Forget deep fried candy bars. This state fair has deep fried lobster
Credit: Donovan Reese Photography/Getty Images

The State Fair of Texas doesn’t kick off until September 28, but in the months leading up to the fair, a fierce competition called the Big Tex Choice Awards rages on to decide the year’s best-tasting and most creative fried and otherwise fair-worthy foods. The semi-finalists were recently announced, giving us a preview of what’s to come this year. And just as you expected, the foods on deck could easily be categorized as outrageous.

In a step up from deep-fried butter, this year you’ll find deep-fried ranch dressing, pickles fried in red Kool-Aid, something called a “cotton candy taco” (although as Eater Dallas points out, we don’t yet know what that entails), bacon brittle, and deep fried lobster pops. Yeah, that’s definitely not your rich uncle’s Maine lobster roll. There’s even a dessert called “Orange You Glad We Fried It?!” which is made from a fried orange-flavored chiffon cake. The answer is yes, we are very glad, but I don’t think you can get much more decadent than that. You can find the full list of dishes that made the Big Tex awards semi-finals here.

The foods in question are competing for three coveted titles: Best Taste — Sweet, Best Taste — Savory and Most Creative. Personally, I’m curious about those Kool-Aid pickles. That hint of tangy sweetness, with the salt and crunch of the pickles, sounds tasty.

The awards take place on August 26, and if you happen to be in the area, you can actually attend the ceremony, which comes with a lot of food. The winners will be crowned, but you’ll still get to try all these delectable, greasy, fried, once-in-a-lifetime (because for your health, you should probably eat them only once in a lifetime) foods, win or lose, once the fair hits town.

Not feeling quite so adventurous? Don’t worry—the classics, like a tower of curly fries piled onto a paper plate—will still be on hand.