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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – Deep Fried Cheeseburger
Mar 15th, 2010 by Joemoney

Chicken Charlies
http://www.chickencharlies.com

Ropin’ and Ridin’!!!!

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a big deal around here. Being from Louisiana my experience with rodeos was somewhat limited to small 4h type events. For the HLSR the entire Reliant Center is used for three weeks to host a BBQ competition, a carnival, livestock auctions, championship rodeo events, and every night there is a concert with some pretty big names in country and pop music. To kick off the rodeo a parade of cowboys and covered wagons rides from downtown all the way to Reliant Center. I’ve lived in Houston for four years and had not had the chance to go to this gigantic ode to all things Texan until last week. A friend of mine at work had some extra tickets that he wasn’t going to be using and gave them to me. Excited for the chance to finally see what all the fuss is about, I rounded up my wife and my parents who were in town visiting. We got to ride Houston’s light rail (which for 49 weeks out of the year is almost completely pointless) which drops you off right at the front gates of the rodeo.

Immediately we were met with a barrage of food, cowboy hats, boots, and animals! The rodeo is known for its wide array of deep fried novelties. From deep fried Oreos to chicken fried bacon to funnel cakes to fried Coca Cola (it’s true), you can get almost any artery clogging fix you can imagine. I had heard from a friend that there was a place that was offering a deep fried cheeseburger. That’s right, an entire cheeseburger that is battered and fried in grease. Sound delicious? Not really. Did I want to try it? Absolutely! We walked around for about an hour in search of this deep fried white whale only to find deep fried everything else but the burger. Finally I asked someone at the info station if he could tell me where I could find it. He didn’t know so he called it in over their radio. After some staticky chatter the name “Chicken Charlie’s” came through. So off we went. When we rounded the corner, leaving the main thoroughfare of food establishments, we entered a realm of carnival stands. These are basically dolled up trailers that sell food. After an hour of searching for the deep fried cheeseburger we finally found Chicken Charlie’s. I had to admit, I was getting nervous.

Houston, We Have a Problem: Deep Fried Disaster!-

There in the window, among images of deep fried avocados and corn dogs was the sign “Totally Fried White Castle” – $4.95. This is it. Apparently they are using the frozen White Castle burgers you can buy at the grocery store. No matter. After all of this anticipation I still wanted to try it. I waited in line and much to the chagrin of my wife, was finally able to place my order, “One deep fried cheeseburger, please”. The girl asked if I wanted anything to drink. “I better get a bottled water”, I responded. The wait was like watching a parade of fried foods. Plate after plate of deep fried everything was being passed through the window to rodeo goers. Finally, my plate came through. What I saw resembled a biscuit covered in fried chicken breading sitting on top of some rather weak looking fries. Loaded with a few small cups of ketchup, I found a spot to sit and dove in.

Upon my first bite I realized why no one else is selling deep fried burger… The bun retained an amazing amount of the grease. This was by far one of the worst things I’ve ever tried to eat. I quickly gulped down half of my water. The only way to get the greasy taste out of my mouth was to eat as much ketchup and fries as possible. My wife just shook her head not needing to say “I told you so”. In spite of my initial horror with this abomination… I tried another bite. Again, terrible. So only two bites in, I gave up. This was such a fantastically terrible burger experience that I had to document it.

The Wrap it up –

Folks, the rodeo was a lot of fun. This burger, although disgusting, was a fun quest. After the absolute failure of filling up on deep fried Burger Tyme, we headed back into the main area and had some good barbecue, fresh potato chips, and funnel cake. I also picked up a huge bag of my personal favorite, Fresh Popped Kettle Corn! This was a great experience that I was glad to be able to bring my family to and I would not hesitate to go back to again.

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