By John Hardaway
Resident Fair Goer/Food Expert
The No. 1 reason to go to the State Fair of Oklahoma is the food, closely followed by people watching and trying to conquer the rigged hoop shoot contest.
When you walk in the fair and that first whiff of a combination of burning grease deep fryers, the smoke from the turkey legs and corn cobs, with mild undertones of animal barn scents hits your nose, you know youíre in a very happy place.
By making the decision to go to the fair, you have left all your dietary health reservations and inhibitions behind. There will be no hesitation in choices, no concern over cleanliness in preparation, or pause to contemplate the consequences your pending food choices will have on the ride home or coming days.
Once you walk through that gate, youíre all in, full-speed ahead, no holding back because you only will (and honestly can) do this once a year.
My pattern of habit has become pretty regular on our State Fair journey.
Walk in the north entrance, go straight to the first Poncho Dog stand (they are green), get a corn dog, or two, jumbo - not regular - only $2 more, and then go post up in the shade (important) across the way and take in the Pirate Puppy Dog Show.
The puppies and their tricks keep the kids entertained and allows complete focus and enjoyment on the State Fair Corn Dog.
You see, the State Fair Corn Dog is unmatched in relation to all other corn dogs anywhere else at any other time the rest of the year.
Surely Iím not the only one that thinks this. I like mustard on mine, but ketchup or plain is great too.
But, the key to the entire fair experience is starting off on the right foot and thatís with a corn dog.
After the Pirate Puppies and corn dogs, itís now time to stop by the Oklahoma Pork Council tent (nearby) and get the famous Pork Chop Sandwich.
Itís as simple as it gets: Two slices of smoked pork loin on a bun.
Thatís it. Meat and bread.
But man itís so good!
They have Head Country BBQ sauce and other sauces and seasonings available as well, but the simplicity is what makes it awesome.
They are selling a Hawgzilla combo sandwich now, too, which is smoked pork loin and pulled pork, but I just love the simple classic.
This is also a good time to get on the move and start walking while eating, so we normally head over to the Ag Exhibit Building nearby.
Besides all the neat exhibits, the building has really cold AC and plenty of places to sit down.
This is an important time to both rest and get mentally prepared for the rest of the day.
At this point, like my friends and I say after a lot of eating, IímÖ starting to feel ďreally weird.Ē
Itís from here that the long, hot walk to and from the runway games and rides begins.
Somewhere along the way, a stop at the fresh squeezed (itís worth it) lemonade stand happens and the last ďmust eatĒ fair food item must be dealt with: The Danís Famous Indian Taco.
I love Indian Tacos: Fry bread piled high with meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. My favorite part is the chewy, crispy edges around the outside.
At this point, Iím fully miserable and just trying to finish this State Fair food marathon. Once out on the runway, it feels about 120 degrees and shade and place to sit down are at a premium, sometimes unachievable.
Another stop at the fresh squeezed lemonade stand to wash everything down is almost inevitable. A few games and rides, another failed attempt at the rigged hoop shoot, and the day is over.
The three-part culinary medley of fair corn dog, pork chop sandwich, and Indian taco is a once-a-year journey of indulgence and excess.
If attempted more than once, it would be almost impossible to do, but also dull the excitement and goodness it provides once a year.
Also, for full disclosure, Iím not a fan of the deep fried Oreos, snickers, butter, ice cream etc. Sometimes too much is just too much, and none of these unique fair items have ever been to appealing to me.
If I want something sweet, I normally go with the simple funnel cake, because at that point, whatís another 2,000 calories?
Share with us your favorite Oklahoma State Fair foods and pictures.