“My…heart…tell my family…I died happy…”
~Iowa and Minnesota State Fair Food Critic
Here at America Fun Fact of the Day, we take great pride in the American practice of taking a (usually unhealthy) food and dunking it in bubbling oil until it becomes a borderline public health risk. And as much as we love fried food, we also love its brother, random unhealthy shit we decided to make for a State Fair. Most fried food innovations come from our State Fairs, which follows the fairly American logic of “well if we’re going to try to force Americans to get outside and walk around, we should probably entice them with the ability to eat a deep fried version of something they’ve never eaten fried before.”
2015 has been no exception to this rule, with the Iowa and Minnesota state fairs coming out with lists of their brand new, never seen before unhealthy food items that we are so excited to try as an excuse to test out that new defibrillator we just bought. Oh, and we might as well let you know about some of the more ridiculous ones too.
The Best (Or Weirdest) New Fried Foods At the 2015 Iowa and Minnesota State Fairs
When a State Fair tries to drum up publicity, they have only two real options. They can either book a live performance by some long-past-it’s-prime nostalgia-inducing musical act, or they can tap into America’s love for unhealthy and fried foods, and announce that they’ve just released new foods that have never been seen before. Usually State Fairs go with a mix between the two, though Iowa and Minnesota this year have really made sure to drive the food point home, with Iowa releasing 15 brand new foods, and Minnesota going all out with forty additions to their food tents.
We decided to parse through this list and tell you which ones, in our opinion, we love the most. Or the ones that’ll kill you the fastest. Or the one that really makes us angry (*glares at Minnesota*). We are slaves to our unhealthy urges. But hey, if you find yourself in the Midwest, and really want to prove to your cardiologist that he’s not the boss of you, then you could do a lot worst grabbing some of the following snacks.
Fried Apple Pie on a Stick
The Iowa State Fair tends to be best well known (for those of you who keep track of such things) for their butter statues, but they don’t skimp on the fried foods either. Here we have an apple pie, which is an unhealthy food associated with America that is typically eaten with a plate and fork, served fried and on a stick, proving that someone has been reading our entries in the suggestion box. The only way this could be more unhealthy was if it was wrapped in bacon and served as a garnish for a frozen margarita and oh fuck did we just invest the best assisted suicide method ever?
Anyway, the fried apple pie on a stick is made by taking apple slices skewered on a stick and dunking them in funnel cake batter and apple pie spices before frying the creation and drizzling it with cinnamon sugar. A side of caramel accompanies this treat, as a reminder that the Diabetes War is real, and that the Type 2 Army has been recruiting to their ranks for years. This looks good as hell.
Ultimate Bacon Brisket Bomb (Formerly Ultimate Bacon Explosion)
The Iowa State Fair officials had to change the name of this eight ounce smoked and jalapeño-cheese-infused brisket wrapped in bacon and coated in sweet chili barbecue sauce when they discovered that the name “Ultimate Bacon Explosion” was already taken. Now do you understand why it’s mind-boggling that anyone could have an issue with America? That’s the most wonderful thing we can think of, who would want to wage war against that little delightful fact? We have too many words for explosive bacon treats, and we’re the bad guys? Get your priorities straight, one third of the planet. Jesus.
Deep Fried Nacho Balls
Oh, we’re sorry, we’ll say that again. Deep fried nacho balls. We said, deep fried nacho balls. This was the last truly noteworthy item we found on the Iowa Fair menu, but that doesn’t detract from the showing the state put on this year. These are not only deep fried nacho balls, but they’re meat-filled as a neat little surprise for Vegetarians that should frankly know better. For those of you looking to spend the next week cleaning your kitchen, you can make these at home by taking ground beef, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese, rolling it in a Dorito crust and frying it to be served with a side of nacho cheese. Yes, that’s right, it’s a fried spicy meat and cheese ball surrounded with crushed up Doritos and, no stop it, stop high fiving the monitor, that’s not going to do anything but break your computer, we’re glad that you’re excited but you have got to find a better way to express it.
God, these look so good. If these aren’t standard fare at every professional sports team concession stand in the next five years, you’ll know that the communists have finally won. This is deep fried balls of America, and we must have them.
Listen, we’re not naïve enough to think that this has never been done before—we all wake up dreaming of mixing hamburger meat, hot dog meat, bacon, cheese, and jalapeno and grinding it into one sausage, but Minnesota actually went out and did it, dammit. The rest of the entries in this article do come from Minnesota by the way, which isn’t a knock on Iowa so much as it is an acknowledgement that, holy shit, Minnesota added forty damn food items for this year. So we might as well start with this. Granted, this is just basically a slightly fancy spicy sausage that’s trying to play the hamburger-meat-in-a-hot-dog card a bit too hard—really, if you’re eating a good hot dog, it’s made with beef just like a hamburger would be—but this is not a bad place to start with this particular sub-section of this article, to ease us into the fried territory of…
Deep Fried Ribs
Everyone loves ribs. Well, not everyone loves ribs, you can find people that dislike anything, but everyone with a beating heart who isn’t a tiny alien housed into a giant human-shaped robot like in Men in Black loves ribs. And who among us hasn’t had the animalistic urge, when faced with a plate of smoked baby back ribs, to bread and fry them, with barbecue sauce served alongside them? Well, okay, like only a few people, including the people at Ball Park Café, who decided to take unhealthy meat and fry it into an even more unhealthy end result in a very effective ploy to befriend us here at AFFotD. We’ve got their numbers, and are going to go drinking with them next time we’re in the area. They’re good people.
Now, up until this point, we’ve been a beacon for delicious, wonderful, unhealthy foods. We’re going to ruin that very briefly however, because we would be remiss if we didn’t address one particularly…questionable food option in Minnesota.
Oh what the, are you, wait but, Jesus Christ, seriously? This is literally a pig’s tail, coated in scallion ginger sauce. What, but, why? Why do this? This is taking the “on a stick” credo just a bit too far, and also seems like a real sketchy way to trick people into paying to gnaw off what little meat they can get from all the cartilage and bone involved in a pig’s fucking tail. Why would they do this to us? Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.
Let’s change things up and try to go with something which we haven’t fried that we’d still sever a small finger for the chance to eat.
Mac and Cheese Cupcake
Ah, that’s more like it. The simplest uses of our favorite foods are often the best. Is a mac and cheese cupcake a ground-shaking revolution in culinary creativity? Well, no, it’s just a bunch of mac and cheese in a breadcrumb crust, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and topped with a dash of Cheez Whiz. There are probably some next level college students making this shit in their dorm rooms right now and rightfully getting all sorts of laid because of it. But in a world that’s prone to cynicism (shut up, we know we contribute to that, stop interrupting us, losers) sometimes you just want to take a step back and say, “Yeah. There’s a mac and cheese cupcake. That sounds delicious. America is great.”
But, by far the best new addition to the State Fair lineup this year comes in the form of…
Sara’s Tipsy Pies
THESE ARE PIES MADE WITH BOOZE WE TAKE BACK EVERYTHING BAD WE SAID ABOUT PIG TAIL’S AND IOWA MINNESOTA HAS OFFICIALLY WON STATE FAIRS THEY ARE THE BEST AT EVERYTHING GOD BLESS THEM.
Let’s start over.
Sara’s Tipsy Pies are magical, and can be found in a handful of locations in Minnesota—they’re a small business that you should support because, holy shit, pies made with booze. This year marks the first time that five of these hand pies are available for purchase at the State Fair, with offerings such as the State Fair Rhubarb Blue Hunny Do made with non-alcoholic ingredients but also with a dew melon-flavored wheat beer. There’s also 2GINGERS® Irish Apple Pie, which uses 2GINGERS® whiskey, and a Salted Caramel Apple that takes a traditional pie and adds caramel beer filling.
Lovely. Just absolutely lovely. This makes us so happy that we forgot that people can go just around the corner with their booze pie and ruin everything by pairing it with some pig tail bullshit. Either way it just goes to show that every year, America no matter how much we’ve done in the State Fair realm of culinary science, there’s always even greater heights we are able to reach.