Corn Dogs Gone Gourmet

State fair season may still be several months away, but at ES we think about corn dogs 24/7/365. Now, here’s a corn dog even ya’ll uppity foodies won’t be ashamed to embrace.

Chef Kyle Rourke of Red Star Tavern in Portland has been giving corn dogs all kinds of gourmet upgrades, serving rabbit corn dogs with carrot-habanero dip, lobster corn dogs with mango relish, and venison corn dog with fig preserve. We asked him to share a recipe for one from his menu that’s just slightly more acceptable for home cooks.

Chicken Kielbasa Corn Dogs

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Top 10 New Foods at the 2011 State Fairs

It’s America’s favorite meal — the state fair! Every year, the fairs across this great land compete with each other to invent bigger, badder, greasier fair food. But after Texas stepped up its game last year with deep fried beer, this thing hit a whole ‘nother level. The 2011 state and country fair foods have been more insane — and more amazing — than ever. Here are our top 10 favorite finds.

10. Chocolate Covered Corn Dog – Orange County Fair

Could there be anything more American than dipping a hot dog in batter, deep frying it and eating it off a stick? Why yes, there could be. You could cover it in chocolate and put sprinkles on top, a treat that was found at both the OC Fair and neighboring San Diego County Fair. My Burning Kitchen has more on food at the San Diego fair. (Photo: www.myburningkitchen.com)

9. Deep Fried Kool-Aid – San Diego County Fair

In another strong showing for California’s other great fair — and originator of last year’s hash brown covered hot dog, San Diego debuts what is surely the trashiest food ever conceptualized. It’s just unclear why they didn’t wrap it in bacon. (Photo: Cuttlefish)

8. Deep Fried Butter on a Stick – Iowa State Fair

Texas may have invented deep fried butter at their own fair a few years back, but Iowa thought to put it on a stick. See, America, we can do great things when we work together. Yes, this involves frying an entire stick of butter, and yes, you simply have to watch the video for full effect.

7. Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack – Texas State Fair

The first of several entries from the Lone Star state, this monstrosity is a chicken strip, coated in pancake batter and jalapeño bread crumbs, then deep fried and…you guessed it — eaten on a stick. (Photo: State Fair of Texas)

6. Red Velvet Funnel Cake – Florida State Fair

Funnel cake has fallen behind on the list of outrageous fair foods recently. After fried beer and fried Coke, plain old fried dough starts to look pale by comparison. But this year we saw funnel cake get a new southern fried twist that injects some new life into it…and probably injects all kinds of chemicals too. Why eat fried dough when you can eat red fried dough? (Photo: Bob B. Brown)

 Next: The Top 5 state fair foods

 

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Attack of the Meme: Texts from Last Night Intersected with LOST

I may have found the memes to end all memes. The brilliant Tumblr, Text From The Fuselage, intersects the hilarious Texts from Last Night, a submission-based site featuring ridiculous text messages (about things like deep frying Cheese-Its and Vicodin) and highly passionate photos from LOST. Now while I’m still angry about the last season of LOST, I have to say, I don’t mind seeing pictures of a scruffy Jack, lusty Sawyer and wild-eyed Sayid.

Top 10 Food Texts Intersected with LOST

10. Beards

(Photo: Text From The Fuselage)

9. Distribution

(Photo: Text From The Fuselage)

8. Fridge

(Photo: Text From The Fuselage)

7. Questions

(Photo: Text From The Fuselage)

6. Coffee


(Photo: Text From The Fuselage)

Next: Top 5 Food Texts Intersected with LOST

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Top 10 New Foods at the 2010 State Fairs

With all due respect to George Washington Carver, America’s greatest food inventions have all originated in one place — the state fair. From cotton candy to corn dogs to deep-fried Coke, the enterprising folks at America’s state and county fairs top themselves year after year. Some observers thought state fair cooks had hit their peak last year, when the Texas State Fair debuted Deep Fried Butter. But in 2010, they outdid themselves once again, proving that if it’s edible, it’s even better battered and fried. From coast to coast (but mostly in the middle) here are our top ten favorite finds:

10. Hash Brown Hot Dog  – San Diego County Fair

hash brown dog

Hot dogs with french fries is a pretty fantastic lunch, but boy it takes a lot of effort to transport all those individual fries from the plate to your mouth. If only we could get the hot dog and the potato to be one cohesive unit, preferably arranged on a stick. Thank you, San Diego. Thank you. (Photo: It’s Holly)

9. Deep-Fried Cheddar-Bacon Mashed Potatoes…On a Stick  – Minnesota State Fair

potatoes

Sorry, San Diego — did you really think you could best the Midwest at spuds-on-a-stick? Here, Minnesota achieves the state fair trifecta — potatoes, pork and cheese — all deep fried, all on a stick. For more of Minnesota’s many, many state fair foods, check out Baking Junkie’s heart-stopping food crawl through the MN State Fair. (Photo: Baking Junkie)

8. Garbage Burger – Indiana State Fair

garbage burger

It’s the great state fair dilemma. Should pork be the basis of your dish — or a topping? In Indiana, this is not a problem. Behold the garbage burger — a deep-fried pork patty topped with a healthy serving of pulled pork. Why settle for one pig when you can have two? See more at The Hot Cookie. (Photo: Sarah Richcreek)

7.  Deep-Fried Frito Pie – Texas State Fair

frito pie

No other state takes this season as seriously as Texas, the good people who started the deep-fried everything movement with their corn dog in 1942 and haven’t looked back since. Earlier this week, ES told you about frito pies — those delicious piles of chili-topped corn chips. One guess what Texas has gone and done to ’em. (Photo: Texas Fried Frito Pie)

6. Deep Fried Klondike Bar – San Diego State Fair

deep fried klondike bar

California continues its surprisingly strong showing by having the cojones to throw a chocolate-covered ice cream bar in the deep fryer. This one’s more concept than execution, because not so surprisingly, it’s a total disaster to eat. My Burning Kitchen has more. (Photo: My Burning Kitchen)

Next: Top 5 New Foods at the 2010 State Fairs

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Grease, Goats and Girth: The Iowa State Fair

state fair

After the two-hour drive to Des Moines, Iowa, my taste buds were ready for the greasy foods on a stick and ridiculous fair concoctions that only the Iowa State Fair could deliver. My goal was to attend the fair on an empty stomach so I could report back to you, dear ESer, about how the delicious fried things on a stick tasted. But I have a confession to make: I WAS NOT HUNGRY. After a sweet and greasy fried twinkie that got me all sticky, my body said “no way are you eating any more of this shit.” No, the wasp drowning in the sugary residue around a funnel cake was not appetizing. And last time I checked, hot beef sundaes would make any normal person want to vomit. About eight bottles of water and 500 pictures later, I was exhausted, smelly, tired and grossed out. I never did find those chicken lips on a stick. I feel somewhat cheated.

It was a twilight zone of meat: pork, steak, chicken, turkey, bacon, sausage, meatballs, 1/2 lb tenderloins, hamburgers. And it seemed that every other person I saw was a walking example of what happens if one eats state fair food as one’s daily diet. The people watching just got better and better and more alarming as we made our way around the fair. (Picture the humans in the movie Wall-E.) I couldn’t snap my camera fast enough. In speaking with one seemingly regular gentleman, he asked me what I was doing with the big camera. I told him that I was photographing state fair food. He asked me, “are you taking pictures of all the freaks?” Yes, yes, I was. I couldn’t keep my shutter shut.

We were also lucky enough to catch a few of the animals left in their pens, including a gigantic pig that looked like a hippopotamus, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks and cows. The smell, oh the smell, can only be described as hot and pungent. And most likely, very soon, these animals would be on a stick somewhere. Gross.

Pop a few antacids before you browse the selection of photos:

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