With more than 60 food vendors, it can be hard to figure out what and where to eat at the 2016 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. A good place to start may be this year’s Gold Buckle Foodie Awards winners. From deep-fried Oreos wrapped in bacon to scorpion-topped pizza, we had the chance to sample the dishes competing for top honors at this year’s awards. Here are the highlights from the close to 100 dishes the rodeo’s vendors presented at the competition.
Two vendors stood out with multiple first-place wins for their sweet concoctions. Custom Confections (Circle Drive 203), the Cypress-based food truck took first place in the Most Creative, Best Dessert and Best Fried Food categories for its sweet creations, which included a sundae with layers of chocolate chunk brownie, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls (NRG Center Lobby 259) was also a favorite with their delicious cinnamon rolls, which took two first place wins including Best Breakfast.
It wouldn’t be the rodeo without fried foods. We sampled fried Twix, fried s’mores, fried cookie dough and deep-fried butter. Yes, butter. But the big winner was Custom Confections again with its fried brownie ball with ice cream. Fried cookie dough on a stick from Aunt Edmoe’s Cookies (Circle Drive 205) took the second place prize.
“That’s a heart attack looking for an address,” said awards host Harry Miller, vice chairman of headquarters on the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest Committee, of the fried cheesecake on a stick. While you can seemingly find anything on a stick at the rodeo, from pizza to bacon-wrapped sausage, the top two dishes were a bit on the healthier side. Top honors went to Berryhill Baja Grill’s (Rodeo Plaza 85) shrimp diablo kabob, while Saltgrass Steak House (NRG Center Lobby 63) took second place with its steak kabob.
Classic Fair Food
Loaded baked potatoes, barbecue plates and corn dogs all made an appearance in this category. Try the bacon chili cheeseburger from Holmes Smokehouse (Rodeo Plaza 60) that won over the judges or go for Biggy’s BBQ’s Big Daddy Corndog, an enormous corndog on a stick that won second place in this category.
While it didn’t win in any category, new vendor Taco Me Crazy (Circle Drive 201) may be worth a visit. It won awards for its brisket tacos and pulled pork Mexican bowl.
Here’s a list of Gold Buckle Foodie award-winners. You can find a full list of food vendors here.
Best New Flavor
Paradise Burgers (RP 90) -“The Brookie”
Most Creative Food
Custom Confections (CD203) - “The Ultimate”
Best Fried Food
Custom Confections (CD203) - “Fried Brownie Ball w/ ice cream”
Best Breakfast Food
Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls (L0259) - “Cinnamon Roll w/icing”
Berryhill Baja Grill (RP85) - “Shrimp Diablo Kabob”
Custom Confections (CD203) - “The Emma”
Classic Fair Food
Holmes Smokehouse (RP60) - “Bacon Chili Cheeseburger”
Best Value Food
Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls (L0259) - “Original Cinnamon Roll”