State Fair food finalists include deep fried comforts

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The State Fair of Texas has picked the finalists for the Big Tex Choice food awards.

The contest is an annual tradition at the fair. The eight finalists competing for the titles of best tasting and most creative include:

Caribbean Pineapple Korn-a-Copia - Marinated grilled chicken and shrimp are served in a pineapple half shell over a bed of yellow Caribbean fried rice and topped with a tropical salsa and pineapple rum glaze.

Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider on a Stick - A miniature ground beef patty is stuffed with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon and an all-beef hot dog on a Hawaiian roll. It’s placed on a skewer topped with a pickle, dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried. It’s served with shoe string fries and ranch dipping sauce.

Deep Fried Pulled Pork “FUNYUN®” Dings – A traditional crunchy “FUNYUN” is stuffed with pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, pineapple slices and bacon. It is then deep fried and served with a multilayered sweet BBQ sauce.

Fernie’s Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac ‘n Cheese Dip – Hearty pot pie filling is ladled into fresh, flaky pastry dough and then gently folded “hot pocket” style. It’s served with a side of mac ‘n cheese-inspired dip.

Fried Jell-O® - Classic cherry-flavored Jell-O is rolled in a panko-crusted breading, flash-fried and then dusted with powdered sugar. It’s served with whipped cream and a cherry garnish.

Injectable Great Balls of BBQ - Smoke-crusted BBQ beef brisket is shredded with bock BBQ sauce and molded to form balls. The ball of beef is then breaded with seasoned bread crumbs, deep fried and served on top of a bed of coleslaw. Each order also comes with a pipette of bock BBQ sauce to be injected into the brisket balls.

Southern Fried Chicken & Dumplins - Juicy shredded chicken is mixed with bits of signature seasonings, dough and a touch of gravy. The mixture is then rolled into balls, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. It’s served with fried “biscuit bites” and a side of gravy.

State Fair Cookie Fries - Offered in traditional cookie flavors like chocolate chip or sprinkles, these sweet treats are served with your choice of the accompanying strawberry or milk chocolate sauce.

Fair fans can actually get a taste of the competition. The final round of judging will be open to the public on Aug. 28 and samples will be available.

The 2016 State Fair of Texas kicks off on Sept. 30