To New Yorkers, over the top grub may be a KFC Double Down sandwich – that cholesterol-dripping concoction of bacon and cheese stuck between two pieces of fried chicken fillets.
But if you step outside Gotham to tour the state and county fairs this summer, you may find other excessive eats. Here’s a sampling:
PORK, IT’S WHAT’S FOR …DESSERT
Inspired by the traditional ice cream parfait, the pork parfait layers mashed potatoes, slow-cooked pulled pork and thick, brown gravy in a way that’ll make you do a double take before you realize the dish is savory.
What mad genius is behind such a recipe? Only Howard Miller, three time president of the National Barbecue Association and founder of Indiana-based Porky’s BBQ.
(While Porky’s is on the road most of the year, they won’t be in the tristate area anytime soon. Maybe, if enough folks “like” their Facebook page, we can convince them otherwise.)
NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S TOAST
Since deep-fried butter took first place last year at one of the country’s most competitive fair food competition, the Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas state fair, there’s hardly a venue that doesn’t have some rendition.
But before you wretch at the idea of butter fat melting and then re-coagulating under the intense conditions of a deep-fryer, consider that the mastermind who created this decadence, Abel Gonzales Jr., was inspired by the humble buttered toast. Which is sort of what this dish is: a tiny pat of butter, seasoned, frozen, battered and then quickly deep-fried.
HOMER’S MOST PERFECT FOOD
Close your eyes and imagine: One chargrilled burger, as big as your fist, stacked with cheese, tomato, onion and pickle slices, and sandwiched between, yes, two Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
No, this isn’t a Homer Simpson late-night munchies fantasy (although he could certainly be its patron saint). The sandwich, known as the Krispy Kreme doughnut burger, made international headlines when it surfaced at the Florida State Fair earlier this year.
SIZE DOES MATTER
Weighing in at two pounds and a full 12 inches, the Kawabunga corn dog challenges you to bite off more deliciousness than you can chew.
Although, according to the maker of the giant corn dog, it’s not uncommon for folks to order not one, but two. “I’ve seen a girl, no bigger than a minute, order two Kawabunga dogs and eat them both,” said Brett Enright, founder of Juicy’s concessions.
The secret to its tastiness is in the prep: Juicy’s uses a wooden dowel (all the better to support the weight of the dog) to skewer its pork-blend hot dog, as well as an in-house batter recipe.
A FRIER AFICIONADO
It’s a safe bet to say that there isn’t a food item that Chicken Charlie (otherwise known as Charles Boghosian) hasn’t tried to deep-fry. Over the years at fairs in Southern California, he’s battered everything from s’mores to frog legs, and no one knows what’s next.
Something of a fair ingénue, Boghosian has been working fair concessions since he was a teenager. He’s since developed several different types of batters, which each pair with a certain type of fryer project — e.g. a sweet pancake batter for certain dessert dishes.
Want a taste of carnival life? These are nearby.
MANHATTAN STREET FAIRS
For a full list of summer street fairs — many of which feature classic fair eats — visit nycstreetfairs.com.
Location: Stillwell Avenue at Surf Avenue, Coney Island, Brooklyn
Between the first Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs location and the deep-fried, sugary treats offered by food vendors, Coney Island will satiate your fair food cravings. The summer lineup of events — kicking off with the Mermaid Parade on June 20 and including the famous Nathan’s hotdog eating contest on the 4th — keep this famous boardwalk bustling.
QUEENS COUNTY FAIR
Location: Queens County Farm, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens
This traditional county fair features blue ribbon competitions in livestock, produce and crafts. Entertainment includes a corn maze and pie-eating and corn-husking contests.