The return of Big Tex, questionably safe fair rides, and fried food regrets hit Dallas within the next month. Most look forward to the State Fair of Texas for its fried creations above all else, and each year the stakes are raised for most innovative way to clog the city’s arteries. It’s an honor that few can claim, and this year’s 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards are no letdown. Judging takes place on September 1 at 10 am, and finalists include Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato, deep fried “Breakfast for Dinner,” deep fried Texas Bluebonnet, fried Gulf Shrimp Boil, fried Sriracha Balls, fried Sweet Texas, Original State Fair Brew – Funnel Cake Ale, and Twisted Texas Tacos.
As you prepare to soak up the grease and revel in each bite of deep-fried crunch of perfection, hit up a couple of these spots around town to find some of my favorite fried dishes.
Blind Butcher’s Poutine
Canada took fried potatoes to another level with poutine, and America loves it right now. Whether you order the mushroom, shrimp, pork belly or duck poutine, Blind Butcher doesn’t skimp on its homemade gravy and cheese curds, which offer the right balance of extra fat to each mouthful. You should probably get it with the an egg on top, because why not?
Scotch & Sausage’s Scotch Egg
If you like to crack open your fried pork egg to reveal a runny yolk that offers a sweet creamy note to well-seasoned meat then this is your place. I shouldn’t have to tell you that you can’t leave until you finish at least one of their house-made sausages.
Chino Chinatown’s Duck Fat Fries
Anything with the word fat in it will most likely taste glorious. This is no exception. Yucca wedges with garlic, cotija, chives and sriracha ketchup offer a unique combination of taste and texture. You can keep the flavor party going by opting for an order of duck fat fried rice.
The Rustic’s Calf Fries
Yes, I asked what this is. Yes, I obviously still ate them. They are fried bull balls, people, and I don’t care. Crispy nuggets that come with a creamy buttermilk dip…take a bite and see if you ever question this dish again.
Babe’s Fried Chicken
I think we have definitely established at this point that Texas loves fried chicken. Believe me, I am not ready to dive into another fried chicken battle for “the best” bird in town, but I will say Babe’s stands as a Dallas tradition for this southern dish. Classic, crisp, cheap and plentiful is how they like it and so do I.
Torchy’s Tacos’ Fried Avocado
Fried avocado is great on its own, but this comes as an actual taco on the menu. Hand-battered fresh avocados are fried and served with vegetarian refried beans, topped with pico, lettuce and cheese on a corn tortilla.
Alligator Café’s Po’ Boy Sandwich
A taste of NOLA in the heart of downtown Dallas with a lengthy list of fried items to soothe your stomach’s desires, you choose from fried oyster and fried catfish, or go with the slightly lamer (and by that I mean less fried) options of chicken and shrimp for the po’ boy. It’s served with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo on French bread. It comes with French fries, but step up your game with fried corn nuggets, fried okra, hushpuppies and collard greens.
Meddlesome Moth’s Fish n’ Chips
A modern European gastropub at heart, of course these guys know how to cook up a mean offering of fried fish and fries. Thick pieces of fresh Pacific cod battered in Old Speckled Hen, a malty English ale, are a flawless way to enjoy a flight of worldly brews.
Boxwood Tap + Grill’s Fried Green Tomatoes
You can get this served up BLT-style on a challah bun for dinner, get it with some egg whites during brunch hours, or enjoy it with some remoulade sauce as a shared plate. They come crisp, tart and not too greasy.
The Original Fried Pie Shop’s Brisket Pie
You could be unoriginal and order one of their fruity creations like pineapple, peach or cherry (okay, they are pretty darn good, so I retract the unoriginal statement) or you could do your tastebuds a favor and order the Brisket Pie. Perk: you have the option of making your own by mixing any of their fruit and cream flavors to your liking.
LUCK’s Apple Fritter Funnel Cake with Beer Ice Cream
This is just all types of heaven. First, you’re not American if you don’t enjoy funnel cake, apple pie or beer. Now, picture all three combined together for a mouthful of YAAAAAS.