Texas Living

Fairified — Big As Texas

By Callie Leahy 10.4.13

For Abel Gonzales, the State Fair of Texas isn’t just a fair — it’s a competition between some of the finest and most creative culinary geniuses in the state.

Gonzales, owner of the State Fair food stands Big As Texas, started at the fair more than a decade ago selling Texas honey bread, a “fairified,” oversized, Texas-shaped sopaipilla. Today, Gonzales is touted as one of the most innovative food concessionaires, bringing deep fried, well, everything, to his loyal fair fans.

Fried peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwiches, fried Coke, fried cookie dough, and fried butter are just a few of Gonzales’ most notable wins. Among his other “fairified” foods are fried pizza, fried chocolate, and last year’s win — deep-fried jambalaya.

“I wanted our food to be like a ride, where it was an adventure, not just a corn dog or a turkey leg. To really push it,” Gonzales says. “You go on a ride — it’s a thrill ride. The food should be just as thrilling as the rides, and that was the whole purpose behind out-of-the-box thinking.”

As to what deep-fried delicacy Gonzales is whipping up this year, you will have to head to the fair to find out.

“Every year we try to come up with something unique and different,” Gonzales says. “As the contest has evolved, it’s become very secretive, and the fair wants it to be secretive until they announce it themselves. It’s really evolved into this big, huge event that is really fun to be a part of.”

Gonzales, a self-proclaimed sixth generation “Tex-ican” is a Dallas native and has been to the State Fair every year as far back as he can remember. Stop by for a fried Gonzales creation this year at his stands Big As Texas, located near the Lost Children “Kiddy Corral” on the Midway and outside the Embarcadero building on Nimitz street.