Food winners announced for Texas State Fair’s Big Tex Choice Awards

Five words: Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls

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Anything deep-fried is already a winner in our hearts, but two fried-up treats made it to the top of the State Fair of Texas’ food competition.

Organizers on Sunday announced the winners of the 17th annual Big Tex Choice Awards: Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, which won best taste-savory and most creative, and The Armadillo, which won best taste-sweet.

The two creations were picked by a panel of judges, who also tried eight other creative and crazy food items.

“Each year the judges of the Big Tex Choice Awards are faced with the challenging, yet highly sought-after, job of selecting the winning Fair foods – this year was no exception, and the lineup proved to be extraordinarily competitive this year,” organizers said in a news release.

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls by Gourmet Royale is a family recipe that “represents the true essence of New Orleans,” the release states. The balls include roux topped with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage. They are then rolled in a mixture of saltine crackers and breadcrumb batter, then fried.

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls by Gourmet Royale won best taste-savory and most creative in the Big Tex Choice Awards. (State Fair of Texas)

The Armadillo by James Barrera consists of semi-frozen ice cream that’s drizzled with cookie butter and placed between two deep-fried Armadillo-shaped cookies.

The Armadillo by James Barrera won best taste-sweet at the Big Tex Choice Awards. (State Fair of Texas)

The other 2021 finalists included Crispy Crazy Corn by Ruth Hauntz, Deep Fried I-35 by Clint and Gretchen Probst, Lucky Duck Dumplin’ by Bert Concessions, Pork Shots by Glen Kusak and Sherri Kusak at Hans Mueller, Brisket Brittle by Ruth Hauntz, Deep-Fried Halloween by Isaac Rousso, Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake by The Winter Family, and Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake by Michelle Edwards.

The creations will be available during the fair, which starts on Sept. 24 at Fair Park in Dallas. It ends on Oct. 17.

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Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.