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Over 60 new foods on tap for 2023 Iowa State Fair

Ready to try some new foods? Take a look at what the Iowa State Fair has on the menu.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Many Iowans come to the state fair to try their favorite foods. But if you're feeling spontaneous to eat something new, we have some options for you.

Earlier this year, the fair released its list of new foods for 2023. And on July 18, the fair narrowed down the 64 items to three in order for fairgoers to vote for the top new option during the 2023 Iowa State Fair (Aug. 10-20).

The three options include: What's Your Cheez, Bacon Box and Whatcha Smokin BBQ.

And Watcha Smokin BBQ's pitmaster, Paul Babberl, says it's an honor to have their business at the fair for the first time this year.

"This is my home, right next to the beer tent," Babberl said while laughing.

Babberl and the rest of the team will make their "normal" meats on the menu.

But this year, the business has something more "sweet" to offer as well — Iowa Twinkies, which they make in the smoker, just like their meats.

"Sweet corn, cream cheese, ranch seasoning and then we wrap it in bacon. Then we throw on some green onions."

He said their new food can be messy, but "[it's] everything in Iowa that you can hope for."

If you're looking for something more sweet, maybe Smith's might be right for you. Smith's has been a fair staple since the 1990s, selling their fried foods like corn dogs and pretzels, but this year they have deep-fried strawberry shortcake on a stick.

"I got the idea 10 years ago or so, and we have just kind of been playing around with it, and we wanted to come up with the opportune time to bring it to the Iowa State Fair," owner Liz Smith said.

Smith's goes back four generations. And Smith said being a family business is just as important to her as timing how long their shortcakes are in the fryer.

"You fry it for a little bit, and it gets it really crispy on the outside, and kind of gooey in the middle," she said.

Smith explained that their new food is just like "shortcakes and funnel cakes kind of combined."

Some other new items at this year's fair include: Amish Donuts, Burrito Bowl, Cookie Dough Sundae, Hot Stuff Grilled Cheese, Iowa Sweet Corn Sundae and Walleye in a Boat (or on a Stick).

Last year's new foods included the "OMG" Chicken Sandwich, the Pork Picnic in a Cup and The Finisher.

Full list: New fair foods for 2023

  • (Banh Mi) Vietnamese Sandwich
  • (Café Muoi) Salted Coffee
  • A-Hootenanny Ice Cream
  • Amish Donuts
  • Apple Pie Cookie Ice Cream
  • Bacon and Sweet Corn Lobster Rolls
  • Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Dog
  • Bauder's Cherry Dream Ice Cream
  • Berry Bowl-Frozen Sorbet
  • Birch Beer Soda
  • Blueberry Mini Donuts
  • Bubble Tea
  • Bucket of Soda
  • Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries
  • Burrito Bowl
  • Butterbeer Ice Cream
  • Byrd Dawg Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  • Caramel Apple Cake Pops
  • Catfish in a Boat or on a Stick
  • Chicken Salad Hoagie
  • Chopped Brisket Sandwich
  • Chopped Italian Chicken Hoagie
  • Chopped Italian Ham Hoagie
  • Chopped Italian Roast Beef Hoagie
  • Citrus Boost Energy Drink
  • Cookie Dough Sundae
  • Cotton Candy Art
  • Cotton Candy Cheese Cake
  • Craft Link on a Stick
  • Crunch Cool Ranch Pickle on a Stick
  • Deep Fried Bacon Brisket Mac-N-Cheese Grilled Cheese
  • Deep Fried Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick
  • Deep Fried Sweet Corn Nugget
  • Dill Pickle Flavored Cheese Curds
  • Dough Crazy (Chocolate Chip, Cake Batter, Brownie Batter, Brookie, CC Dough w/o CC, Monster, Cherry Chocolate Chip, Cookies and Cream) Sweet Stick
  • Fried Caramel Apple Cow Tail
  • Grilled Shrimp on a Stick
  • Grinder Ball
  • Hot Stuff Grilled Cheese
  • Iowa Sweet Corn Sundae
  • Iowa Twinkie-Jalapeno Filled with Pulled Pork, Corn and Cream Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon, Smoked with Sweet and Sticky BBQ, Finished with Ranch
  • Korean Bacon Egg Dog
  • Korean Egg Dog
  • Lamb Gyro Salad
  • Made from Scratch Bacon Maple Monkey Bread
  • Orange (with Peppermint) Sipper
  • Orange Float
  • Orange Slush
  • Orange-Frosty
  • Oreo Brownie Blast
  • Peanut Butter Cream Donuts
  • Pop Corn Shrimp
  • Pork Belly Pinwheel
  • Raspberry Chipotle Grilled Cheese
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Shrimp Poke Bowl
  • Shrimp Tacos
  • Soft Serve Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae
  • Southern Fried Corn on the Cob
  • The Ooey Gooey All American Grilled Cheese
  • Ube Funnel Cake
  • Walking Banana Dessert
  • Walking Smores Dessert
  • Walleye in a Boat or on a Stick

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