State Fair on a stick

Among the Wisconsin State Fair’s new and most exotic menu items is Apollo Gyros’ deluxe deep-fried bacon-wrapped cheddar hot dog on a stick. Inventor Dan Graf came up with the combo exclusively for the fair.

Graf, who has worked as a cook and bartender for Apollo Gyros at the fair for the past four years, said the idea struck him while he was watching the Food Channel late one night in February 2010. As he watched cooks grill a bacon-wrapped hot dog on a flat-top grill, he thought he would take their creation one step further.
“I decided to take it from there to put it on a stick – because everything’s on a stick at the fair – and put it in a deep-fryer and see if it would work, and it did,” Graf said.
Graf immediately called Apollo Gyros’ owner Harry Boebel.
“He sat there on the phone for like maybe ten seconds, and then he goes, ‘Let’s do it,’” Graf said.
Apollo Gyros first served Graf’s original deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dog on a stick last year. This year, the cooks added cheddar cheese.
“It’s kind of a Wisconsin thing,” Graf said.
To make the deluxe menu item, Graf puts a piece of bacon on a wooden spear, sticks a whole hot dog already stuffed with cheese over the top of the spear and wraps the bacon around the hot dog to secure it. He then puts the meat right into the deep fryer.
Graf said the deluxe hot dog has been a top seller for Apollo Gyros this year and has received a lot of praise from fairgoers.
“Everybody likes hot dogs with bacon, so you can’t go wrong,” Graf said.
How will he turn his culinary creation up another notch next year?
“We’re probably going to [add] a jalapeno next year,” Graf said.
The State Fair continues through Sunday, Aug. 12. For a schedule of events and listing of food vendors, visit

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