Known as much for its belt-busting, mega-sized food creations as it is for classic rodeo events like bull riding and team roping, a main attraction of The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is its seriously over-the-top dining option.
Planning a visit before the rodeo wraps on March 17th? Whether you go for the concerts, the competitions, or the carnival, grabbing a bite at Rodeo Houston is an essential part of the experience. From unicorn shakes to stuffed potatoes and fried desserts, these seven dishes are definitely worth the coin.
Massive, tender turkey legs
To see these succulent, smoky turkey legs is to want them. The mahogany-colored, Flintstone-sized offerings are a Rodeo Houston classic, and on the list of the many things that any true Houstonian should try before the day. Seek out the spicy turkey leg from RCS Carnival, or get seriously decadent with a dirty rice stuffed turkey leg from Harlon’s BBQ.
Anything topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Taking home the first prize for Best Classic Fair Food at this year’s Golden Buckle Foodie Awards, the Hot Country Cheeto Cotton Candy from RCS Midway. It’s a perfect contrast of textures — sweet sugar floss paired with crispy-crunchy-spicy Flamin’ Hots — that’s much less ridiculous than it sounds. Not a fan of cotton candy? Try the Flamin’ Cheetos & Cheese Corn On The Cob, Flamin’ Cheetos Caramel Apple, and a truly giant cone of curly fries topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
A literal bucket of nachos
This year, one of the hottest new food offerings is the the Texas Bucket of Nachos from the Texas Tater Twister stand. Tortilla chips shaped like the state of Texas are fully loaded with queso, cream cheese, brisket pico de gallo.
Corn dogs, of course
Extra-long and regular-sized, the cornmeal-battered sausage on a stick known as the corn dog is a must-have come Rodeo season. Try the classic version, available throughout the venue, or check out RCS Carnival’s latest creation, the extra long Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Corndog, a 12-inch creation big enough to feed two or three.
Instagrammable Unicorn Floats
Unicorn desserts are everywhere this year, and the Rodeo is no exception. Ringing in at $8, the Instagram-friendly beverage is a vision of blue and pink, topped with cotton candy, rainbow-colored candy sticks, whipped cream, and rainbow sprinkles.
Meat-laden baked potatoes
The typical baked potato might come stuffed with sour cream and bacon and chives. But order one at the Houston Rodeo, and it’s going to be piled high with brisket cubes, or, in the case of Harlon’s BBQ, smothered in meat. Called the “All Meat Potato,” this hulking baked potato is topped with sausage, turkey, pulled brisket, a pork rib, cheese, jalapeños and gravy.
“Smoky” nitrogen-frozen desserts
Icy cold and super smoky, the frozen treats make with liquid nitrogen are a hit with kids and adults alike. Score nitro-filled churros that send “smoke” billowing from the nose after one bite, or dig into the Dole Whip Taco, a picture perfect green dessert taco filled with frozen pineapple Dole Whip, topped with festive paper Tiki umbrella.
Disclaimer: Mai Pham served as a judge for the 2019 Golden Buckle Foodie Awards at Rodeo Houston.