Here's where you can try the top three new foods at the Iowa State Fair
44 new foods were rolled out for the Iowa From 2017: State Fair by concessionaires. And a panel of celebrity judges narrowed it down to the Top Three to be chosen by you for the People's Choice Awards. Wochit
As the time looms ever closer, concession stand vendors at the Iowa State Fairgrounds are hurriedly prepping for one of the busiest times of the year. And there's one thing many people are already looking forward to — the food.
The State Fair will bring more than a million hungry people to the Des Moines metro area for 11 days of fun and frivolous playtime for every age. And it's no longer about traditional corn dogs and other food on a stick. Each year, there are more mobile food varieties. With lines forming down the street for turkey legs, giant sundaes and annual new food novelties, it's proof that fair foods are a big part of what makes the fair so regionally and nationally popular.
There's a special friendship among the almost 300 concessionaires at the Iowa State Fair. It's a close-knit group and many of them are friends and have been doing business within close proximity for years. It's not unusual to find the owners and operators of one concession stand to stand in line for the delicious morsels of another.
But the competition for the winner of best fair food is also close. The top three new food contenders for the People's Choice Awards are all vying for that top spot in this year's contest.
Here are the places where you can find the top three foods, the people behind their creation and how you can vote for your favorite. You can also vote at iowastatefair.org.
Three years ago, Stan Kranovich, owner of Steer N Stein, wowed fairgoers with his patented 27-degree beer to help them cool off in the August heat. His entry into the new food lineup for 2017 is called the Pork-Almighty. It's served in a bowl that acts as a lid for a 32-ounce drink. A straw comes up through the middle of the bowl, so you can sip and dine at the same time while strolling around the fairgrounds.
"It screams 'fair' and it screams 'fun,'" Kranovich said, who has attended the Iowa State Fair every year since he was 12 (that's 47 years). His wife, Debbie, stood behind his idea of using the drink/bowl contraption special-ordered from California, and she became the mastermind behind the Pork-Almighty's recipe.
It starts with a foundation of crispy, beer-battered twister fries. Then, queso cheese sauce with kid-friendly heat and tender Carolina-style pulled pork is layered over the fries. More queso cheese sauce is added along with a dollop of Cookies original Iowa-made barbecue sauce, diced onions, green peppers and then more shredded cheese is sprinkled on top. And it's totally customizable with more than 30 condiment choices, so you can personalize your Pork-Almighty into a "pork-just-righty."
Location: Steer N Stein on E. Grand Ave. next to Jalapeño Pete's
How to vote: Text almighty to 75782.
Iowa's Big Pork Leg
Campbell Concessions is a big operation that's been around for almost 100 years. With 13 concession stands around the fairgrounds and other concession and catering operations in the Elwell Family Food Center, the 4-H Building, the Livestock Pavilion and the Cattlebarn Cafe, it takes a small village to run it all. Owners Helen Little and father-and-son team, Calvin and Eric Campbell, have their hands busy with the logistics of putting it all together with the help of their efficient team. But that doesn't mean they don't have time to wow the crowd.
Campbell Concessions entered into the realm of novelty fair foods in 2012 with the creation of the Double-Bacon Corn Dog — a bacon-wrapped deep-fried corn dog with even more bacon bits in the batter served with even more bacon and maple syrup for dipping. It was an instant success and garnered national media attention. And last year's entry was was a Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Corn Dog.
Iowa's Big Pork Leg is an Iowa-raised pork shank that is actually two cuts of meat in one. It includes the pig wing mini-shank that many chefs use on menus for appetizers and then also the regular shank. To Eric Campbell, both were too small, and he had a better idea. He asked his butchers, "Why don't you just cut me the whole thing?" This visible display of gustatory medievalism is sure to appeal to carnivores across the fairgrounds. "People love the "Bamm-Bamm" food (think "Flintstones") and manners go out the window," Campbell said.
The shank is seasoned with Caribbean spices, smoked for eight hours and then seared on a grill. it comes with a choice of sriracha-bourbon barbecue sauce or a sweet chili sauce basted on before serving with more sauce available on the side. Campbell said he has about 30,000 shanks ready to go for the fair.
Location: South of the Pepsi clock and east of the Administration Building on Rock Island Ave.
How to vote: Text porkleg to 75782.
Mig's Applewood Smoked Chicken Salad Wrap
This is George Miglieri's second year operating G Mig's concession stand at the fair and entering a contender in the new foods lineup. After taking over the Three Sisters wrap stand last year, his Pride of Iowa Wrap — a jalapeño-cheddar tortilla filled with pork shoulder, sweet corn salsa, hickory-smoked bacon bits, cheddar-jack cheese, fresh avocado relish, chipotle aioli and crispy tortilla bites — earned G Mig's Wrap Stand the People's Choice award.
A relative newcomer to the Iowa State Fair's list of concessionaires, Miglieri is definitely not a newcomer to the food business. He's a formally trained chef who oversaw the culinary program at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines for 18 years. At 45 years old, he opened G Mig's in Valley Junction. And in just five years, it's become one of the most popular spots in Valley Junction, having won Cityview awards (best place to watch Iowa games and best restaurant in Valley Junction for the past three years). The Iowa Restaurant Association named Miglieri "Restaurateur of the Year" in 2014.
The inspiration behind Mig's Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrap came easily to Miglieri. He was outside his home drinking coffee one morning and he caught a whiff of bacon cooking in a neighbor's kitchen. That was when he decided his next competing dish was going to include bacon in its creation. "I wanted to do a BLT with a chicken salad because i like the different textures," Miglieri said.
After about 12 attempts with different mixtures (including pulled chicken and diced roasted chicken), diced applewood smoked chicken made its way into the recipe, and that was the winning component. Miglieri incorporated the chicken into a salad with chopped celery, fresh herbs and a creamy bacon dressing. It's rolled up into a 12-inch cheddar wrap with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and lots of crispy smoked bacon. With that, the full-pound wrap was finally perfected and took its place among many other fair food notables. Each wrap is made to order and there's even a gluten-free wrap available.
Location: The northeast corner of the Varied Industries Building plaza.
How to vote: Text wrap to 75782.
Here was the list of new Iowa State Fair foods for 2017. Wochit