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Does anybody actually enjoy street fair food?

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by alblancher, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    We went to an art festival this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the artists and looking at all their creative work.

    There where a couple of BBQ restaurants/caterers serving a limited menu. Being the Avant-Garde, bohemian adventurer that I am I ordered a pulled pork sandwich from each of the businesses represented. 

    If the food at the fair was an attempt to compel me to visit their restaurants all I can say is "big mistake".  Why would someone put their name on a product they could not have been proud of?   The pulled pork was generally served barely warm, sunken into a sticky, wet bun and covered with a sickeningly sweet BBQ sauce.  There was no "bark" or smoke taste in the sandwiches my wife and I shared.

    I did notice that the primary means of advertising the presence of a BBQ booth was the thick white cloud surrounding the smokers and cooking crew.  I can't imagine they used green wood in the smokers but I don't see how you could get that thick smoke from properly dried wood.  Not meaning to bitch, we had a great time, just posting the observation that maybe you shouldn't order BBQ at an Art festival.

    How often do you guys expect to get good food at a street fair.  We have had above average food at the Jazz and Heritage Festival but from the scores of festivals I have visited over the years I can count on a single hand the number of times that I thought the food was above average.   In your neck of the woods what festival would you recommend to the Chow Hound planning a visit to your town?

  2. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I always approach those with the attitude that the food will be bad and most likely unsatisfying. It makes something average tasting a bit of a surprise. I think the worst street vendor type food I have ever had was at the Renaissance Festival in Charlotte, NC a couple years back. The turkey legs were huge but the inside was still raw. Grabbed some scotch eggs from a different booth a little later and I could tell they had been frozen which wasn't a surprise but they had done a very poor job of frying them. The sausage wasn't anywhere close to crispy even on the outside edges. I haven't been back since but if I do go back, I won't eat the food.
  3. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I had the same experience at the Renaissance Festival in Atlanta, GA. Probably all the same outfit anyway. I did enjoy drinking the beer from a horn though. [​IMG]

    We have a Greek Festival here, it was about a month ago. The food is always awesome. It is actually put on by a church and the food is done by local Greek folks. Atleast the food I have had. As far as fairs go, yuck. I wouldn't touch that stuff or allow my grandkids to either. You can just imagine the sanitary practices. Honesty, I hardly ever eat out, unless I'm out of town and if I'm going to be in one location for more that 2 days I get the hotel room with the kitchenette and cook. I'm a snob like that.
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    The thick white smoke you see is what they hope will draw in folks who don't know anything about smoking. The butts you had probably never saw the inside of a pitt.

     We went to the hammond blues and bbq fest last year as spectators and They didn't allow competitors to sell food . The one tent they had set up to sell had the same pp that you experianced.

    same cloud of white smoke and awful meat.

     To recomend a few festivals, The J&H in N.O. is great . The jambalaya festival in gonzales.

     The crawfish festival in Breaux Bridge. The shrimp and petroleum festival in morgan city.

     Most of the fall food festivals below hwy 90 down in the little cajun towns.

    I won't eat bbq at any festival unless i see it being cooked .
  5. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    I always enjoy St. Anthony's festival in the spring and San Gennaro in the fall, both in Little Italy. One year I tried a pork bracciole from every stand. Another year, hot sausage. They all grill them over charcoal, obviously some better than others. Soft shelled crab sandwiches are good for grossing out the little ones. Picture a roll with legs sticking out in all directions. Yumm!

    There are other street festivals, but most have the same vendors just in different locations week after week. The two Little Italy fairs have them, too, but the local restaurants also have stands.

    Now I'm hungry!
  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I loved the San Gennaro festival in NY. Went back to see one of the final games in Yankee stadium a few years ago and it was incredible. I also love street fair food but never get BBQ as most of the festivals are not about BBQ. I usually go for sausages or Mexican food and am rarely dissapointed
  7. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I guess the Greek festivals must be a common thing across the nation.  Even up here in the far northwest, the food is excellent.  As for the OP's experience with the PP slopped all over with SWEET BBQ sauce....dollar to a donut, the PP came out of a slow cooker with liquid smoke poured in and the SWEET BBQ (obviously a secret formula, that's what everyone of those vendors claim anyway) is use to satisfy the sweet tooth and hide the poor taste of the rest of the sandwich.  That being said, I must also say that there are other vendors out there who serve some excellent food, but they're so few and far between that it becomes discouraging.  For me, I look to see how the food is handled and the food handler's themselves.  You can tell a lot from that.
  8. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Um, what is a scotch egg?
  9. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    It is a peeled hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, coated with a thin layer of bread crumbs and fried. They are really good when done right.

    I stole this pic thanks to Google.

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  10. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, they do look good
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree there is little festival food out there that is better than average at best.  One exception is the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA.  It is held during the last full weekend of each July.  Rooms in the area are at a premium so reserve months in advance if you plan to attend.  Even there, though, you have to pick your shots.

  12. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now is fair food ever any good. I would think no but then I like good food and not something that is connected to the county fair. The BBq cookoff do have some good Q. but to me I think that the best food that I have ever had is really from A SMF sanctioned GATHERING  now you can't beat that food................................Need I say More

    Now I have had some really great food at some street vendors in New York City and even some of the street vendors in forgien countries like Mazatlan, Mexico and Los calrlos, Puetro Rico and then Boston, Jamaica. 
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  13. smokey mo

    smokey mo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    The Scandinavian Festival in Junction City Oregon is the 2nd weekend in August.  They do have some good food.  I do find it strange that they also have Mexican and Chinese food booth's, but I avoid those.  There is a guy that makes his own sausages all year just for the festival, venison, potato elk(some years) and pork/beef.  It is very good.  

    All that to say, I have had better food at some booths than at some of the BBQ store fronts around here.  I get more upset about that than going to what I expect to be a failure to begin with.  If I go to a store front I expect the food to be worth the price they charge.  At a booth I know they are just here for a buck. So I don't get bent when it is horrible.

    Some food shacks in Mexico would make your skin crawl in the States but the food is so amazing you look past it.  Like tacos made with prawns the size of small lobster...I will over look the cook pouring his own beer into the batter.
  14. thebarbequeen

    thebarbequeen Smoking Fanatic

    I can't imagine a frozen scotch egg!! YUCK!  one of my favorites with a good dark beer and make them for xmas morning every year (beer optional at breakfast)
  15. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey man, I'm all for a great dark beer and a Scotch egg for breakfast, have that, open presents and go back to bed.
  16. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    hey i dont get it

    if the food is fair

    how can it be good?

    the only fairs we have here in this city are carnivals with the same thing, sausages or fried oreos or any of those carny foods none worth talking about
  17. i agree, street fair food can be hit or miss.  sometimes you can get lucky, but the odds are usually against you.

    beyond street fairs, some of the best street food i've had comes from our local farmer's markets.

    on sundays, at hollywood beach, there's a farmer's market that, besides the produce, also has bunch of food vendors.  there's this one booth i go to every week with the most delicious burritos.  how delicious?  i don't even like burritos.  i almost never order them anywhere else.  but these are outstanding.  imo, the food at this little tent is better than 90% of the mexican restaurants around here (and there are no shortage of mexicans or good mexican restaurants in southern california) 

    the little booth/tent is run by a mom and dad, with their little kids working right there with them.  authentic mexican home cooking, right on the beach.  mmmmm!
  18. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    If you are in Miami, I would have guessed that with the vibrant Cuban community there would be some outstanding Cuban food served in the festivals.
  19. kevink

    kevink Fire Starter

    In my humble opinion, the best fair food in the world is the Fletcher's corny dog at the State Fair of Texas.  No smokers are involved unfortunately, but I personally invite the Chow Hounds all across this great country of ours to come and see what I'm talking about.  For many folks in this area, the corny dogs are what brings us to the fair year in, year out.  The fair features several new novelty fried items every year, some of which are ok, some not.  But you will inevitably find yourself coming back to the original and best - the Fletcher's corny dog.

    Yes, that's corny dog.  Not corn dog.  And I suggest you do what I do, and stand by the mustard dispenser, so you can put some on each bite.  Mustarding the whole thing at once will heat the mustard and make it drippy, as well as get your crust soggy.  And please invite me when you go so I can get a corny dog.  Hell I will even be your tour guide.  I have been going to that fair ever since I can remember.

    By the way, it might have good barbecue - it's just that none of us would never know because we are too busy with the corny dogs.  And they are only available for the 4 weeks in late September/early October at the fair.  Nowhere else.