For the first time in its 79-year history, the newest dish from Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs requires a fork.
You’ll need that fork — plus two hands and a bunch of napkins — to eat their new Dallas Hot Bird Dog at the State Fair of Texas. It’s a smoked turkey hot dog, battered and fried, then split open, topped with mac and cheese, sprinkled with fried jalapeños, and drizzled with Cholula hot sauce.
The dish marks several firsts for the Fletcher family: It’s the first time they’ve altered their secret-recipe cornmeal batter, making it spicier to match the heat from the jalapeños.
It’s also the first time the Fletcher family bought utensils for the fair; all their other corny dogs come on sticks.
And, 2021 was the first time the Fletchers entered the Big Tex Choice Awards, a food competition leading up to the State Fair of Texas each year. The Fletcher family didn’t win, but Dallas Hot was named a semifinalist. They entered the contest as a challenge — a way to come back with a bang after the State Fair was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
For 62 years, Fletcher’s booths at the State Fair of Texas sold the original corny dog only. It’s the family’s hallmark, made with a top-secret batter created by founding brothers Neil and Carl Fletcher. In 2004, a younger generation of the Fletcher family added a jalapeño-cheese corny dog to the menu. They waited until 2011 to add a third item, a turkey corny dog called the Bird Dog. Then came a veggie dog in 2015 and the Cheezy Pup — a fried stick of American cheese, on a stick — in 2018.
The Dallas Hot is the biggest leap the family has taken yet: It requires their staff to make batches of mac and cheese, then fry a second item, jalapeños.
CEO Aaron Fletcher says it’s a “new and interesting dish” that still uses the corny dog as its star. It was his sister Amber Fletcher’s idea to cut the corny dog nearly in half and stuff mac and cheese inside, allowing the fried exterior to act like a hot dog bun.
The Dallas Hot will be sold at just one of the seven Fletcher’s concession stands, on the Thrillway, northeast of the Midway.
The company is also selling a new corny dog in 2021 called Make Mine Texan, a brisket-beef corny dog.
All corny dogs cost $6 to $8 at the State Fair of Texas. The Dallas Hot Bird Dog costs $10.
The State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 17, 2021.