9 Outrageous Menu Items You’ll Only Find At A State Fair

Image courtesy of bunchofpants

When yours truly was a kid, eating at the State Fair meant grabbing some fried cheese curds, a funnel cake, and resigning oneself to a coating of that unique combination of powdered sugar and sweat. Things are not so simple in the new millennium, however.

In an attempt to stand out in the crowds that fill state fairgrounds every year, food vendors have resorted to over-the-top feats of gustatory delight. Whether it’s fried, stacked, stuffed, smothered, or all of the above, here are a few contenders for some of the weirdest foods state (and county) fairs have to offer.

Put away your calorie counters, folks. Where we’re going, there are no calories (because otherwise it’s no fun).

1. Ultimate Bacon Brisket Bomb (Iowa)

Full disclosure here, guys: With one-sixth of the Consumerist staff hailing from Iowa, we have to admit it’s tough not to recognize the state’s particular dedication to busting the gut and testing the limits of taste buds. With things like Apple Pie on a Stick and Golden Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly (again) on a Stick, it’s hard to choose just one.

But last year’s Ultimate Bacon Brisket Bomb, boasting eight ounces of brisket wrapping tightly and lovingly in the arms of bacon, and smothered in jalapeño cheese and barbecue sauce has to be the winner here. Because it’s bacon, it’s a bomb, it’s a bacon bomb.

2. Italian Dessert Nachos (Minnesota)

The Italian dessert nachos that the Minnesota State Fair unleashed on unsuspecting visitors sound like something two buddies dreamed up while stoned: cinnamon sugar cannoli chips covered in sweet ricotta cheese filling, fruit, chocolate, nuts, and candy toppings. Yes, that seriously happened.

3. Spaghetti Ice Cream (Indiana)

What you see is not what you get with this Indiana State Fair oddity: gelato noodles are doused in strawberry sauce, with white chocolate acting as Parmesan cheese, with a few chocolate balls posing as meatballs. The faux dessert went on to win the crown of signature food at the 2012 Indiana State Fair. Mamma mia indeed.

4. Deep-Fried Butter Balls and…
5. Deep-Fried Beer (Texas)

Texas takes state fair food quite seriously, making it tough to narrow it down to just a few strokes of weird genius. Any state that gets straight to the fatty point with deep-fried balls of butter:

… then throws in a fried beer to wash it down:

is one that we must commend wholeheartedly, however, for straight-up dedication to the deep fryer.

Why deep fry butter, anyway?

“I mean, butter by itself does not taste good,” its creator told the Today show back in 2009. “Nobody just grabs a stick of butter and eats it. That would be gross.”

6. Deep-Fried Kool-Aid and…
7. Deep-Fried Hot Sauce (California)

We’ve seen deep-fried Starbucks before, sure, but why eat battered coffee grounds when you can say “Oh yeah!” to deep-fried Kool-Aid?

The only sad thing? They’re not filled with liquid Kool-Aid, but instead are made from a Kool-Aid batter and taste “kind of like donut holes,” the balls’ creator told ABC News (warning: link contains video that autoplays). He says he drank Kool-Aid growing up, and thought, “Why not fry it and see what happens?”

Why not, indeed.

Another worthy entry for California comes from the Los Angeles County Fair, where a deep-fried hot sauce will be served in a bag or as a spicy kabob come September. We don’t have photos… yet, but if you snap one this fall, please send it to tips@consumerist.com.

8. The Wis-cone-sin (Wisconsin… duh)

How does one fit an entire state in a cup? Wisconsin sure knows how to do it (yes, I am from Wisconsin, so I am biased), and the Wis-cone-sin, winner of the state’s 2015 Sporkies award, sounds like a beast: a soft pretzel cone with chicken schnitzel, potato pancake, German rot kohl, cinnamon apple straws, and a beer reduction. I’d add a few fried cheese curds just for extra measure, which can be found in abundance at any Wisconsin fair.

9. The Defibrillator (New York)

What do you get when you take a cheeseburger, top it with deep-fried bacon, deep-fried cheese, deep-fried pickles, and put it between two grilled cheese sandwiches? The Defibrillator, and all the calories that come with it — an estimated 1,605 calories, Syracuse.com reported last summer.

#s 10, 11, 12… You Tell Us

As you can tell by the brevity of this list, this is by no means definitive. We want to know what’s hot and happening out there in the deep-fried fair world of 2016, so as you venture out with the crowds to stuff your faces, think of us, and snap a pic. Submit your best gut-busting snacks or odd menu items to us at tips@consumerist.com with the subject line: State Fair Food.