- Ada, Oklahoma

September 20, 2013

Cheesy bacon bombs, fried watermelon sampled at State Fair

Jeff Cali Sports Editor

Oklahoma City —

During my annual Oklahoma State Fair food hunt this year, I decided I wanted to try as many new items as possible.

My faithful readers (all three of you) already know my state fair food staples: Cheese on a Stick, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Jumbo Smoked Turkey Legs, Fried Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Nuggets and the best dessert of all time, Silver Dollar Cinnamon Rolls.

There were items on the “New Food” list I simply had to try.

I tried a new entrance this year on the southeast side of the fairgrounds and found out I struck gold. One section of food nirvana started just a few feet in front of the gate I entered.

As I took a few steps toward all the vendors in front of me, my eyes quickly locked into one stand that stood out above the rest. The sign read “Bacon Habit.” As I approached the bacon-decorated stand and started reading what this vendor had to offer, I quickly realized I was most assuredly in Hog Heaven.

It’s no stranger that bacon and I have a strong relationship. And I had just discovered Bacon Treasure Island.

The Bacon Habit offered some now traditional bacon fair offerings such as Beer Battered Bacon (yum), Bacon Wrapped Chicken and Chocolate Covered Bacon, but there was much more. The Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog looked very good, and I’m willing to bet the Wild Boar Kabob was fantastic. Mushroom lovers would certainly adore the Porkabella Kabobs. I certainly could have made myself sick at this stand alone, but I narrowed my choice down to the Cheesy Bacon Bombs.

Talk about an explosion of great taste in your mouth. These bombs were pepperjack cheese covered in light biscuit dough, wrapped in bacon and deep fried until the melted cheese starts to explode out of the dough. I have to admit mine were not fresh out of the grease, but they were very good nonetheless.

After dragging myself away from The Bacon Habit — which is located just in front of the State Fair Arena (now known as the Jim Norick Arena but after covering so many local state tournament teams there over the  years, it’s hard for me to call it anything else) — I quickly stumbled upon a big vendor spot called “Porky’s.”

Oh, my. This place had plenty of unbelievable items to offer hungry fairgoers, too. The nice man that was running the place at the time said the Jumbo Smoked Pork Chops (boy they are big) were a hit to most customers. He’s right; it was tasty, but I had my heart set on trying a Bacon Extreme sandwich. This food choice was a great combination of bacon, sausage and BBQ sauce rolled together and smoked. It was sort of like a bacon-sausage meatloaf. Porky’s — a vendor from Lafayette, Ind., calls it the Holy Grail of pork and that’s no joke. It was awesome.

These guys offer much, much more: catfish strips, rib tips, rotisserie chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, turkey legs, lamb burgers, jumbo baked potatoes and Texas Beef Brisket — just to name a few.

After eating the last bit of my Bacon Extreme, I was about to continue my journey until I looked at the other half of the Porky’s setup. This side had desserts and actually served one of the sweet items on my new food list — Deep Fried Watermelon.

One of my all-time favorite fruits is watermelon, so I just had to try this new way of serving it. And I must say it was different. It was simply chunks of watermelon dipped in a sweet batter and dumped in a vat of grease. It was very strange eating hot watermelon because I love mine ice cold. It wasn’t bad at all, just different. Fellow watermelon lovers will just have to try it for themselves.

My next stop was at Smokin’ Pistols where I tried Deep Fried Ribs. As much love as I have for a good ol’ rib, I didn’t care for this much. The rib was far too tough for my liking. The taste was decent, but I was turned off by the toughness.

After trying these new foods and getting some of the oldies but goodies, I barely had room for the items on my list served at the Diventuri Concessions stand. But just for you, I had to have a Bacon Wrapped Corndog and an order of Deep-Fried Butter.

The corn dog was just the way it sounds: your traditional fair favorite wrapped in bacon and then fried to a golden brown. I’ll take this corn dog over a regular one every time.

I figured I may have a heart attack on the spot after eating one of the deep fried buttery morsels. It’s a delightful blend of butter, cinnamon, butter, sugar, butter, dough and butter. I recommend sharing an order with two or three of your friends.

There were other new state fair foods on my radar, but a guy has to draw the line somewhere. The Bacon Wrapped Caramel Apple looked and smelled wonderful and the Giant Cream Puff (giant puff filled with chocolate and topped with bacon) was probably super rich. 

Others might like to give the following items a try: Cinna Burger (a cinnamon roll split in half with burger items in the middle), Cookie Dough Parfait, Crawfish Enchiladas (I just can’t do crawfish, just can’t), Deep-Fried Artichokes, Deep-Fried Philly Cheese Steak and the PBJ & Pancake Burgers (PNBJ is a burger topped with peanut butter, bacon and jalepeños while the Pancake Burger includes bacon, cheese, a fried egg and syrup served between two pancakes).

Now excuse me while I recover from my food coma.