Cookie Dough on a Stick
The folks at Auntie Edmoe's do chocolate chip cookies in all sorts of ways. They sell regular cookies at $6 for a basket of a dozen or a bucket of three dozen for $17. They even have a Cookie Slab for $7 that's as big as your head. But you really should go for the $4 Cookie Dough on a Stick. It's four small balls of cookie dough (don't worry, there's no egg in there, no salmonella worry) dipped in Magic Shell and your choice of sprinkles, coconut or such. It's lighter and tastier than you think.
The folks at Lone Star Candy Company was fiddling around four years ago, trying to create a pecan version of the ever-popular peanut patty. The first batch looked great but came out very hard, prompting the name "Pecan-Crete." The finished version tastes like a cross between a peanut patty and a pecan praline. It's easy and fun to eat. At $3 each, it's also an easy take-home food.
Crawfish and Crab Boudin
Our favorite item from the State Fair of Louisiana was this footlong cylinder of goodness. Crabmeat, crawfish, rice and spices boiled up and smoked together. There's a lot of heat in this tight-packed package from Uncle Ray's, and it eats like a meal.
A perfectly normal part of a balanced dinner in Louisiana, it's a must-have for fairgoers. Delicious battered and deep-fried crawfish tails served up plentifully with some spiral cut fries for $9 at the New Orleans Cafe stand. The same place also makes muffallettas.
Combine two things that go together well in a Southern dinner and you get this dish, available right outside the Agriculture Building. It is slightly sweet yellow cornbread infused with small pieces of Andouille sausage, and at $2 it's a handy, handheld meal.
World's Greatest Stuffed Peppers
We are often cautious of a self-proclaimed "world's greatest" anything but this time the claim might actually be dead-on. These are bacon-wrapped smoked chicken and cheese stuffed jalapenos that are deep-fried. The overpowered sense of smoked bacon and the spicy smoked chicken tie in so well with the jalapeno pepper they united in a bomb of tasty delight. They run $3 or 2 for $5 from Uncle Ray's.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
Perhaps the strangest food you'll find at the State Fair of Louisiana. For $8 you can get eight of these lovingly battered deep-fried lamb testicles served up on a bed of fries. Watch for groups of LSU frat boys purchasing them as a dare. What do they taste like? Chicken, with a softer center.
Refillable Rum Beverages
If you like Pina Colada, and like a lot of it, you have to visit this stand on the south side of the Midway. For $8, $10, $15 or $20 you can pick up a froo-froo rum-laced beverage in a souvenir cup, complete with a lei (and get a free drink refill, too). We estimate the $20 vessel hold 32 ounces... and hope you have a designated driver to get you home.
Giant Pork Chop
We've been to a lot of state fairs but never have we seen larger pork chops than the big ones offered at Porky's. They're roasted low and slow and are served up for $8 or more apiece, weighed on a scale right in front of you.
Red Velvet Funnel Cake
Taking the funnel cake to another extreme, this is a red velvet cake mix blended with funnel cake mix and fried up just like a regular funnel cake. It's $6 topped with cream cheese icing at McKinley Concessions right dab in the middle of the fair; for a buck more you can have it topped with cherries.
Fried Mac and Cheese
Somebody call up Paula Deen! These hot and creamy bites contain just enough noodles to make it perfect; they're cheese-packed and easy to share at six triangular pieces for $6.
Habanero Peanut Brittle
The folks at The Nut Shack in the exhibition hall are serving up hot sweetened cashews, peanuts and pecans along with pecan honey butter and more. The Habanero Peanut Brittle is a deep red brittle with a sweet, slow burn that catches up to you the more you eat. If you can't stand that heat, try the Jalapeno Peanut Brittle instead; it's less heat, more sweet.
Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp on a Stick
Uncle Ray's sells these golden brown beauties for $10 each. It's a skewer of jumbo shrimp tightly wrapped with bacon. The pork adds any salt the shrimp might have been lacking.
Deep Fried Jalapeno Cheddar Sticks
The Wisconsin Cheese folks are back with several great edibles to try. Among them: Swiss on Rye, deep fried veggies and mozzarella nuggets. This year, these sticks are the hot seller: real blue-ribbon winning Wisconsin Cheddar cheese studded with red and green jalapeno bits. This dish has a slow burn. Try it with the Jalapeno Ranch dressing for an extra kick.
Introduced at the State Fair of Texas, these little rounds are served up topped with lettuce, onion, ground beef, cilantro and cheese and a big jalapeno pepper to boot for just $6 at Lupita's.
These were some rather large amphibians before they came here! Six legs larger than the average chicken drumstick, battered with flour and a little cornmeal, deep-fried and served up on a bed of fries for $8 at Porky's. It's what you get if you're afraid to try the Rocky Mountain Oysters but still want to show off.
Deep-Fried Hot Dog
A Nathan's wiener (no batter, just a weiner) gets thrown into the deep fryer and retrieved when the skin is crispy. Served up on a bun with your choice of condiment for $2 at the Log Cabin.
Gator and Taters
Exactly what it sounds like. A mess of alligator chunks, potatoes and onions cooked up with spices in the biggest skillet you have probably ever seen for $10. You won't need any salt and pepper; this dish comes out spicy.
The best deal at any of the state fairs we've attended, iced tea is available for just 75 cents a 20-ounce cup from a couple of different stands; $1.50 if you get a flavored tea. It comes in pre-sweetened lemon, raspberry and strawberry; we like them but prefer the plain Jane unsweet tea, nicely brewed.
Pork Loaded Spiral Fries
A whole potato, spiral cut and deep-fried, laid flat on a plate and covered in cheese, sour cream and smoked pork bits. Porky's sells it for $5.50; some of the best nachos you'll ever try.