Abel Gonzalez is the Texas state fair's king of deep-fried decadence. He's won the most Big Tex Choice awards for fried food in the fair's history. Abel's business is so good, he's been able to give up his nine-to-five job and fry full time.
Fried butter, his latest creation, won this year's title for Most Creative. How does he do it? "You get some butter and you freeze it, and you wrap it around the dough, like biscuit dough, and then you deep-fry it," Abel says. Each piece uses only a pad of butter, he says.
Abel got the idea from his own obsession with toast and butter. "I could not get enough of it," he says. When Oprah is hesitant to try it, Abel's got some helpful advice. "You've got to commit to the butter, ma'am," he says. "Like a popper."
Fried Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana
Gayle King's been obsessing over Abel's prize-winning deep-fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich since arriving in Texas. When she tries it, she's not disappointed. "We should sing Hallelujah right now," she says. "This is amazing."
Deep-Fried Peaches and Cream
The winner of this year's Big Tex Choice award for great taste was Fernie's deep-fried peaches and cream. Oprah loves it. "I might eat salads the rest of the week," she says. "Nobody tell Dr. Oz about the fried peaches!"
Funnel cake, a favorite at carnivals and state fairs, is made by pouring batter into hot oil through a funnel or spout and then deep-frying it. What's the difference between funnel cake and fried dough? Funnel cake is made with unleavened batter.
Fried Grilled Cheese
Fernie's "All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich" was a 2008 Big Tex Choice finalist. Two slices of white bread are stuffed with American and cheddar cheeses, dipped in egg and milk batter and coated with panko bread crumbs.
Chicken Fried Bacon
In 2008, chicken fried bacon won the State Fair of Texas' Best Taste Big Tex Choice award. Dip it in a side of creamy ranch or honey-mustard sauce to pack an extra punch.
Fried Coke won the State Fair of Texas' Big Tex Choice award for most creative in 2006. The fried part is not actually soda, but Coca-Cola–flavored batter that is deep-fried, covered in pure Coca-Cola fountain syrup and topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry.
How do you make a green goblin? Hollow out cherry peppers, stuff them with spicy shredded chicken and guacamole, then batter and deep-fry it all. Serve three to a skewer and top with queso. Green goblins were a finalist this year for a Big Tex Choice award.
In 2007, these Zesty Fried Guacamole Bites were a finalist for a Big Tex Choice award. The dish is a mixture of avocado, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and salsa, served with ranch dressing or salsa.
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