buttery crunch is topped with a craveable base of spicy mustard-infused white cream sauce. We blanket the pizza with a gooey, tangy blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Lastly, that melty goodness is topped with thinly sliced German sausage, crispy, skillet-fried German potatoes, sautéed onions, green peppers, and, of course, SAUERKRAUT!

Texas Fried Burnt End Bombs
Ready for an explosion of flavor? It’s the Texas Fried Burnt End Bombs! A delicious, tender beef burnt end is wrapped with shredded potato, bacon, and a green onion mixture and fried to a perfect golden brown. To complement this flavorful blend, the Texas Fried Burnt End Bombs are served with a side of raspberry chipotle barbeque sauce to add a kick of sweetness and heat.

Triple Meat Big Back Snack
This Texas-sized indulgence is presented with a boastful five layers and seven tantalizing flavor profiles. The base consists of Abuela's cherished elote street corn recipe, including a fusion of roasted sweet corn, lime, lemon garlic butter, cumin and chili powder. Following suit is a portion of succulent smoked chopped beef brisket that paves the way for a delightful serving of gourmet smoked gouda mac and cheese. A buttermilk biscuit crowned with tender cubes of Hogzilla Pork Belly Burnt Ends, slow-smoked to perfection and coated in a house-made sauce, completes this tower of flavors. Still hungry? A savory, loaded nacho beef brisket sausage link is halved and adorns the cup's interior, accompanied by heavenly deep-fried crinkle-cut maple waffle-flavored potato slices on top. Bon Appétit!


Beso De Angel
Inspired by the beloved flavors of traditional Mexican desserts, specifically the buñuelo and fresas con crema, a true masterpiece has been created that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Bite into a taco base made from a sugary fritter that's generously filled with a family-secret sweet crema, delicious strawberry preserves, a splash of heavenly whipped cream, cajeta caramel, and sweet condensed milk. Each one is topped off with fresh slices of strawberries that add a refreshing touch. This kiss of angelic sweetness will transport you to a dessert paradise.

Caramel Macchiato Fritters
A classic, heaping serving of delicious caramel forms the nucleus of these creamy coffee cake balls. Each cake ball is dipped in beignet batter and fried until golden brown. With two to an order, these Caramel Macchiato Fritters are garnished with whipped cream, caramel, and white chocolate drizzle. You didn’t think we forgot the coffee, did you? For a finishing touch, use your shot of espresso to inject into every delicious bite! Coffee chains, beware…there’s a new Macchiato in town!

Cookie Butter Nachos
Discover a whole new level of nacho love with Cookie Butter Nachos! These nachos take the concept to a whole new level by using freshly fried flour tortilla chips coated in a heavenly blend of cinnamon sugar. The highlight of this indulgent treat is the generous scoop of homemade cookie butter cheesecake filling, which adds a creamy and rich element to the dish. To further elevate the taste, dollops of homemade cream cheese icing are generously added on top, followed by a drizzle of gooey caramel sauce. The finishing touch is a sprinkle of crushed Biscoff® cookies, providing a delightful texture to this extraordinary dessert.

Cotton Candy Bacon on a Stick
This unique combination of sweet and savory starts off with a honey-smoked half-inch-thick cut of bacon on a stick. It’s seasoned and cooked, then finished on a sizzling flat griddle. As the aroma fills the room, the cooked bacon is dipped into a secret cotton candy syrup glaze. As if this was not mouthwatering enough, the stick of bacon goes for a spin in the cotton candy machine, causing an amazing marriage of flavor as the cotton candy melts onto the bacon and caramelizes to a pink glaze. This promises to be the most unique and delicious piece of bacon you’ve ever had in your life.

A Croissant meets a cookie to create the delicious Crookie! A flaky croissant is sliced and filled with cookie dough. Then, it’s closed up and topped with, you guessed it... more cookie dough! This sweet treat gets thrown in the oven to bake, and then it’s finished off with a drizzle of syrup. With two mouthwatering options to choose from, these Crookies are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are Crookies for all!

Frozen Limoncello
It’s a blazing hot, sweltering summer day in the Lone Star State, and you’re craving a lemony, sweet, refreshing treat. How about yummy Limoncello to take a break from the heat? But even better... Frozen Limoncello! This Italian classic gets a deep freeze to keep you even cooler in the scorching Texas heat. Sweet and tart limoncello in a lemon peel is filled with limoncello sorbet to quench your thirst and give you an all-around cool-down!

It's Bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S
It's Bananas...B*A*N*A*N*A*S. This classic banana shake with banana pudding on top is a delicious concoction that starts with a creamy banana-flavored milkshake base. An addition of banana pudding adds an extra layer of flavor and creaminess that is then topped with whipped cream, Nilla wafers, chocolate-covered bananas, and a caramel drizzle. This mixture of ingredients brings a delightful blend of creamy, fruity, and crunchy textures with a touch of chocolate decadence. Treat your taste buds to this classic shake with a Texas twist!

LAY’S® Potato Chip Drink
See chips in a whole new light with the LAY’S® Potato Chip Drink - a daring blend where sweet meets a thrilling heat, capturing the newest flavors of America’s favorite chip in every sip. This vibrant concoction combines crispy LAY’S® Potato Chips with the sweet lushness of mango and a signature blend of citrus juices enhanced by a fiery kick of hot honey, jalapeño infused syrup, and artfully placed strawberry drizzle. Each sip is smoothed over with a layer of cool, sweet foam, then topped with LAY’S® Sweet & Spicy Honey Potato Chips for a playful crunch and a spicy adventure. Sip it if you dare!

Nutty Bar-laska
An extra sweet twist on a State Fair staple! A classic chocolate-dipped nutty bar rolled in peanuts- what's the twist? It's smothered in creamy marshmallow fluff and toasted like a campfire marshmallow, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Slap on two whole OREOS®, delectable strawberry sauce, and freeze-dried strawberry pieces to satisfy your senses. This spin on a State Fair classic is legen-dairy!

Standing on Business
When you’re standing on business, you lack nothing, just like this dish. Salted caramel ice cream from Howdy Homemade Ice Cream is placed in a waffle cone bowl and topped with a freshly baked, spicy, dark chocolate cookie created exclusively for the State Fair of Texas by Cookie Society. Resting on the decadent cookie is a piece of deep fried sweet potato pie dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce, and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. This mammoth sundae is garnished with French fries and a crispy, juicy chicken wing, solving the culinary dilemma of craving savory after a decadent sweet. That’s why this new State Fair of Texas delight is Standing on Business.

Strawberry Pop-Tarts® Beignetffle
A delectable infusion of beignet and croissant dough is delicately dipped in a rich egg wash and cooked to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior that gives way to a delightfully fluffy interior honeycomb waffle. Topped with homemade strawberry filling, vanilla icing drizzle, fresh whipped cream piping, and a colorful array of multicolor sprinkles, this creation is transformed into a symphony of flavors that seamlessly meld the fluffiness of a classic beignet with the nostalgic sweetness of a strawberry Pop-Tarts®. Conveniently served on a stick.

Texas Sugar Rush Pickles
A trio of fun-filled, delicious cotton candy-flavored pickle slices coated in a cereal variety—Lucky Charms™, Froot Loops®, and Cap’n Crunch® —are layered in cotton candy, sprinkled with cotton candy sugar crystals and powdered sugar, and drizzled with strawberry sundae syrup. To top it all off, vanilla ice cream is added, giving this delicious concoction an explosion of flavor in every bite!

Tropical Two-Step Punch
Looking for a way to cool down in the sweltering Texas heat? The Tropical Two-Step Punch is here to give you a dose of paradise! This refreshing alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage combines a plethora of flavors, from citrus to passionfruit and even mango, making for a perfect drink for all ages on a hot summer day. Tangy, sweet, tart, sour, salty, and spicy, the Tropical Two-Step Punch has it all! Grab your dancing boots and let the Tropical Two-Step Punch transport you to the fun, tropical island of your choosing.

Whole Bundt of Kisses
This captivating creation features a deep fried 7UP® Bundt cake enveloped in a signature batter. Fresh from the fryer, the cake is filled with mouthwatering Belgian chocolate, resulting in a satisfying volcanic eruption of flavors. Adorned with crumbled homemade chocolate chip cookies and miniature kisses, dusted with powdered sugar, and crowned with a full-sized Hershey's® on a pillow of whipped cream and a sprinkle of edible silver glitter, this dessert becomes irresistible to fairgoers of all ages.

Big Tex -
Big Tex -

The contest for 2024 began in June with 65 entries from 40 concessionaires. All competitors are required to have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas before they can enter the competition.

In mid-August, the semi-finalists will be further narrowed down, with the best of the best from these sweet and savory treats earning a spot in the finals. The top 10 entries will compete in the final round at this year’s Big Tex® Choice Awards ceremony.

The 2024 State Fair of Texas, the most Texan place on Earth. Plan your visit now at The Fair opens on Friday, September 27, and runs through October 20, 2024.

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