Finalists Announced for 2021 Big Tex Choice Awards

big tex choice awards

Ten lip-smacking and delectable deep fried dishes have been chosen as this year’s finalists for the 17th annual Big Tex Choice Awards. The contestants will each present their creations to a distinguished panel of celebrity judges at the event on Sunday, August 29. Entries are divided into three distinct categories: best sweet, best savory and most creative. Judges may select from either the sweet or savory category for the most creative entry.

Each crazy, creative, concoction will be evaluated on four distinct components: uniqueness, creativity, presentation, and taste. From brisket brittle to Pork Shots to the Lucky Duck Dumplin’, judges will taste-test and cast votes on their favorite deep-fried dishes..

The ten finalists hoping to secure a win are:

Savory Finalists

Crispy Crazy Corn, Ruth Hauntz

Individually battered sweet whole kernel corn fried and dusted with a secret seasoning, and topped with slowed-smoked pulled pork, tangy pineapple slaw and dribbled with freshly made jalapeño crema and fresh cilantro.

Deep Fried I-35, Clint and Gretchen Probst

A fried brisket kolache drizzled with a peach and Dr. Pepper infused BBQ glaze served with a dusting of powdered sugar and sliced peaches.

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, Gourmet Royale

Seafood gumbo balls packed with Gulf Coast shrimp, blue crab meat, stewed chicken, and andouille sausage, that are rolled in saltine cracker and breadcrumb mixture. Served with a dark roux, chicken fried okra spears, saltine crackers and a small bottle of hot sauce.

Lucky Duck Dumplin’, Bert Concessions

A pastry dumpling filled with duck bacon that is blended with with cream cheese, sweet corn and herbs and spices. Served with a mild, and slightly sweet Thai chili glaze.

Pork Shots, Glen and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller

Pork sausage wrapped in hickory smoked bacon and stuffed with creamy mac and cheese. The outside is sprinkled with a secret spicy BBQ rub.


The Armadillo, James Barrera

A cookie butter ice cream sandwich that includes two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies filled with cookie butter semifreddo, drizzled with cookie butter and dusted with sugar.

Brisket Brittle, Ruth Hauntz

Similar to old-fashioned peanut brittle, but the peanuts are replaced with smokey Texas brisket. Just a hint of heat.

Deep-Fried Halloween, Isaac Rousso

A deep-fried pretzel soaked in candy corn syrup and topped with colorful sprinkles, powdered sugar, and orange and white buttercream icing before being stacked with Halloween favorite candies, then drizzled with both a chocolate and caramel sauce.

Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake, Winter Family Concessions

Lightly glazed cake doughnut chuncks, English toffee bits, and almonds mixed with custard, then dipped in an egg product and rolled in panko and vanilla cookie crumbs. Once fried, it is sprinkled with powdered sugar, toffee tidbits and a mocha coffee whipped cream. Topped off with a miniature chocolate covered toffee bar.

Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake, Michelle Edwards

A Texas-shaped pumpkin cake with vanilla glaze and caramel, topped with whipped cream, and dusted with a secret spice.

This year’s Big Tex Choice Awards event will be closed to the public. However, the event will be broadcast during a Facebook Live event:

Be sure to sample these tempting treats at the fair this year. You’ll be glad you did! The 2021 State Fair of Texas begins Sept. 24 and runs through Oct. 17 at Fair Park, in Dallas, Texas.

by Gina Wiklund