The Texas State Fair will officially begin on Friday, September 24. After hosting a drive-thru version of the fair last year, Dallas’s Fair Park will be teeming with visitors until Oct. 17, though the state fair chairman has said the Dallas Morning News he’s not trying to break attendance records. Masks will be mandatory for all interior spaces, and for those who have not yet been vaccinated, the first doses will be offered just behind Big Tex from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the fair. Dallas County residents receiving their first dose will receive $ 20 in fair trade coupons. That’s enough for a Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que turkey thigh with a little leftover.
Yet many people, especially parents of children aged eleven and under, will assess the risk of attending such a massive rally. With just a hair less than 60% of the Dallas County population fully vaccinated, and vaccines for young children still at least a month away, some families will choose not to attend for safety reasons. Or maybe they just won’t want to pay for parking. Or maybe they don’t have the patience for long lines. But whether or not you choose to attend the official state fair, every Texan deserves fair food. If you skip this year’s festivities, you can still get your fix at a number of Dallas-Fort Worth barbecues. Thanks to innovative local restaurants – who know full well that hungry hordes of fry fans are going to descend over the next few weeks – the sausage on stick is just the start.
The statewide chain that is a gas station, bathroom stop, and all-consumable store also sells a variety of barbecue items, the most festive of which is the sausage on a stick. Junior’s Smokehouse in Wharton makes the sausage, and there’s a tortilla wrapped around it, which you might find unnecessary. With or without the tortilla, it’s a steal at just under $ 4.
Ferris Wheelers Garden and BBQ
There is a real Ferris Wheel in Ferris Wheelers’ backyard, although thanks to COVID it is not currently working. In the meantime, the rest of the backyard is open Tuesday through Sunday for a pop-up event (which starts at 4:00 p.m. each afternoon) titled State Ferris of Wheelers. It will run until October 16 and feature games, live music, and fair food. Go for the Jalapeño Cheese Corn Dogs, which are a steal at $ 6 for a pair, and thankfully are part of the standing menu.
Fort Worth and Dallas
Heim makes good use of the deep fryer. The joint sells some of the best onion rings in town and a corn dog that rivals anything you can get at the fair. Choose from a 44 Farms hot dog or three kinds of sausage — original, jalapeño and cheese, or pepper jack — and they’ll dip it into batter and fry it to order. This dog’s corn serving is chewy and sweet, and while I enjoy all the sausage choices, my favorite was the good old fashioned hot dog.
McKinney and Frisco
Even though they’ve never been sold under the watchful eye of Big Tex, Cackins famous Texas Twinkies might as well be good food. They’re made with a festive combination of bacon, cheese, and breast-stuffed jalapeños. The bacon is deliciously crisp and a little sweet thanks to the barbecue sauce brushed on before serving. It’s a decadent treat that’s not meant for everyday consumption, which means it perfectly embodies the ethics of dinner at the fair.
Intrinsic smokehouse and brewery
Garland has made its proximity to the show its own fall event, Fair price on the square. Thirteen different downtown restaurants have joined forces to offer special menus for the month of September. A must-have option on the list, Intrinsic has infused almost every item on their menu with Fruity Pebbles. There’s a Fruity Flakes cream beer on tap, a Fruity Pebbles cheesecake, and a Fruity Pebbles version of the joint masterpiece: funnel fries. The concoction consists of fried strips of sweet dough topped with a drizzle of raspberries, whipped cream and, of course, fruity pebbles.
Panther City BBQ
These poppers are at the top. Panther City serves a half jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese and a massive end of glazed pork belly, then wrapped in bacon and smoked until crisp. Layers of bacon and melting pork belly create a great contrast in textures, and the whole thing is an impressive flavor bomb.
Every Tuesday, Smoke-A-Holics transforms from a barbecue grill to a smoked turkey leg emporium. They serve a plain turkey leg for $ 12, or for $ 25 you can stuff it with shrimp and oatmeal, chicken-alfredo sausage pasta, or dirty rice and sausage. Bring the whole family to try them all.
Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que
Smokey John’s has been a staple at the State Fair of Texas since 1979. They’ll be here again this year, serving half a dozen stalls, and if you see them be sure to try the brisket brittle, which is fantastic. If you prefer to visit the restaurant, you won’t be able to get hold of one of their famous turkey thighs, which are all featured at the fair. But the minced breast sandwich or the rib sandwich on Texan toast, just like they serve at the fair, aren’t bad consolation prizes.
Every good day at the fair (or your own personal fair) requires something sweet. Smoke Rose fry a variety of fruits in homemade fried pies. Cherry and apple were on offer recently, and both came out of the deep fryer hot and crispy. The buttered exterior has a nice chew, and the hot filling is best cooled with a scoop of ice cream.
Terry Black’s barbecue
I’ve never seen anything like Terry Black’s black margarita at the fair, but it seems designed to win a Big Tex Choice Award. It arrives in a transparent and frosted cup lined with red salt and garnished with a slice of blood orange tinted with black. The frozen concoction is as black as the napkin it sits on, and it packs a tequila punch. Owners do not know what they are using for make the margarita black, and the mystery makes it a memorable cocktail.