North Carolina State Fair
Every summer, millions of Americans flock to their state’s annual State Fair. Some come for the carnival rides, some for the concerts, some for the rodeo, some for the giant vegetables. But in recent years, some state fairs have become renowned for one gut-busting reason: the food.
State Fair of Texas
The Texas State Fair is legendary for its commitment to clogging its patrons’ arteries, and this deep-fried cinnamon roll, covered in glaze and topped with powdered sugar and plenty of crumbled bacon, certainly fits the bill. This was such a hit that it was a winner at the Big Tex Choice Awards.
California State Fair
We have to admit that this one is pretty brilliant. Why eat a plain turkey leg when you can gnaw on one that’s been wrapped up in bacon and deep-fried?
Ohio State Fair
Buckeyes, balls of peanut butter fudge partially dipped in chocolate, are a popular regional treat in Ohio and surrounding states. So it makes perfect sense that someone thought to batter and fry them at the Ohio State Fair.
The Great New York State Fair
If you’re going to create a dish called The Defibrillator, you better make sure that it’s the type of food that can clog your arteries just by looking at it. We think the one served at Jim Hasbrouck’s Fried Specialties at the New York State fair gets it right: an Angus beef burger topped with deep fried bacon, deep fried pickles, and deep fried cheese curds, with two grilled cheese sandwiches serving as a bun. Introduced in 2015, this gooey and greasy monstrosity has been estimated to contain more than 1,600 calories.
North Carolina State Fair
Arizona State Fair
Pecan pie is well-established as basically the unhealthiest pie in existence (its filling is primarily nuts, butter, and corn syrup, after all), so of course it makes sense to batter and fry the thing. At the Arizona State Fair, the batter is so thick that you’re basically eating a gooey pie-filled doughnut (here’s a photo of the inside).
Colorado State Fair
Funnel cake is a carnival and state fair staple (and is even occasionally used as a hamburger bun), but at the Colorado State Fair they take it one step further: Instead of traditional funnel cake batter, the mix is dropped into the oil through a churro extruder. The end result is essentially a several-foot-long churro.
Cheese curds, which are basically just chunks of fresh cheese, are a Great Lakes regional specialty. As you might have imagined, there’s no shortage of deep-fried variations at the Wisconsin State Fair. These get a light tempura batter and taste like the best mozzarella sticks you’ve ever eaten.
The creation that arguably started it all earns Texas two spots on this list. Introduced in 2010, many assumed that the concept of “deep fried butter” was too ridiculous to be true, but it’s indeed a real thing: Balls of butter are mixed with cinnamon and sugar, dunked in batter, and deep-fried. The end result contains a molten center of melted butter, some of which soaks into the shell. Nearly every state fair has its own version, but it all started in Texas.
Oklahoma State Fair
This one’s a mashup for the ages: a giant cinnamon roll, brimming with chocolate, crumbled graham crackers, and a whole lot of marshmallows.
Yes, it’s real alligator, sautéed and served atop alligator-shaped fries. Yes, it’s certainly wacky, but considering the fact that alligator is notoriously tough and chewy, we can’t vouch for its flavor.
Why just eat a piece of fruit when you can put it on a stick, batter it, and fry it? This place knows the answer. It’s also selling deep-fried bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed olives, which are a big hit.