Although there have been stories of people actually frying eggs on their car dashboard on hot Texas summer days, this fried food is made dashboard free. Fifty-four fried foods were entered this year, and while all are creative in their own way, some prove to be delicious, while others fall short. Still, the creations are always a state fair highlight, with new and unique entries in the Big Tex Choice Awards every year. Read about some of this year’s best options below, and then go taste them for yourself.

Chicken Fried Cactus Bites
Butch Benavides

If you have never eaten a cactus before, what better way to start than with a deep fried one? The chicken-fried cactus bites are truly made from slices of prickly pear cactus. They are battered, deep fried and served with two dips. Choose from a custom jalapeño ranch or agave nectar. Pick your favorite, or take a little of each of the two sauces to find the best way to eat a fried cactus. Butch Benavides, who created these unique bites, also won “Most Creative” for his bacon cinnamon roll.

Deep Fried Divine Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
Denise Garza

If tres leches cake is good, adding chocolate would have to be better, so deep frying it must be amazing. This treat starts with a slice of chocolate tres leches cake that is soaked in a batter of buttermilk and fried. It doesn’t stop there though. It is then topped with slices of strawberries and peaches, drizzled with syrup, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.

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Deep Fried Jambalaya
Abel Gonzales

This version of jambalaya is more of a finger food than the bowl type. Although it’s not a traditional presentation of the dish, this is a fun twist on the Louisiana classic. This jambalaya is made from scratch, then breaded and fried. It is presented at the state fair with a serving of spicy ranch sauce. The deep-fried jambalaya won “Best Taste” this year in the Big Tex Choice Awards. It is actually the fifth win for Abel Gonzales, who created deep-fried pineapple upside down cake last year.

Deep Fried Mac-N-Cheese Slider
Steve Velasquez

This deep-fried goodie combines two comfort foods into one. It includes a slider favorite topped with macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese is made with three cheeses and baked, then battered in bread crumbs and fried. The result is browned on the outside and soft in the middle. Finally the cheesy goodness is laid on a classic slider and covered with a bun.

Fried Samoa Girl Scout Cookies
Christi Erpillo
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

The Samoa is already a cookie coated with caramel and coconut, then drizzled with chocolate, but in celebration of its 100th year, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, along with Christi Erpillo, found a way to make this cookie even harder to resist. Erpillo, of The Dock restaurant, and once a Girl Scout herself, was eager to take on the challenge. After several failed attempts, she found success when she wrapped a Samoa in two wontons, fried it, then covered it in caramel, coconut and chocolate. The cookie concoction is extremely rich and therefore a perfect addition to the fried fair smorgasbord.

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Emilie DesJardins currently works in Dallas television and worked with KRLD Restaurant Week for several years before that. She is always trying new places around the Metroplex to find the best food and unique things to do. See her work at