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Iowa State Fair

We've just discovered we're going to be able to visit the Iowa State Fair. Suggestions on don't-miss food there?

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  1. Here are a few of the things I always used to get. Anymore, it all cost to much and I usually skip the fair.
    Cajun Chicken on a Stick
    Pork Chop on a Stick
    Grater Taters, plenty of vinegar and cajun seasoning
    Rib Eye Steak sandwich at the Cattlemens barn. There is a special price on this during certain hours. Can't remember what they are.
    Fried Cheese Curds
    Jennie's Original Grinder. Kind of a loose meat Italian Sausage sandwich.
    There are some sweets that are popular. I'll check with some others, as I'm not into sweets.
    In the past, out back of the Cultural Center, you could buy local wines by the glass. There also were free samples of Maytag Blue Cheese. Don't miss Maytag Blue.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bobfrmia

      I second the sandwiches from the Cattlemens' Association. Those boys know how to cook their beef :D

      1. re: Bobfrmia

        Oh man, the pork chops on a stick are amazing. It's a little stand run by the Iowa Pork Council. They also have a big shed where you can go eat, but bypass that and just get the pork chop.

        Don't bother with the turkey legs unless you are a huge fan. They taste like any turkey leg you can get at any fair.

        The Dairy Barn is fun as well and the Bauder's ice cream is wonderful.

      2. Good start from Bob. The turkey legs and "Guinia Grinders" are very popular. I like the turkey nuggets, there and so do the kids. I also like the German Potato Salad and brats at the Amana stand. And I think the melon cups are a good value and refreshing. Also, the shakes and cones at the Dairy Barn.

        1. Bauder's peach ice cream for me. I know I can just go to Bauder's on Ingersoll but for some reason I never get there. Regarding the Amana stand - that used to be a favorite of mine (smoked pork shank!) but I don't think they were there last year, unless they moved elsewhere. They also had Millstream beer for about the same price as a Bud Light everywhere else.

          1. We have been going to the Iowa State Fair for 25 years and there are several things that I have to make sure I eat.
            Pork Chop on a stick.. ok, it's not really a stick but the bone serves as the stick.
            Corn Dog.. It wouldn't be the fair without corn dogs, (I had a pronto pup, whatever that is, at the Mn State Fair once but it just wasn't the same)
            Chocolate milk shake at the Dairy Barn
            Rib Eye Sandwich from the Beef Quarters (really good beef)
            Mark and Gary burger w/ cheese from the Beef Quarters (one pound of ground beef)
            Gizmo (a sausage and cheese sandwich) from Carl's
            Ham, eggs, and hashbrowns for breakfast from The Dinner Bell

            1. *bump*
              Any tips or reports from this year's fairgoers? Some of the recommendations below aren't listed in this year's food guide (online). I'm going next weekend for the first time.

              3 Replies
                1. re: christy319

                  Hi Christy - we were there on Saturday, and even though it was so HOT, we managed to do our share of eating! My family has been going to or working at the the Iowa State Fair for 20 years, so we do know our Fair food! This year it was a group of 15, ranging in age from 3 - 60.

                  Gooey caramel pecan rolls for breakfast
                  The fried cheese curds are as good as ever (we had several of these)
                  Pork chops on a stick (the bone serves as the stick) were SO good
                  Grater Taters - greasy, crispy, yummy
                  A Jennie grinder - this was "fine" this year
                  Shakes from the Dairy Barn - strawberry and chocolate - delicious
                  LOTS of shake-up lemonade
                  Turkey legs - pronounced wonderful by the newbies
                  Salt water taffy - got a "large" to take home, minus the black walnut flavor
                  Wonder Bars (ice cream on a stick, dunked in chocolate and rolled in peanuts)

                  We all shared everything, so we could have little tastes of lots of things. Love my family! :)

                  iowagirl

                  1. re: iowagirl

                    Thank you and thanks to the previous poster for the link-very helpful!

                2. The Essential Iowa guide to State Fair food proved to be a great help for our fair visit yesterday-thanks to jwagnerdsm for that. Highlights were: the smoked turkey drumstick from the stand next to the shade garden at the agricultural building (it was the only place that I saw the turkey legs in a big bbq grill/smoker), the ice cream soda with homemade fresh strawberry ice cream from Bauder's (also by the shade garden), and the funnel cake. My husband LOVED his pork chop on a stick from the Iowa Pork Producers stand (I thought it was good but pork chops aren't my thing). And the wine tasting was fun-we didn't sample anything great, but it was still worth the $.

                  The funniest food thing was the egg producers stand that gave away free hard boiled eggs on a stick (toothpick) in the agriculture building. You'd have thought that they were giving away truffles the way people were mobbing the stand and snatching up the eggs.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: christy319

                    LOL
                    If it's at the Fair, and it's free, 1000's will stand in line for it.
                    Watch out for the elderly ladies. They will trample you.

                    1. re: christy319

                      Christy,

                      Thanks for the nice words. And Bob, I think my Campbell's Pork Tenderloin I ate at the fair was one of the better ones I've had in awhile. Don't know if they make them or they come from SYSCO. And maybe I was just hungry. But it really hit the spot.