Staples of the State Fair of Texas

Hi y’all! I’m Janelle Sosa, Digital Content Coordinator for the Texas Exes. If you’ve come to a tailgate, you’ve probably seen me running around taking pictures. Or you might’ve seen my hand on our Instagram stories. Basically, I’m the woman behind the scenes of your favorite social media account. If you need more proof, here I am making sure we got a photo of Big Tex with our Corny Dog.  

Last year was my first time at the State Fair of Texas, and I set out on a mission to find the most Instagram-worthy eats. While the snacks looked great on my feed, I missed out on trying some of the fair’s most iconic treats. Thus, this year’s mission was clear: Try the quintessential fair foods and see how they compare to some of the out-of-the-box offerings that have been added in recent years.  

Fletcher’s Original Corny Dog 

Now this might be the O.G. fair food. Fletcher’s has been offering State Fair goers their delicious Corny Dogs since 1942. Fletcher’s says that each year they sell about 500,000 corn dogs. All this means that I had to try one for myself. While standing in a crowd of Corny Dog fans for over 30 minutes, I kept asking myself, “Is it really going to live up to the hype?” It is just a corn dog after all. I was 100 percent wrong. This was possibly the best corn dog I have ever eaten. The batter was light with the perfect crisp on the outside. The hot dog itself was everything you would want in a hot dog. I am now a firm believer in Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs and will certainly stand in that line every year. 

RATING: 9/10, worth the wait. 

Funnel Cake 

Funnel Cake is a treat that everyone knows and loves, but few know its Texas State Fair origin. In 1969, Wanda “Fernie” Winter brought the first funnel cakes to the fair, and the deep-fried treat has now been a staple for over four decades. Fernie’s Funnel Cakes instantly transport you to memories of carnivals and childhood. The treat is airy, crunchy, and there is plenty of powdered sugar to go around. I was surprised at how the sweetness was not overpowering. I desperately wanted to go back for seconds, but this was the first treat of the day, and I knew I had to pace myself. 

RATING: 8.5/10, powdered-sugar heaven. 

Funnel Cake Chicken Sandwich 

This year, Fernie’s also decided to offer up a new take on funnel cake that also capitalizes on one of the most popular food trends of recent years: Meet the Funnel Cake Chicken Sandwich. Designed for those who love savory foods but also have a sweet tooth, this treat is meant to give you the best of both worlds.  

I am saddened to report that this is an example of “don’t mess with a good thing.” While it is creative, the chicken patty is missing spices and the whole sandwich is dense without flavor. There is also an underwhelming amount of powdered sugar. I ended up having to pour extra sugar from my original funnel cake onto this one. I will say the honey was a nice addition, and I would love to try it on a normal funnel cake. 

RATING: 4/10, needing some Texas heat. 

The Chismosa 

As a self-proclaimed chismosa (a nosy person), this was literally calling my name. A twist on the beloved brunch drink, this frozen mimosa combines champagne and orange juice with a chamoy and Tajín rim, giving fairgoers delicious fruity flavor with a little bit of a kick. If you’re a fan of spicy cocktails, this is worth trying!  Upon the first few sips, the combination of flavors seemed to not mix well. After some melting and mixing, the drink really came together and wowed my tastebuds. The Chismosa was the perfect boozy frozen treat to cool down with after Texas Football brought the heat. Citrusy and flavor-packed, this is a newcomer that I would try again, as long as I have some water nearby. 

RATING: 7/10, hot, hot, hot! 

Turkey Leg 

Barbecued turkey legs have been a Texas staple for as long as I can remember. In fact, I tried my first turkey leg at just 3 years old. Suffice to say, I’m a fan. The State Fair of Texas knows the demand for this staple and has 20 different locations serving turkey legs. When I got to the counter of the nearest barbecue booth, I was shocked when it cost 20 coupons. On the positive side, the treat was served hot and quickly. I waited less than five minutes. The meat was tender and juicy enough to leave my hand with charcoal and grease stains. However, after 10 bites of the same thing with plenty more turkey to go, I found myself wanting something different. To be honest, this is a fair staple that I would recommend skipping unless you have an empty stomach and a need for pure protein.  

RATING: 6/10, meets expectations but nothing more. 

Deep-Fried Chocolate Tres Leches 

This was the final treat of the day, and I knew I wanted to end with a little something sweet. The air was thick and full of grease as I walked into the food court. The options were endless, but nothing seemed quite right. I almost bit the bullet and tried the Cotton Candy stuffed pickles, but then I saw it: Deep Fried Chocolate Tres Leches.  

Oh. My. Gosh. If you’re looking for an upgraded version of fried Oreos, this is it. The explanation is in the name—chocolate tres leches cake is deep fried and topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. After cutting into the crispy outer shell, I was amazed to find that the cake had the same moist quality of any good tres leches. It was perfectly paired with fresh peaches and strawberries to cut the richness of the cake. 

RATING: 10/10, as big of a win as this year’s game.

In summary, the classics are classics for a reason. You can’t go wrong with spending your coupons on a fair staple. However, if you’re willing to go out on a limb, it might be worth your while. Try all of our recommended eats before the fair ends on October 23. This year’s TX/OU Weekend was truly amazing. Just like everyone’s favorite corny dogs, the Red River Shutout of 2022 will go down in Longhorn history. But now, it’s time to eat some TUMS. 


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