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10 State Fair Food Finalists: Bacon-Wrapped Cake, 'Tater Tot On Steroids' And More

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State Fair of Texas
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This Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat is competing for the Best Taste - Savory award later this month. The dish is described as a "tater tot on steroids."

Good news first: The folks at the State Fair of Texas have chosen 10 intriguing new foods to compete in the final round of the 14th annual Big Tex Choice Awards. 

OK, bad news: Deep Fried Ranch did not make this year's cut.

But that doesn't necessarily mean you won't get to try it. Concessionaires behind all 31 semifinalists introduced a couple weeks ago can still choose to serve their food at the fair. 

Now, to the finalists. They'll compete in three categories: Best Taste — Sweet, Best Taste — Savory and Most Creative later this month. Last year, the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger won savory and creative superlatives. The Gulf Coast Fish Bowl took home the sweetest title. Check those out.

Judges will crown the winners at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Tower Building in Fair Park. By the way, you're invited

The State Fair of Texas opens Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 21.

Big Tex Contenders

Here are the finalists, their creators and their competing category.

1. Arroz Con Leche by the Garza Family (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
A cinnamon-spiced rice ball is battered and coated with crispy, puffed rice cereal. Then, the ball is deep fried, sprinkled with powdered vanilla and served with vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of caramel sauce and powdered cinnamon completes the dessert.

2. Cotton Candy Taco by Justin and Rudy Martinez (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
A graham cracker taco shell is coated inside with marshmallow glaze and then stuffed with chocolate, toasted marshmallow and organic cane sugar cotton candy. It's topped with chocolate cookie crumbles and two chocolate cream-covered biscuit sticks.

3. Deep Fried Sheperd's Pie by Clint Probst (Savory)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
Cheddar cheese and cream are mixed into potato balls, which are filled with ground beef, mixed vegetables and beef gravy. Then, it's fried, of course.

4. Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat by Tom Grace (Savory)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
It's described as a "tater tot on steroids." Skillet potatoes and breakfast sausage are combined and then packed around a mini Babybel cheese loaf. The tot is then fried and served on a potato skin (the boat). It's topped with cheddar, bacon bites and sour cream chipotle sauce.

5. Fernie's Hoppin' John Cake with Jackpot Sauce by Winter Family Concessions (Savory)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
Black-eyed peas, white rice, smoked sausage, green onions and spices are combined with bread crumbs and egg beaters into a cake. It's breaded in an egg wash with panko crumbs and flour. Then, you guessed it, it's deep fried. It's topped with black-eyed pea relish and pickled okra and served with a side of Jackpot sauce.

6. Fernie's Orange You Glad We Fried It?! by Winter Family Concessions (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
Chiffon orange cake, whipped cream and orange preserves are blended to make a custard-like filling. It's spooned into puff pastry dough, folded and sealed. It's quickly fried and dusted with powdered sugar. It comes with two "sublime" dipping sauces.

7. State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream by Tom Landis (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
It's ice cream that tastes like funnel cake and includes bit of funnel cake and powdered sugar throughout. It's served with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

8. Sweet Bakin' Bacon by Ed and Eddie Campbell (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
A cream-filled sponge cake is wrapped in bacon and dipped in funnel cake batter. It's then deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar.

9. Texas Fried Hill Country by Justin and Rudy Martinez (Savory)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
The tastes of the Texas Hill Country: fried mozzarella and locally grown basil are sandwiched between green tomatoes. It's hand-breaded and seasoned and then flash fried. It's served on greens and drizzled with balsamic and local Texas honey.

10. Texas Twang-kie by Chris and Sherry Howard (Sweet)

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Credit State Fair of Texas
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State Fair of Texas
Corn bread cake is hollowed out and filled with Tex-Mex grilled chicken white bean chili. It's served with corn bread fries and even more chili.