Fried & True: America’s Most Intense Fair Food
By Ramon Gonzales
Synonymous with the long days of summer, the fair remains one of this country’s most cherished traditions. From the Ferris wheel to the midway, images of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web materialize with a stroll through the petting zoo and maybe a ride on the bumper cars.
When it comes to food though, the faire has morphed a bit from box of popcorn and occasional pull from a spool of cotton candy. We’re talking about a game of coronary “Can You Top This” that results in just about everything being coated in battered and dropped into a fryer. Even the more typical items like fried chicken are amped – by sandwiching it between two glazed donuts of course.
Fair food has become integral to the experience. Every year fans look for something more intense than the golden fried goodness they had the year prior – and that makes for some interesting experimentation.
DEEP FRIED BUTTER
Making it’s first appearance at the Iowa State Fair (of course), this insult to heart health is everything you think it is. Take on stick of butter, bury they bad boy in a heavy cornmeal batter and let it bathe in hot oil for about 3 minutes. Once the golden brown crunch is in tact, there is a coating of sugary glaze drizzled over the top. That’s it. What sounds like more of a challenge than a treat, this one is definitely one of the more egregious in loosely being called “food.”
BACON WRAPPED JACK DANIEL’S CHURRO
This next treat is likely what were to happen if Jesus himself got stoned. The basis here is to inject the already tender goodness of the inside of a churro with bourbon. Jack Daniel’s bourbon to be exact. Letting the dough and the booze marry, the stick is then wrapped in bacon and bedded on a grill. As the salty fat of the bacon seeps into the already cinnamony sweet, boozed up churro, this Frankenstein of a snack proves that originality is not dead.
CHOCOLATE COVERED CORN DOG
When it comes to flavor profiles, the go-to for most fair food lives and dies in the wedded matrimony of sweet and savory. This next gem only proves that. When it comes to classics, the corn dog might arguably be the officially food item of the fair. You can get it in footlong form, fried cheese form, and for those of you with a sweet tooth, you can get the salty crunch of a beef hot dog coated in batter, completely covered in chocolate. Of course, the finishing touch of a few sprinkles are a must – presentation is key.
You know that saying how everything is bigger in Texas – here is a pretty damned fine example. Available at this summer’s OC Fair, Texas donuts host a variety of interesting flavors, but the sticking point remains the size. About the size of personal pizza, this 8-inch monster is now available with cherry Pop Rocks. Yep, the confection designed to snap and pop in your mouth coats this deep-fried dough and provides an interesting crunch to each soft, sugary bite.
TRIPLE DECKER KRISPY KREME CHEESEBURGER
Making it’s introduction at the San Diego Fair this year, there is nothing that can prepare your heart for what it will face with this massacre. You know those delicious, but not so healthy glazed donuts Krispy Kreme made famous? There are two of those involved here and those are just the bookends. Hammered in between are three grilled hamburger patties and three pieces of melted cheese – American. Naturally. A single bite would be enough to decimate the hopes of a productive day after, but finishing this terror might ruin your week.