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DINING: A fair amount of pork

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Dining - A&E

This year, the Indiana State Fair is celebrating the Year of the Pig. And that means pork is the main attraction in five dishes that were selected as finalists in the Fair’s Signature Food contest.

First, it needs to be said that the selection process for this award is absurd—even by local contest standards. In short, submissions from vendors are commented on by judges, but those judges don’t pass judgment. Instead, Indianapolis Star readers look at the pictures, read the comments, then vote without having tasted the food.

Seriously.

To counter that, we hit the Fairgrounds on a (surprise) blisteringly hot afternoon and sampled all five. Here are our thoughts after actually eating them.


 

State Fair food: Pig in a pancake(IBJ Photos/Perry Reichanadter)

R.E. Smith Concessions’ Pig in a Pancake, top right. You’ve got to love an entrée that has its own cartoon character logo. Here, a squishy sausage link is given the corn-dog treatment, only with Aunt Jemima pancake batter. The warm dipping syrup helps bring out the pancake flavor, but our sausage should have been cooked longer. Look for it near the Cattle Barn. ($5)
 

State Fair food: Garbage Burger

Indiana Pork Producers’ Garbage Burger. Where the rest of the finalists were, at best, appetizers, this was a real meal. Our concern was that the shredded pork and the pork burger it topped would cancel each other out, flavor-wise—or would seem like just more of the same with different textures. But the combo proved a winning one—both for us and the non-tasting voters. Our only suggestion: something better than the out-of-the-bag bun. Find it at any of the Indiana Pork Producers’ tents. ($7)
 

State Fair food: Country Fried Bacon

Barto’s Catering’s Country-Fried Bacon. The peppercorn country gravy is a definite plus for these too-chewy, breaded bacon strips, but the dish was a bit heavy for the hot day. Warning: The south Barto’s location doesn’t carry the bacon. Find it on the north side in the vicinity of the Farm Bureau Building. ($2 for 3, $4 for 5)

 

State Fair food: Pulled Pork Taco

Delia’s Pulled Pork Taco. If we stop back again, we might ask for Delia’s delicious barbecue sauce to be added to this soft-tortilla, open-faced taco, in addition to the standard cheese, lettuce and salsa. As it stood, though, the tasty mini was gone in a few pleasant bites. Find it near the DNR Building. ($4)
 

State Fair food: Rootbeer Ribs

Delia’s Root Beer Ribs. So what if we had to try really hard to taste the subtle root beer marinade? These were still Delia’s ribs—smoked on site—in the purveyor’s signature barbecue sauce, which is a little spicy and a lot delicious. Find it near the DNR Building. ($5 for two bones)•

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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