Going to a fair can be a whole lot of fun. Not only do you get to ride on rickety old roller coasters operated by teenagers and play rigged carnival games to win a hundred keychains, but you also get to eat a lot of awesome food. Well, some of it is awesome. Some of it is actually pretty terrible. People think that just because you're at a fair that you want to shell out money for the weirdest possible foods that could be deep fried. In a way, they're right, as people really do seem to eat this stuff up (hopefully they stay off those rickety roller coasters after ingesting some of these foods). The fact of the matter is that the food at state and county fairs might just be the most well-known aspect of them.
People get really creative at these fairs, and not always in a good way. They might just deep fry a dessert, but they might also combine that dessert with, like, a pizza or a burger or something crazy like that. They might take something savory and drizzle chocolate sauce all over it. They might even deep fry something that should logically never be dropped in hot oil and served on a cardboard boat. However, they do it anyway, and in some ways their audacity is admirable. In another, more realistic way, we're glad that these foods don't really spread out beyond the carnival gates. Once the carnival packs everything up for the year, all this food goes with it, and that might just be the best thing for all of us.
25 Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger
The combination of sweet and salty foods has its place. After all, who doesn't like a peanut butter cup, right? Well, this is definitely not the way to do it. This monstrosity of a burger combined queso, bacon, and a burger patty (so far so good), with buns made of funnel cake (now you've lost us). Something about the melty, spiced cheese and the sugary fried cake just doesn't hit any good notes. Maybe if the queso was excluded, this might just cross the line of being tolerable. As it is, we'd have to pass.
24 Deep-Fried Jellybeans
Jellybeans aren't really anyone's favorite candy, right? They're sort of a relic of a simpler time. That's why they included a black licorice flavor that no one could possibly want in the modern day. So why would anyone ever go out of their way to eat deep fried jellybeans? These colorful nuggets of dough seem like they wouldn't even retain a lot of that classic jellybean flavor or texture, considering most of it probably just gets lost in the breading. At least you'd get the satisfaction of eating dough stained red, blue and, purple.
23 Deep Fried Watermelon
Watermelon might just be about the most perfect summer treat out there. It's cold, delicious, refreshing, and it straddles the line between quenching your thirst and sating your hunger. So why would anyone ever want to take this perfectly healthy, fresh snack and deep fry it? First of all, the idea of hot watermelon (hottermelon?) is just entirely unappealing. Second, watermelon is perfect, which means that it can't really be improved upon. If you ever see a stand selling this stuff at a fair, you'd be better off just getting one of the fresh slices they have in the fridge.
22 Deep Fried Oreo Burger
Deep fried Oreos are a staple of fair food. They're already good enough on their own, but what if you put them on top of a burger? Wouldn't that be great? Absolutely not. That sounds just plain awful. Ask yourself this question: would you put regular Oreos on a burger and say that it tastes good? Probably not, so how does deep frying them make it any different? This is burger blasphemy at its worst. Actually, scratch that. We've got even worse burgers on this list (this is still bad, though).
21 Double Decker Donut Burger
It's not like donut burgers are necessarily a new thing. In fact, we've talked about them on this site before. However, the idea of taking a donut burger, which is already a pretty extreme food combination and then making it a double-decker burger just seems like going way too far. This burger, which you could find at a state fair, utilizes a third donut in the middle of the burger, like the extra piece of bread in the Big Mac. Only instead of normal bread, it's a sugary, squishy, calorie-laden donut.
20 Corn Tater Boatload
What goes better with carbs than more carbs? Bacon maybe? Well, whoever thought up this relatively tame offering of carnival food with a truly unappealing name obviously thought both of those would make for a delicious dish. So what is this thing exactly? Well, it's nothing more than a baked potato that is overflowing with corn, cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Again, by the standards of fair food, this is pretty weak, but maybe it's just the idea that someone thought corn would make a potato better that seems so baffling.
19 The Defibrillator
So many places are quick to give their sandwiches names that imply that they are going to cause some kind of health issue. It has almost become a trope of the industry. However, some foods earn those titles. You might need a defibrillator just looking at this sandwich. It combines all of the fried foods that fairs are famous for into one intimidating dish. It starts with a burger patty, which is topped with fried pickles, fried cheese curds, deep fried bacon slices, and cheddar cheese. Then it is sandwiched between two grilled cheese buns. Yeah, we think we might be having palpitations already.
18 Chicken Fried Bacon
Did you know that there is actually a way to make bacon unhealthier? It shouldn't surprise you to learn that state fairs have unlocked the secret to truly heart-stopping bacon. All you have to do is bread it and deep fry it. Isn't bacon bad enough when prepare the traditional way of frying in its own fat? We can't deny that this would probably be really crispy, but come on! You're basically adding more saturated fat toa food that is notoriously fatty. Well, you can't stop progress, especially when it comes to what foods will be deep fried at state fairs.
17 Mealworm Caramel Apple
Why?! Come on! You've taken a perfectly good caramel apple and rolled it in worms. Worms and apples are famously not supposed to be found together! This is just a perfect way to ruin a classic dessert found at state fairs. It seems like there's this whole trend toward feeding people bugs. We get it. One day, we might all have to start eating bugs all the time. Fortunately, we haven't reached that point in human history just yet, so we'll stick with the regular caramel apples, please.
16 Memphis Totchos
Totchos have become something of not just a fair food, but even a bar food. They sound appealing when done properly: a pile of tater tots (hitting that precious nostalgia factor), topped with nacho toppings like cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and green onion. Serve them with some sour cream and guac and we are in! However, Memphis Totchos are a complete perversion of this idea. These tater tots are smothered with bacon, bananas, and peanut butter sauce. Have we not decided as a species that bananas and bacon just don't go together?
15 Crabby Patty
We're going to admit up front that this sandwich is not necessarily that strange, but what really gets us about it is the appearance. After all, that entire crab is a little bit intimidating. This sandwich, served at east coast state fairs incorporates an entire crab cake and a deep fried soft shell crab into one sandwich. This probably tastes pretty good, but really, how would you even wrap your mouth around this thing? We think we'd take one or the other between the crab and the crabcake. Both are far too much for one sandwich.
14 Chocolate Covered Corn Dog
Aren't corn dogs fun enough for people? After all, it's a battered hot dog on a stick! That basically combines the best of all fair foods into one perfect snack. So why oh why must somebody decide to cover these delicious fair foods in chocolate? Aside from the fact that ingesting this kind of thing on a hot summer day is bound to lead to some gastrointestinal distress, there's just no way that this flavor combination is good. There are very few sweet things that go well with hot dogs. In fact, sweet relish might be the only thing that can pull off that flavor combination.
13 Frog Legs and Lily Pads
Frogs legs are already a strange enough food. They are a historical relic from a time when monks in France had to eat frogs on Fridays because they were considered to be a fish but were quite a bit meatier and more satisfying. Now, though, you can get fried frog legs in just about any fancy restaurant. You can also get them at a state fair, along with some "lily pads," which are just deep fried pickles. Honestly, with so many other food choices at county fairs, it's hard to imagine why anyone would go out of their way to eat these legs, which are somewhere between fish and chicken in terms of taste.
12 Deep Fried Kale
We only have one question when it comes to fried kale: who is this for? People who like to eat kale are typically, you know, healthy. So why would they want to eat all the extra deep fried carbs? People who like deep fried foods at county fairs definitely don't want kale anywhere near their delicious food, so why would they go for these at all? This just seems like an ill-conceived idea right from the very start. Kale is better off being in a salad, and deep frying is better left for foods that can hold up to it.
11 Pickle Pop
What could be better than a nice, crispy dill pickle? How about the brine that the pickle was in made into a frozen treat? That honestly sounds like something someone would eat on a dare. However, these pickle pops are a staple at some state fairs, especially when served with barbecue. It just seems like it would be weird to eat a frozen treat that is both sour and salty. It would basically be like eating frozen saltwater. How could that possibly be good? These would be a great choice if you thought that your blood pressure wasn't high enough, and you wanted to cross the line into hypertension.
10 Zesty PB and J Sausage
We love a good PB and J. You never really outgrow the simple flavors of rich peanut butter and sweet jelly, pressed together between soft white bread. However, trying to filter those flavors into other foods has never really seemed to work, and this PB and J sausage cannot be any different. Not only does it try to combine the flavors of peanut butter and jelly with meat, but it also incorporates spices like cayenne to make the whole thing spicy. Sorry, but that's not the PB and J we know and love.
9 Fried Butter
This is a staple of state and county fairs, but the truth is that we are still not used to it. We mean, how did someone come up with the idea of taking a stick of butter, coating it in batter and frying it? Strike that, we realize that's a silly question. Humans will take the opportunity to deep fry anything, and butter seems like the least impressive thing that can be deep fried these days. Still, this seems like it would not only be really greasy, but butter that has been fried in 350-degree oil could probably give your mouth some serious burns.
8 Cricket Grilled Cheese
No. Just, no. How dare anyone try to augment our favorite sandwich with insects! Yes, we're well aware of how bugs are becoming more commonplace in cooking. In fact, it's really easy to find cricket meal at most grocery stores now. However, that doesn't mean that we all want to jump on the bug-eating bandwagon just yet. And this grilled cheese, filled with crunchy, bitter crickets is not the way to convince us that we should be doing it. At least they don't try to hide the bugs in the sandwich.
7 Kool-Aid Pickles
What? You don't like the idea of a neon-colored pickle that has been specially brined in pickle juice that has had kool-aid and sugar added to it? No? Well, join the club. These weird snacks have been a staple of county and state fairs for years. Yet we find ourselves asking, "who thought this was a good idea?" and "who came up with this in the first place?" Aren't regular pickles good enough? The answer is yes, they are. They certainly aren't any better coated in artificial flavors and colors.
6 Fried Bubblegum
Do you remember that scene in The Simpsons where Homer says that because he is a white male aged 18 to 49, everyone listens to his suggestions, no matter how dumb they are, before producing a can labeled "Nuts and Gum?" That is what this reminds us of. Bubblegum is not meant to be consumed as actual food. It's more like a tool for strengthening your jaw, augmented by the fun of blowing bubbles. This stuff is just baffling on every level! Do you just chew it? Is it safe to swallow? How do you eat this properly?!
5 Fried Pickles with Chocolate
Fried pickles? Good. Chocolate? Also good. Fried pickles served with chocolate sauce? Ah, you went one step too far. How could anyone think this is a good idea? Sure, salty and sweet can go together, as we've mentioned before. However, pickles are not just salty, they are briny, and there is a distinct difference between a pickle and, say, a pretzel. So just because pickles are salty doesn't mean they should be combined with chocolate. This is a major culinary faux pas.
4 Chocolate Covered Scorpion
"Chocolate can make anything taste good," people say. Well, we dare them to try a chocolate-covered scorpion then. Yeah, they're not feeling so self-assured about that statement now, are they? We're so tired of people trying to get us to eat bugs. We're not going to do it if they're on a grilled cheese, and we're certainly not going to do it if they're covered in chocolate. They're still bugs! Besides, scorpions are, you know, poisonous. We think we would rather not take our chances with this one.
3 Alligator on a Stick
There are always a lot of good meat options at a county fair. Beef, chicken, turkey, alligator... Wait a minute, alligator? That's right, one of the foods you might encounter at a state fair is deep fried alligator (served on a stick, of course). It seems like eating alligator is less of a culinary treat than it is an assertion of dominance. After all, how many animals do humans eat that could also eat them? This is the kind of thing you eat to rub it in nature's face that you're a human and you are the apex predator.
2 Cheeseburger topped with Fried Ice Cream
What's better than a burger, fries and a shake? What if you combined the burger and the shake buy topping the beef patty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Oh, that doesn't sound appealing? Of course it doesn't! It sounds absolutely terrible. There is no reason to directly combine the sweet, cold, creaminess of ice cream with a burger. However, this burger topped with ice cream (deep fried ice cream, no less) tries its best to make this flavor combination happen. It doesn't even look good in the photo.
1 Heart Attack
We're going to go ahead and let you know right off the bat that the name of this dish is not ironic. You'll either suffer a heart attack right after eating one or maybe even experience cardiac distress just listening to a description of it. This dish is made with two butterflied hot dogs, stuffed with pickles, chili, and cheese, then wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Sound pretty intense? Well, we're not even close to done. This insane food is then topped with cheese sauce, chopped jalapeno peppers, and chocolate sauce. Yeah, this might just be the definition of too much.