We know you anxiously await the latest installment of Eat This Tonight: “What tantalizing dishes will I sink my teeth into this week? Duck with crème fraîche? Flounder ceviche?” Not this time, foodie snobs. The final three days of the 2010 Coastal Carolina Fair are upon us, and the only way you’re going to get crème fraîche is if it’s deep fried and topped with powdered sugar. From the fairground staples to some of the more peculiar foods served this year, we’ve got ’em covered like powdered sugar on an elephant ear.
This year marks the appearance of the “Luther,” a cheeseburger that substitutes the traditional bun for a Krispy Kreme donut. Legend has it that singer-songwriter Luther Vandross created this monster, and numerous variations have popped up, from a Halal-friendly version in Queens to Paula Deen’s own Brunch Burger (topped with parsley for, you know, class). The fairground’s take on the burger goes all the way, featuring not cheese, bacon, and not one but two Krispy Kremes. Vegetarians, eat your unclogged-hearts out.
Or eat something fried. Many vendors dedicate themselves to the art of deep-frying almost anything, from Twinkies to Coca-Cola. Thank God for menus, as these deep-fried items are virtually unrecognizable by the time they’re done cooking. In the fryer this year are Reese’s Cups, Snickers, Oreos, PB&Js, and deep-fried butter. No, it’s not a stick of butter that’s simply thrown in the fryer (give that one a couple years though). Slightly less heart-stopping, this dish is mostly deep fried dough with a pat of butter in the center. Think heavily buttered beignet. (Watch Mike Ledford’s video here to see how it’s made.)
If you’re concerned about riding rides and not puking, there’s a few slightly less greasy options. Plenty of stands have the classic grilled sausage, peppers, and onions, as well as hand-rolled pretzels. Fried onions are available as well, marketed under the name “Griff’s Onion.” For something hearty that won’t hurt the heart, your best bet is one of those giant smoked turkey legs available at the rotisserie-style stands. However, for those wanting to throw caution to the wind, Fiske Fries still sells fries by the bucketful ($7).
Of course, you’re going to need something to wash down all this food. Check out Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda stand. The company prides itself on using pure cane sugar and less carbonation than leading soda companies. Tap flavors include Rocky Mountain Root Beer, Buck’n Birch Beer, Sarsaparilla Six Shooter, Vintage Vanilla Cream, and others. $10 gets you a reusable mug you can refill throughout the day.