Bun B of Trill Burger accepting the award for best classic fair food.

It’s rodeo season once more! The Houston Livestock Present and Rodeo runs from February 28 to March 19, delivering concert events, exhibits, rides, video games and — most significantly — carnival meals. From easy sausage-on-a-stick to Monte Cristo sandwiches encased in funnel cake batter, the carnival and rodeo meals is various, indulgent, and sometimes smoked or fried. There are such a lot of choices that selecting out what to strive will be difficult. Fortunately, the Houston Livestock Present & Rodeo invitations meals writers, media personalities, well-known cooks, TV anchors and influencers to assist choose the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards, and as a kind of judges this yr, I’m right here to inform you in regards to the winners.

For the second yr, the competitors was held in The Ranch Saloon, an upscale and leisure spot from Berg Hospitality,  the locally-known restaurant group that features B&B Butchers, The Annie, Sofia Trattoria and extra. Regardless that it’s a brief institution in a tent solely operates throughout rodeo season, it impressively conveys the vibe of a fine-dining steakhouse because of hand-crafted furnishings and decor, and chic meals and drinks.

That wasn’t the one well-known title in the home. Houston-based rapper Bun B — additionally proprietor of Trill Burgers, which is quickly to turn into a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 3607 South Shepherd within the former James Coney Island spot — was among the many opponents, and gained high honors within the Greatest Basic Truthful Meals class. Trill Burgers could have had a lift from having a well-known proprietor, however the burgers, with correctly smashed patties, the perimeters of which sported a barely crisped texture, legitimately held their very own within the competitors.

On-line voting for the competitors started in January, narrowing every class right down to the highest three, that means there are much more scrumptious and imaginative choices than what’s listed right here to search out on the rodeo. Learn on for the award-winning dishes and the place to search out every.

Pickle Pizza on a Stick from Swain's Pizza on a Stick.
Pickle Pizza on a Stick from Swain’s Pizza on a Stick. Photograph by Ryan Baker.

The 2023 Gold Buckle Foodie Award Winners

Greatest Fried Meals

  • 1st: Deep Fried Cookie Dough – The Unique Minneapple Pie – CD202
  • 2nd: Deep Fried Lasagna Roll – Southern Fried Saloon – CD204
  • third: The Unique Rooster Tender Basket – Holmes Smokehouse – RP60

Greatest Meals-On-a-Stick

  • 1st: Pickle Pizza on a Stick – Swain’s Pizza on a Stick – J505
  • 2nd: Apple Pie Sweet Apple – Munch-oes Bakery – E6119
  • third: Huge Ok-Canine – Asian Streetness – AR604

Greatest Basic Truthful Meals

  • 1st: OG Trill Burgers – RP130
  • 2nd: Southern Fried Rooster Wings – Southern Fried Saloon – CD204
  • third: Ribeye Sandwich – Spring Nation Kitchen – J506
Deep Fried BLT from Texas-Sized Pizza, Burgers & Chili Shack at the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards.
Deep Fried BLT from Texas-Sized Pizza, Burgers & Chili Shack on the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards. Photograph by Ryan Baker.

Most Inventive Meals

  • 1st: Deep Fried BLT – Texas Sized Pizza/Burger & Chili Shack RP35
  • 2nd place Tie – Un-PHO-gettable Burger – Asian Streetness -AR604, and Rattlesnake Corn Canine – Pioneer Wagon – CD205

Greatest New Taste

  • 1st: Brad’s BBQ Sundae – Saltgrass Steak Home – L0063
  • 2nd: Viet Taco – Asian Streetness – AR604
  • third: Loaded Pork Stomach Fries – Blue Ribbon Grill – RP45

Deep Fried Bread Pudding from Cajun Cowboy at the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards.


  • 1st: Deep Fried Bread Pudding – Cajun Cowboy – RP55
  • 2nd: S’mores Pie – Finer Diner – RP47
  • third: The Final Minneapple Pie – The Unique Minneaple Pie – CD202
Events like these are not possible without the support of the volunteers and committee members.
Occasions like these usually are not attainable with out the assist of the pleasant volunteers and committee members. Photograph by Ryan Baker.

In being a returning choose, there have been excessive expectations for the meals, and the entire distributors delivered. The Deep Fried Bread Pudding, by Cajun Cowboy was a favourite across the desk. Tender, candy and sticky, the dessert was troublesome to cease consuming, even after 11 dishes. I’ll personally be returning to strive extra from Pizza on a Stick and the Deep Fried Lasagna Roll from Southern Fried Saloon, each of which proved gimmicky meals can nonetheless be scrumptious. Pickle-topped pizza was a rising pattern in 2022, and will be hit-or-miss. That being stated, Pizza on a Stick’s take was vibrant, balanced and really tacky, and practically each facet of the lasagna roll, from the Italian sausage to the sauce had a definite taste.

An enormous thanks to the entire improbable hosts, volunteers and distributors, who labored so diligently to make this occasion attainable, in addition to each facet of the Houston Rodeo. To additional discover all that the Rodeo has to supply, together with the place to search out the entire scrumptious delicacies, obtain the RODEOHOUSTON app.