Hash brown grilled cheese! Here are 22 new foods at the 2019 Indiana State Fair – Indianapolis Star


It only happens once a year, so eat your fill of bacon s’mores, triple doughnut mac and cheese burgers, massive tacos and all the funnel cake. Liz Biro, [email protected]

That’s just a sampling of the some 300 foods and drinks coming Aug. 2-18 at Indiana State Fairgrounds

The Indiana State Fair that brought you deep-fried butter, deep-fried birthday cake and a double bacon cheeseburger with mac and cheese on three doughnuts is getting ready to launch your Keto diet into a black hole for two weeks this August.

The folks who make the state fair menu of something like 300 foods and drinks have released a taste of what’s to come Aug. 2-18 to Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Yes, you’ll find healthy food at the fair. There’s vegetarian food, too. And lots of bottled water, for sure. But the fair only comes once a year. Have some cheese-smothered duck-fat fries and a deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich coated in crispy funnel cake batter. Wash it all down with a Dreamsicle slush thingy. Then plan to spend the rest of the year in plank position.

These new items of deliciousness are featured in Taste of the Fair, a contest that asks you to vote for your favorite new food while you’re at the fair. Stop at any fair information booth to cast a ballot. Pay attention to the vendors names listed below. They’re a good way to search food locations on the Indiana State Fair app.

Hash brown grilled cheese

Yeah, I have the best job in the world. Each year, I get to judge the the American Dairy Association of Indiana’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese Contest at the state fair. The Dairy Barn serves the winning sandwich at the following year’s state fair. This year, look for Hoosier Hometown Hash. Four cheeses — Muenster, pepper jack, cheddar and Swiss – land between two hash brown patties grilled to crispy perfection.

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Bison hush puppies

Red Frazier Bison has been my favorite Indiana State Fair food vendor for the past three years thanks to crazy nom-nom dishes like bison poutine and potato tots smothered in cheese and fried Brussels. This year, cooks are frying bison hush puppies. They’re spiking the cornmeal batter with jalapeos and pairing the hush puppies with seasoned sour cream.

Poutine galore

Find two kinds, both featuring Idaho potatoes fried in Indiana’s own Maple Leaf Farms duck fat. Bacon poutine comes loaded with crispy hickory-smoked, peppery bacon, cheddar curd nuggets and a secret sauce you can bet is not low-fat. The classic version puts cheddar curds, that secret sauce and a sprinkle of kosher sea salt on the fries. Find these poutines at North American Midway Entertainment stands.

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Buffalo chicken fries

Speaking of fries, consider the Buffaloaded Fries from Urick Concessions. The jumbo mound is topped with white meat chicken, creamy cheddar cheese sauce, buffalo hot sauce and blue cheese. All garnished, of course, with ranch dressing plus bacon and chives.

And even more fries

Duck fat fries, that is, hit with kosher sea salt but no ketchup. North American Midway Entertainment splashes these fries with its secret Quack Sauce recipe. What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

Monroe’s Midwest Hero

You can pretty much get away with anything at the fair, as evidenced by this breaded tenderloin sacrilege from Monroe’s Big Dog Diner. Cooks put cheese, bacon, “sassy sauce,” and a dill pickle spear on top of a sprawling breaded tenderloin tucked into a little bun.

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Deep fried cookie ice cream sandwich

Urick Concessions staff are the masters of cold, sweet, ice cream goodness at the fair. Remember that year they did the funnel cake ice cream sandwich? This year, they take it to extremes by  sandwiching creamy vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies and then dipping the whole thing in funnel cake batter, deep frying it, of course, and covering it in powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.

Mac and cheese egg rolls

The Mac Daddy easily makes the state fair’s best foods list. Every year, the Gooble Gobble food team heaps pulled barbecue turkey on the cheesiest mac and cheese. The problem is you need a fork to eat it. This year, walk around and munch the Rollin’ Mac Daddy Egg Roll with all the good stuff inside and extra barbecue dipping sauce.

Angry Pretzel Poppers + Mad Ranch

Carbs? Check. Butter? Check. Ranch? Duh. J. Wilson Group cooks go a few dangerously spicy steps beyond by mixing jalapenos into their pretzel dough and then rolling the poppers in more jalapenos. They bake, butter and salt the hotter-than-hot bites and serve them with jalapeno ranch dressing.

Carmel coffee milkshake

You’re going to need to cool the burn after those Angry Pretzel Poppers. Do it with this Dairy Barn shake blending vanilla ice cream, caramel and coffee, making this treat perfectly acceptable for breakfast.

Superhero USA All the Way Pancake

While you’re thinking breakfast, why not start your eat-all-day fair day with this Dutch pancake holding strawberries, blueberries and a bunch of whipped cream. Salute! Find it at Meatball Factory.

The Trifecta Hero

This is not a sandwich. It’s a drinkable Dreamsicle kind of thing, a slushy, vanilla shakeup, mashup mixing freshly squeezed lemon, lime and orange juice with French vanilla cream with a splash of water. Look for it at Round Boy’s Concessions.

American Hero

This is a sandwich, one hardy hoagie hugging Virginia ham, salami, pepperoni, a lettuce/slaw mixture, freshly made special sauce, tomatoes and American and jalapeno cheeses at R.E. Smith Food and Drink.

Relleno de Papa

You’ll always find stick-to-your-ribs (forever) comfort food at the Indiana State Fair. This meat-and-potatoes take from Da Portable Rican is a mashed potato ball filled with seasoned ground beef and fried golden brown. Served with rice, it provides the carb load you’ll need for all the road races you must run after the fair.

Bourbon chicken bowl

Comfort food goes Cajun-style. Grilled chicken in sweet and tangy bourbon sauce is served with broccoli on a bed of steamed cilantro rice at Freund Family Foods.

Cajun Queen

This other Cajun dish starts with a bed of jambalaya rice. Bayou Concessions cooks add one, two or three meats. You pick from blackened chicken, New Orleans steak and/or Andouille Sausage. Grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, melted sharp cheddar cheese and homemade hot sauce finish the dish.

The Hawaiian Haminator

Indulge in a ham and bacon masterpiece mixed with Pork-n-More’s Grand Champion BBQ Bacon Sauce and popular Yum Yum Sauce. The sandwich comes with provolone cheese and two pineapple slices on a sesame seed bun.

Blue raspberry lemon twister

When it’s time to ice down the heartburn and take a break from August heat, hit Pork-n-More for a Blue Raspberry Lemon Twister. Pick up a bag a good old pork rinds while you’re there. Cooks fry them on-site.

Pork barbecue ‘banana’ spilt

Wait! What? Alas, there is no ice cream, chocolate sauce or bananas on this split. Indiana Pork Producers replace ice cream with three scoops of savory stuff: pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw., plus a pickle spear on the side.

Lamb shepherd’s pie

Ground lamb, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy arrives garnished with green onions in a cup at Spectrum Catering. 

Lamb tacos

Spectrum Catering cooks fill flour tortillas filled with barbacoa lamb, pico de gallo, lettuce, onion and cilantro. Feel free to add cheese, sour cream and a side of salsa.

Follow IndyStar food writer Liz Biro on Twitter: @lizbiro, Instagram: @lizbiro, and on Facebook. Call her at 317-444-6264.  

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