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15 Most Horrifying Deep-Fried Foods in America

America's gastronomic Houses of Horror.

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With State Fairs only a few short months away, we figured it was high time we delved into America's gastronomic Houses of Horror. Since nowhere is our collective cultural disregard for the laws of physics and good taste made clear more than with deep fried foods, it's only appropriate that we begin there.

In researching this, some potential entries we rejected outright ("deep fried eggs on a stick" are just re-branded Scotch Eggs, dammit), some we had to cut for space issues (seriously, we could do three of these goddamn things just on fried foods alone), and some gave us complicated feelings, torn between desire and revulsion. More than anything, we were staggered at the level of misplaced creativity that goes into State Fair food. If we were ¼ as concerned with space travel as we are with finding new ways to fry things that shouldn't be possible to fry, we'd have colonized Alpha Centauri by now.

We begin with the one everyone's heard of by now, because if I didn't do it, I'd have 30 comments asking me where it was:

1. Fried Butter (Iowa)

Butter, the tabletop staple, has now  entered the fair circuit. The on-a-stick version from the Iowa State Fair is dipped in a cinnamon batter, fried and topped with glaze. When you bite into it you will find the butter has melted and you are left largely with a buttery cinnamon shell. The Texas version is similar, but they use small portions rolled up into balls.

It's not really a state fair until someone fries fat wrapped in a batter of fat and carbs. That's the dream here, folks, because THIS IS AMERICA, DAMMIT.

Honestly, though, the problem with fried butter at this point is that it just feels so...done. I mean, sure, you're literally eating an entire stick of butter, ho-hum, but this is a list where an enterprising culinary mad scientist figured out how to fry beer and another one threw Reese's cups and bacon at a stick, coated it with banana bread, and tossed the whole concoction at a vat of boiling oil. By comparison, deep fried butter just seems so disappointingly pedestrian.

2. Fried Pig Ears (Minnesota)

Minnesota State Fair regular Charlie Torgerson, who owns five franchises of Famous Dave's BBQ, got famous for his chocolate-covered bacon, which he followed up with peach-glazed pigs' cheeks. This year, Torgerson is  frying up pigs' ears, cut to look like curly fries, with a chipotle glaze. "He's done everything but the squeal," fair official Dennis Larson, who oversees new food, told the local press. "He's running out of organs."

There is no possible scenario in which the phrase "he's running out of organs" is a positive thing to hear. Either someone is doing something horrible to a poor, defenseless kitchen, or it's a medical emergency, or Jeffrey Dahmer's freezer is being exhumed. Christ, I know pig is delicious, but there are limits.

3. Fried Beer (Texas)


If you have a smidgen of common sense, the first question that should pop in your head is "How can you deep fry a liquid?" The second…"Is beer amazing or what?" This winner of the 2010 Most Creative Award at the State Fair of Texas is basically a deep-fried ravioli made from  a salty, pretzel-like dough filled with beer. The awesomeness comes from the fact that since the ravioli is only submerged in oil for about 20 seconds, it's still alcoholic so you have to be of drinking age to even buy it.

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