Ask a county fair fan when exactly a fair's most important moment falls, regarding big food reveals, and they'll likely say that the weeks before the event are the most newsworthy.
And while the June run-up to the OC Fair's July start did stoke many taste buds, an appetizing announcement after the fair is tempting food fans, too. It's the pick for Top OC Fair Food Item, a selection made by a cadre of in-the-business pros.
The 2015 winner is The Bam Dog. Made by Pink's -- you might have guessed that -- with an inspiration in chef Emeril Lagasse -- you probably guessed that, too -- The Bam Dog beat out a number of culinary competitors, including fried treats, sweet goodies, and other hearty, main-meal-esque fare.
What to do, where to go and what to see
The pros waded through 78 entries in all and the big announcement arrived just days after the fair's July 17 opening.
Waded deliciously and with an adventurous spirit, we imagine.
So what's found atop the nine-inch Bam Dog? Well, a little spice, as befits Mr. Lagasse's personal palate. A little cold 'n crunchy, for tone and depth.
And bacon. Because always, bacon. To the ends of time, bacon. Bacon.
The actual, non-food-writer-y descriptions for what's on the dog include bacon, cole slaw, jalapenos, cheese, mustard, and onions. As for the food pros who crowned the hot dog with 2015's top honor? They include chefs, a food scribe, and a food educator.
And can the public buy it and let their mouth be the judge? They can, all fair long, at the Pink's Hot Dogs booth, which can be found in the Centennial Farms area of the OC Fair & Events Center.
This isn't a dish that's been around at the fair for decades, if you're curious (though some have been, which is no surprise, since the OC Fair turned 125 this year). The Bam Dog only made its fair debut in 2014.
As for other on-a-stick, wrapped-in-foil, in-a-cone delicacies that got the pros' grateful nods? The Pineapple Spinach Agua Fresca at Backyard BBQ and the Fireball Whisky Caramel Donut at Texas Donuts were two other favorites among the 78 juicy/salty/doughy/delish participants.