Top 10 New Foods at the 2012 State Fairs

Well, in regards to ridiculous overloads of novelty foods, it’s all downhill from here—state fair season is over for the year. We’ll have to wait for months before a stream of deep-fried, chocolate-covered, bacon-wrapped indulgences can once again make their appearance in our diets. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the most shocking new creations that made their debut onto the state fair food scene in 2012. Steel your arteries…

10. BIG Beef Rib – California State Fair

You’d think that a normal beef rib would contain enough animal flesh, but you would be wrong, and the California State Fair is here to prove it. They’ve jammed a giant 24-oz. steak ONTO a 17-inch beef rib bone. Why?! Because they can. (Photo:

9. Deep Fried Cotton Candy – Texas State Fair

We saw deep fried Kool-Aid and deep fried salsa at last year’s state fairs, so we should have known that cotton candy couldn’t be that far off. Pretty crazy, because it seems like the spun sugar would melt in the deep fryer. Life is full of mysteries. Not enough sweets for you? Don’t worry, this treat is served by a frozen yogurt purveyor, so feel free to use these giant balls of fried sugar as a topping on your froyo. (Photo: Cassie’s Frozen Yogurt)

8. Outlaw Stacker – Eastern Idaho State Fair

We all know that french fries are a great base for all kinds of toppings, and the Eastern Idaho State Fair really took that idea and ran with it. The Outlaw Stacker is a huge pile of fries smothered in gravy, bacon, and a fried egg. The name rings true—health and nutrition are truly outlawed in this dish. And we’re okay with that. (Photo: Eastern Idaho State Fair)

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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:

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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Meat TV: How Steak Becomes Steak

The Perennial Plate Episode 14: Meat from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

I almost feel blasphemous for this post after forkitude’s great article earlier last week about the inordinate amount of meat the average American eats. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly agree that our intake is out of whack and personally make a point to only consume red meat once or twice a month. However, I also believe a nice cut of beef with a simple pan sauce is one of the greatest things in the world and probably why we have canine teeth.

But I also know a lot of you believe in knowing more about where your meat comes from. The video above, from The Perennial Plate, offers a brief glimpse into a Minnesota meat processing plant that provides locally sourced, grass fed beef to their community. For a blunt look at the (after)life of a steer, press play above. The video is a fairly graphic, so it probably shouldn’t be watched by the squeamish or those at work, but isn’t that what the internet is for?


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The Grand Wrap-It

grand wrap hot dog

Even though I love to travel and spend a large percentage of my time out on the road, as a New Yorker I’m still required by birthright to be hyper-critical of any other place I visit — and in no realm is that more true than food. When evaluating a new city’s food scene, one of the most important criteria is the strength of their after-hours offerings, because there’s nothing worse than getting drunk in a strange city, learning that the bars close at some obscenely early hour like 1am, and then finding yourself wandering strange, grid-less city streets with nary a pizza place open to soak up the booze.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan for a college friends’ wedding last week, my pals and I were pleasantly surprised to find a pretty happening revived downtown area, and particularly pleased with Hopcat, a serious beer geek’s bar with an impressive handpull list (and a A+ rating from Beer Advocate). At least on the liquid side of things, G-rap was shaping up to be a more exciting city than I had imagined.

I did, however, have one major problem…

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