There’s the Krusty Pup and Earthquake burger. And Fisher scones and Duris elephant ears. Everyone has a fair food favorite.
Bet you didn’t know there are many other ways to slowly slam your arteries shut at the Washington State Spring Fair.
Here, take a look at five unusual finds you’ll be able to jam into your mouth during the fair April 20-23.
FRIED MEAT PIES
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Fried meat hand pies have been a fair tradition since the early 1990s when sisters-in-law Pat Tuthill and Pat Jorgensen operated the fried meat pie trailer Fleischkuechle (pronounced flish-koosh-lay) outside the back entrance of the fair. In 2011, family friends Ben and Ginny Vrieze bought the business. In 2013, the fair folks finally got some common sense and invited the pie makers inside the gates and the Vriezes have been serving inside the fairgrounds ever since. They’ve expanded the offerings beyond the traditional beef-filled meat pie to sausage-and-bacon breakfast pies, as well as apple-, peach- or cherry-filled fried pies. Last year’s prices were $6.50-$6.75.
OK, they’re really Russian fried turnovers called piroshki, but the little fried buns filled with ground beef and gooey strands of cheddar cheese taste like a cheeseburger if you put the right ingredients into fried pastry. The booth that fries these, Kaleenka Piroshky, also sells fried buns stuffed with salmon and other fillings. Last year’s prices were $8-$9.
The Sharky’s stand turns up the volume on ordinary french fries by dousing the fried potatoes with a creamy-spicy sauce with little bits of fried lobster. They’re the fanciest fries you’ll find at the fairgrounds, but they’re not cheap. Last year’s prices were $11.95 for an order and $12.95 for either an order of fish and chips or calamari and chips.
CHILI CHEESE FRIES
The star of the show at Bernie’s Burgers is the chili cheese fries with shredded cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and a beef-and-bean chili. The towering paper tray comes with good-and-plenty layering. If asked if you want grilled or fresh onions, ask for both. Last year’s price was $5.75.
What’s more decadent than a burrito? How about a fried hot dog and cheese burrito? Probably the only thing that would make this the ultimate fried fare would be the addition of bacon. The Chihuahua dog is a tortilla wrapped around a hot dog and a whole bunch of cheese (of the Velveeta variety). It goes well with a Smitty burger, which the Marlowe’s II restaurant also sells. Last year’s prices were $5.99 for a chihuahua dog and $9.99 for a Smitty burger.
About 40 teams of barbecue cooks will compete for a $15,000 grand prize at the fair’s BBQ Playoffs from the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association. The competition takes place April 22-23. Live judging of the barbecue will be 6 p.m. April 22. The winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m. April 23.
Barbecue teams will compete in these categories: brisket, pork, chicken and ribs. And here’s where fairgoers come in. Samples of the competition barbecue will be available from 11 a.m-7:30 p.m. April 22 and 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. April 23. Prices start at $2 a sample. Eat early, the samples will be limited.
For those wanting to perfect their smoking techniques, barbecue demonstrations will take place on the hour every hour from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. April 22. More information at pnwba.com.