Dining With Denise Neil

Just when you think Kansas State Fair food can’t get any crazier ...

The Kansas State Fair always has weird food to try. This year’s lineup is particularly weird.
The Kansas State Fair always has weird food to try. This year’s lineup is particularly weird.

Just when you think Kansas State Fair food can’t get any weirder, someone has to go and deep fry a deviled egg.

As is typical state fair behavior, food vendors this year are trying to outdo their outrageous-ness from the past, and they have a lot to outdo considering that recent offerings have included jalapeno Twinkies, deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and “totchos,” a tater tot/nacho hybrid.

When the fair opens on Friday on the fairgrounds in Hutchinson, food fans will be able to find another lineup of weirdly wonderful creations.

Here’s the list of some of the weirdest dishes that will be available, followed by information about a few other food events.

MoonPie Burger: First, it was the Krispy Kreme burger, which substituted a bun for two glazed doughnuts. Then it was the Mac Attack Burger, which was topped with mac-and-cheese and then deep fried in its entirety. This year, the fair will top a burger with part of a MoonPie, that famous packaged confection that is cream-filled and chocolate-dipped. The burger will be available at Bernard’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Q at Cottonwood Court.

Shuttle Fries: The MoonPie Burger can be ordered with a side of Shuttle Fries, which are topped with a secret sauce made of mayonnaise, marshmallow fluff, cheese and spices. Shuttle Fries also will be available at Bernard’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Q at Cottonwood Court.

Deep Fried Pina Colada: This island-themed calorie bomb is a ring of pineaple that’s been soaked in coconut rum, coated with coconut breading, deep fried then drizzled with pina colada juice. You can get them at Hall Family Foods, 407 Pride of Kansas Avenue.

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs are a Kansas potluck favorite. The owners of Kathy B’s at 313 Fort Riley Blvd. are hoping that Deep Fried Deviled Eggs will become a Kansas State Fair favorite. “They are the bomb,” said inventor Susan Bernard, who said the eggs are stuffed with meat and Sriracha sauce before being battered and deep fried.

Pickle Poppers: This treat features a pickle that’s stuffed with sour hard candy then marinated, resulting in a sweet and sour flavor explosion. They’re at Bernard’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Q at Cottonwood Court.

Frozen Pickle Slushies with Candy: Pickle juice has been a trend lately, but Bernard’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Q in Cottonwood Court will add a layer of flavor to its Pickle Slushie by topping it with Sour Patch Kids and gummies.

Brew & BBQ

Another new food-friendly addition to this year’s Kansas State Fair is called Kansas Brew & BBQ, and it’s an event within an event.

It’s scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and is open to people attending that night’s Roots & Boots concert featuring Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye. The event will feature beer samples from Kansas breweries along with barbecue from Megan Day, a Kansas State University graduate who was a finalist on Chopped BBQ Masters in 2017.

Brew & BBQ will be set up on the floor seating area of the Grandstand, and admission is $50 for anyone who already has ticket to Roots & Boots, $85 for anyone who wants a ticket to both the concert and the Brew & BBQ event.

$2 Tasting Tuesday

This program, which started last year and continues this year, allows people to taste every type of food the fair has to offer at the risk-free cost of $2 a bite. (It’s also designed to get crowds on the fairgrounds on one of its traditionally slowest days.)

It happens all day on Tuesday, Sept. 11., when all the food vendors on the grounds will offer bite-sized servings of their menu items. That means a person with a $20 bill could try samples of 10 different foods they’ve always wondered about. The deal is offered only on Tuesday.

The best of the rest

Among the Kansas State Fair classic foods you shouldn’t miss:

Pronto Pups: It’s a corndog, but it’s so much more. The breading is sweet, the hotdog is steaming, and the greasy tissue paper it comes wrapped in is a crinkly harbinger of fall. The fair has five Pronto Pup booths stationed around the fairgrounds so that you’re never too far away from a fix.

Jaffles: Picture a hot, steamy sandwich filled with pizza toppings like pepperoni, ham, mozzarella and pizza sauce that’s pressed flat and melted on a special grill. Get this fair favorite at the Jaffle stand at 309 Grandstand Ave.

Knights of Columbus Pizza: The best basic pizza slices available in Kansas can be found every year at the Knights of Columbus booth inside Cottonwood Court.

Our Lady of Guadalupe tacos and enchiladas: The Our Lady of Guadalupe booth in Cottonwood Court serves the kind of enchiladas you grew up eating at church fundraisers. They also have fried flour tacos, tamales, pork tostadas, burritos and some of the best Mexican rice and beans you’ll have outside a Tex-Mex restaurant.

Kansas Dairy Association ice cream: People traditionally stand in long lines to get a taste of this ice cream, which comes in dishes, sugar cones or waffle cones. It’s sold is underneath the Grandstand.

Cheese curds: There aren’t words to describe the greasy, gooey texture of this fried-cheese delicacy, made more delicious dipped in a side of pizza sauce. Get them at the O’Neil Amusements booth at 305 Bison Blvd. or the one at 305 Fort Leavenworth Blvd.

Chicken and noodles: One of the fair’s most famous foods is the chicken and noodles sold by the folks at the South Hutchinson Methodist Church booth inside Cottonwood Court. It’s home cooking at its best, and nothing is more comforting on a cool fall day – the first of which almost inevitably arrives each year sometime during the fair.

The State Fair of Texas is famously filled with fried foods from the deepest corners of the imagination. Watch as Star-Telegram contributor Anna Caplan and her son, Gabe, sink their teeth into this sugary Tex-Mex burger from our dreams.

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