Ballpark chefs are trying to kill you. What else could you take away from the unveiling of the latest piles of fried dough, smoked meat and sugar that are going to lodge uncomfortably in your stomach the next time you go to a major league game? The new options for 2018 are bigger, fatter, greasier—so which stand out the most? Grab some bicarb; here are the five most gluttonous concoctions clogging an artery near you.
Coors Field (Rockies): Rocky Mountain Po’ Boy
What is it?: Rocky Mountain oysters topped with garlic slaw, guacamole, green chili ranch, pico de gallo and cotija cheese on a po’ boy roll
Let’s get this out of the way now: Rocky Mountain oysters are bull testicles. If you can get past that bit of regional culinary weirdness, you’ll find what sounds like a pretty good time.
Rogers Centre (Blue Jays): Log Cabin Waffle Sandwich
What is it?: Rosemary-scented waffles stuffed with pulled pork, cheese curds and maple baked beans, topped with molé sauce
Take pulled pork (quintessentially American), add maple syrup and cheese curds (Canadian, French Canadian) and then top it all with molé (Mexican), and what do you get? A tribute to NAFTA even Donald Trump could get behind.
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Suntrust Park (Braves): Spec-tater
What is it?: Jumbo potato stuffed with jalapeño cheddar sausage, wrapped in bacon, smoked, and topped with cheese, cream, scallions and jalapeños]
Ballpark food nowadays is an exercise in excess, in which chefs go to great lengths to put as many starches and meats into a dish as humanly possible. The Spec-Tater represents man’s zenith in this regard, and maybe also his nadir. There is nothing creative about potatoes and sausage and bacon smashed together into what looks like a deep-fried croissant, but you also have to respect the sheer will that brought us here. Take it or leave it, America.
Globe Life Park (Rangers): Ham fries
What is it?: Deep-fried ham
There are other options on Texas’s menu that are more eye-popping, such as the Triple B, a sandwich made of brisket, bacon and bologna (tagline: single-handedly raising health insurance premiums across the country) or the Dilly Dog (the curious marriage of a pickle and a corn dog, creating the Turducken of hypertension). But there’s something about ham fries—as a concept, as a name, as a thing a person would willingly eat—that resonates deeply in a nation in which food has become a competition. Imagine a boardroom full of people tasked with imagining lunatic food in a landscape already cluttered with three-foot-long hot dogs and burgers that weigh as much as a bear cub, and finally, after hours of trying to make brisket a drink, an exhausted ad executive just blurts out, “What if ham, but fries?” I’m not saying that’s how we got here, but it makes the most sense, doesn’t it? Ham, but fries: The Rangers invite you to consume the logical conclusion of ballpark food.
PNC Park (Pirates): Pulled Pork Pierogi Hoagie
What is it?: Pulled pork, potato and cheese pierogi topped with crispy onions on a hoagie bun.
It’s like, how much more Pittsburgh could it get? The answer is none—none more, Yinzer. At least, it’s hard to imagine anything being more representative of the Steel City than a pierogi and pork sandwich. Unless maybe you add fries to it.