This statement came as a shock to me, and I was the one making it.  I’ve been in the country radio business for more than three decades all over the southeastern United States.  Trust me, if there’s a community festival in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama or North Carolina, I’ve been there done that.  That being said, the enormous hole in my resume was an actual STATE fair. But luckily the North Carolina State Fair and the food that comes with it, is going on now.

This is especially surprising in that my native Texas has one of the largest and longest-lasting state fairs in the country.  Never went.  Had many opportunities (including free tickets).  Never went.  The same is true of my time in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.

So, this last week when I wrote about THIS, I decided I had to go.

giant pumpkins at NC State Fair

I mean, you can’t write about gargantuan pumpkins and NOT check em out, right?  Luckily, our calendar was wide open for Sunday (10/15).  It was a beautiful day and my squad (fresh off a great day of country music and wine Saturday at Daveste Vineyards with Hannah Ellis) loaded up in the truck and headed for Raleigh.

NC State Fair Squad

Melanie (smiling brunette) proved to be an invaluable travel companion for my wife and me this weekend.  As an NC State grad, she’s BEYOND familiar with the roads in and out of the fairgrounds and the fair itself.  Also, she was committed to our primary cause:  fair food.  Yup, we did our homework in advance.  The customary “elephant ear” was just not gonna cut it.  Additionally, none of us felt the need to get on any rides that were going to spin us around and turn us upside down.  Therefore, just about every ride was eliminated (and there was zero chance of our culinary choices coming back to haunt us).  Armed with cash (most places charge 2-3 dollars extra to use a card), we set about on a dietician’s nightmare to  The North Carolina State Fair to sample all the food.

  • 1. Main Course-BBQ

    Specifically, we’re talking “Fat Boys BBQ.”  What intrigued us most about these guys was their fair special, the fried brisket balls.  Keep in mind that NO fair food is cheap.  In fact, eating at any fair is as economical as it is healthy <g>.  However, 3 for $12?  Debbie (my wife) was all in.

    Fat Boys BBQ

  • 2. Fried Brisket Balls

    And voila, here they are!  On paper, these sounded like a can’t miss.  Each ball contained smoked beef brisket and mac n cheese encased in dough and then deep fried.  You had your choice of sauce.  Debbie choice “hot honey.”

    fried brisket balls

    Now, these were a new item.  And it’s not that they were bad-on the contrary.  It’s just that the ratio of bread to brisket and mac was just a little to one-sided (on the dough side).  Still great though, and a must try for BBQ lovers at The North Carolina State Fair.

  • 3. Redneck Egg Roll And Brisket Mac N Cheese

    My selections were a little safer, but epic none-the-less.  I rolled with the Redneck Egg Roll.  This had generous portions of pulled pork and sweet coleslaw fried up as a huge egg roll.  Again, you get your choice of sauce, I went with the sweet BBQ with no regrets.

    Redneck Egg Roll

    Now, man cannot live by entree alone, so what to have as a “side?”  I could not say no to the brisket mac n cheese.  In all fairness, this could be a meal by itself.  It’s a generous load of creamy, delicious mac n cheese that is then topped with plenty of smoked beef brisket and sweet BBQ sauce.

    Brisket Mac N Cheese

    IKR?  Too good and a must at The North Carolina State Fair.

  • 4. Reese's Bacon

    Now, a lot of people would have stopped at the BBQ.  Oh no.  We were just getting started.  Not quite ready for dessert, we needed a “palate cleanser.”  Bacon?!  Perfect!  Bubba’s Bacon does anything and everything with bacon.  My choice?  Reese’s Bacon.  Start with a long, thick cut of bacon on a stick.  It’s first coated in a “Magic Shell” chocolate.  Then the bacon is completely smeared with peanut butter.   And finally, chopped pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups enrobe this gift from God.

    Bubba's Bacon

    A little sweet, a little savory.  I loved it.  Reece’s Bacon is a must at The North Carolina State Fair.

  • 5. Dessert-Cookie Dough

    There are so many choices on the sweet treat front at The North Carolina State Fair.  We had to be discerning and picky.  What’s something we see that we’ve never tried before?  Cookie Dough on a Stick.

    Cookie Dough on a Stick at NC State Fair

    This was awesome.  You have your choice of several different kinds of cookies.  The dough is cut into three huge discs and then speared on a stick.  For the record, you can’t be put into a fair food hall of fame unless you’re on a stick.  Just saying.  Also, as told on the menu sign, cookies can be dipped in chocolate, sprinkles, etc.  This was just sinful and the perfect “dessert” at The North Carolina State Fair.

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