We'd like to interrupt the arterial recovery you've been experiencing since the close of Summerfest with a new list of diet-destroying treats.
This round is brought to you by the Wisconsin State Fair, which has proudly added over 80 gut-busting additions to its menu for 2018.
Among the new dishes being offered, there appear to be a variety of themes, from new over-the-top items and things covered in Flamin' Hot Cheetos to deliciously crunchy insects (yes, they're back again).
Over the top
If you’re going to over-do it, there’s no better time than at the State Fair, and there are a couple of new foods that do exactly that. Take the The PorkSTACKular, for instance. This includes a one-third pound pork belly patty (essentially bacon) stacked high with crispy, smoky bacon and deep fried pickles and then smothered in melted Swiss cheese, drizzled with sweet’n’spicy "hot" honey and served on a buttermilk caramelized-onion naan bread bun.
Or how about the Wisconsin Hot Chicken Bombs? Billed as a mobile version of Nashville hot chicken, these include mashed potatoes loaded with Wisconsin cheddar, corn and fried chicken that are hand-rolled, breaded and deep fried. They’re then injected with Water Street Brewery Amber Beer gravy, dipped in hot sauce and garnished with a pickle.
Of course, they may have outdone themselves with the bizarre-sounding Sweet Tots, described as "savory yummy sweets on top of a pile of tater tots." I think I need a moment to think about that.
Things covered in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Remember when I ate the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Sorbet from The Fire Pit Bar & Grill? Yeah, that’s a thing. In fact, the "put Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in everything" trend has been sweeping the nation for months and it’s now reached its pinnacle on the State Fair circuit.
First, there are the outrageously fusion-y Flamin’ Hot Asian Burritos: tortillas filled with stir fry noodles, teriyaki steak and flamin' hot Cheetos, and topped with yum yum sauce. And then you’ve got Flamin’ Hot Corn On The Cob, an ear of corn that’s been deep-fried and then dipped into a spiced mayo crema and dusted with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Apparently bugs are now a perennial new offering at the Wisconsin State Fair. And I'll be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that.
In 2017, All Things Jerky rolled out their infamous cricket nachos, which must have been popular because they've remained on the menu for 2018 (I ate them ... and they were OK). But this year, it's not just crickets. They’re bringing on more insects for your eating enjoyment in 2018.
In classic State Fair fashion, they’ll be offering Ants On-A-Stick. And yes, they’re exactly that: (apparently) delicious, crunchy ants stuck to an edible stick.
But that’s not all, there’s also Insect Jerky available in two flavors: cricket and earthworm. So if you’re up for wrestling a few chewy critters, you should probably put these on your list. Erp.
On a stick
Last year, the list of new foods on a stick was a bit spare. But the Fair is making up for it this year with 18 new skewered items. Among the most interesting options is the Chocolate Covered Gouda On-A-Stick, which sounds like it could be pretty delicious. Or horrible. But probably delicious.
And then there’s French Onion Soup On-A-Stick. It's not really soup. And it's wrapped in a wonton wrapper, much like the deep-fried butter of yore. But I’m still intrigued. It could well be delicious.
Sprecher Brewery is also rolling out a series of "deconstructed" grilled cheeses on-a-stick, including the Deconstructed Cinco De Agosto Grilled Cheese On-A-Stick which includes pita, grilled chicken, jalapenos, red pepper, served with a cilantro habanero jack cheese sauce made with Sprecher Acapulco Gold Beer.
Which ones should I try?
For the third year in a row, I’m going to take one for the team. I’ll be reviewing at least ten of the new Wisconsin State Fair foods. I've got a small list started of things I'm interested in trying, but I'm also taking requests!
Leave your suggestions for foods I should consider in the comments below or email me at email@example.com (use subject line: State Fair Foods) on or before July 31. I'll try to include as many of your suggestions as I can. In the meantime, you can take a look back at the 12 foods I reviewed from the 2017 State Fair.
ALL the new foods at the Fair
For your convenience, here’s the complete list of all the new foods at the Fair (along with where to find them). You can also find more favorite dishes using the Wisconsin State Fair Food Finder.
- Ants On-a-Stick - All Things Jerky
- Bacon & Cheddar Bratwurst - Saz's Taste of Wisconsin
- Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Nachos - Grandstand Nachos
- Bacon Jam & Brie Burger - Blue Moon Tavern at the Park
- Bacon Wrapped Pork On-a-Stick - The Pork Shoppe
- Beerana Foster Shake (non-alcoholic) - Slim's Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery
- Bourbon BBQ Brisket Egg Roll - Machine Shed Restaurant
- Brat-chos - Big Sky Country Bar & Grill
- Breakfast Sausage in a Waffle On-a-Stick - Waffle Chix
- Breakfast Waffle Sandwich - Siggy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese
- Buffalo Sliders with Blue Cheese Slaw - Blue Moon Tavern at the Park
- Burrito Bowl - Margarita Taco
- Camel Burger - Exotic Meat Grill
- Chicken Caprese Sandwich - Miller Lite Sports Bar & Grill
- Chicken in a Waffle On-a-Stick - Waffle Chix
- Chipotle Lime Fish - Tropics at the Fair
- Chips & Shrimp Ceviche -The Shrimp Shack
- Chips & Sprecher Root Beer Salsa - Sprecher Landing and Sprecher Root Beer Everything
- Chocolate Covered Gouda On-a-Stick - Hot Wisconsin Cheese
- Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers - Ultimate Confections
- Cinna-Roll Mini Donuts - The Donut Family
- Cran-noli - Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association
- Cuban Nacho - Grandstand Nachos
- Deconstructed Cinco de Agosto Grilled Cheese - On-a-Stick Sprecher Landing
- Deconstructed Wisconnie Cristo Grilled Cheese - On-a-Stick Sprecher Landing
- Deconstructed Wisconsin Woodlands Grilled Cheese On-a-Stick - Sprecher Landing
- Deep-Fried Double Stuffed S'mores Custard Sundae - Saz's Taste of Wisconsin
- Deep-Fried Spinach Lasagna Bites - Albanese's Roadhouse
- Deep-Fried Turducken On-a-Stick - Water Street Brewery
- Desert Heat Burger - Exotic Meat Grill
- Flamin' Hot Corn on the Cob On-a-Stick - Slim's PBR Park
- French Onion Soup On-a-Stick - Slim's PBR Park
- Goat Cheese Popcorn - Wisconsin Dairy Goat Products
- Gourmet Popcorn - Pop's Kettle Corn (flavors include: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Birthday Cake, Unicorn, Caramel Apple, Guacamole Lime, Dragon's Breath, Maple Bacon, Soul Boxer Brandy Old Fashioned, Lavender Caramel, Muskego Mix, Bourbon Caramel and Fireball Caramel)
- Green Mint Milk - Milwaukee Bucks Milk House
- Grilled Mango, Habanero & Coconut Shrimp On-a-Stick - The Shrimp Shack
- Gyro Bowl - Gyro Man
- Ham Reuben Sandwich - Usinger’s
- Ice Cream S'mores Quesadilla - Mexican Grill
- Insect Jerky - All Things Jerky
- Irish Fudge - Slim McGinn's Irish Pub
- Jerked Chicken Nachos - Grandstand Nachos
- Jumbo Stuffed Bacon & Cheddar Tater Kegs - The Shrimp Shack
- Jumbo Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Tater Kegs - The Shrimp Shack
- Jumbo Stuffed Crab Tater Kegs - The Shrimp Shack
- Loaded Potato Bomb - Water Street Brewery
- Mango Madness - Caribbean Smoothees
- Memphis Tater Tots - Dynamite Tot Stop
- Milk Snack - Prairie Farms
- Milky Way in a Waffle On-a-Stick - Waffle Chix
- Pasties - The Pasty Oven
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Funnel Cake - Sherwood's Fabulous Fudge
- Pecan Cluster Fudge - Funnel Cakes by G&G
- Philly Cheese Steak Fries - O'Brien's Philly Steak
- Philly Cheese Steak Nachos - O'Brien's Philly Steak
- Pig Boy (with beer battered fries or slaw) - Slim's Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery
- Pig Candy - Cannoli Brew City
- Pina Colada Shrimp On-a-Stick - Door County Fish Boil
- Pineapple Salsa with Chips - Tropics at the Fair
- Pizza in a Waffle On-a-Stick - Waffle Chix
- Pretzel-Wrapped Brat covered in Sauerkraut & Bacon - Gertrude's Pretzels
- Salt Potatoes - Joey's Seafood
- Salted Peanut Butter Fudge - Sherwood's Fabulous Fudge
- Saz's Breakfast Bomb On-a-Stick - Saz's Taste of Wisconsin
- Sheboygan Bratchos - Sheboygan Brat Haus
- Shrimp Taco - The Shrimp Shack
- Sloppy Joeys - Exotic Meat Grill
- Smashed Blackberry & Goat Cheese Bagel - Wisconsin Dairy Goat Products
- S'mores Beer Float - Slim McGinn's Irish Pub
- Snickers in a Waffle On-a-Stick - Waffle Chix
- Sprecher Root Beer Everything Ice Cream Sundae - Sprecher Root Beer Everything
- Strawberry Rangoon - Joey's Seafood
- Sunshine Splash Lemonade - Tropics at the Fair
- Sweet Tots - Knucklehead
- Teddy Graham S'mores - Lobby Pretzel Bar
- The Big Easy Cajun Cheese Curd Taco - Poncho Dog
- The PorkSTACKular - Budweiser Pavilion
- Tsunami Nachos - Tropics at the Fair
- Turkey Reuben Sandwich - Usinger’s
- Vegan Jerky - All Things Jerky
- Vegetarian Wings On-a-Stick - Slim McGinn's Irish Pub
- WI Hot Chicken Bombs - Water Street Brewery
- Wisconsin Dog - Siggy’s Wild Dog Saloon
- Wrecking Balls - Rupena’s
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.