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Big 12 Eats rankings: Part three

Jacob Rice
Keshon Gilbert holds his MOP belt after the men’s basketball Big 12 Championship game against Houston, T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, March 16, 2024.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Big 12 Eats offers food selections for every school in the conference at the Big 12 Tournament. The wide variety of options gives fans plenty of choices during both five-day events.

With all that in mind, some schools’ themed foods hit the ball out of the park while others fall flat. It was my goal to find the best food from the Big 12 Eats menu.

If you have not checked out part two, I rounded out the middle of the pack foods from the Big 12 Eats menu. Now it is time to find out who the top dogs are, as we take a look at the top-five foods from the menu:

5. Cowtown Loaded Tots: 7/10

Cowtown Loaded Tots. T-Mobile Center. Kansas City, Missouri. March 15, 2024. (Christian Royston)

The presentation is the only thing knocking the loaded tots. At first glance, the purple squirt of sour cream does not look amazing, as it has a sort of paint texture and look. I like the idea of using purple to represent TCU, but it feels weird to ingest something of that color.

Despite the look, they knocked it out of the park with the taste. I may be biased toward tater tots, as it does have similar flavors to tater tot casserole, but it is still good. It almost feels like the fillings of the Shasta Brisket Tacos were mixed in with tater tots and cheese with a drizzle of sour cream on top.

When it comes down to it, the Cowtown Loaded Tots have a lot of flavor compared to other items on the Big 12 Eats menu and definitely hit the spot, especially if you are a fan of tater tots.

4. Powercat PB&J: 7/10

Powercat PB&J. T-Mobile Center. Kansas City, Missouri. March 15, 2024. (Christian Royston)

This dish set the standard for what defines a great food. I had to put aside the rivalry with Kansas State for a second with this one as I had to give it its due. The Powercat PB&J was amazing.

It is pretty much a fried Uncrustable dusted with powdered sugar, but it works perfectly. The PB&J filling has a solid flavor. However, it is the outside that is the star of the show. The bread has a light and airy texture to it and the powdered sugar adds to the sweetness of the snack.

Overall, the Powercat PB&J does not do anything bad. It is a bit rich, so it is tough to finish all four slices, but it is a perfect dessert dish and a good change of pace from all the savory dishes on the menu.

3. Cosmo’s Churros: 7.5/10

Cosmo’s Churros. T-Mobile Center. Kansas City, Missouri. March 15, 2024. (Christian Royston)

If you are looking for a great dessert option, this would be it. The Cosmo’s Churros add a good balance of sweet and nutty flavor while also being a solid amount of food for the price.

The nuts and chocolate chips on top add a crunch to what would be just a chewy dessert. The caramel filling also adds more complexity to the dessert. All of that topped with icing really brings it together.

The Cosmo’s Churros do what they are intended to—provide a rich and sweet switch up from the other dishes—so that is why it earned a 7.5. The slight over-doughiness of the churros is the only knock that is keeping it from an 8.0 or better.

2. Big Bertha Loaded Baked Potato: 8/10

Big Bertha Loaded Baked Potato. T-Mobile Center. Kansas City, Missouri. March 15, 2024 (Christian Royston)

Coming in at No. 2 is none other than Texas’ Big Bertha Loaded Baked Potato. This one was a surprise to me.

I’ll be honest, I hate baked potatoes. They just don’t do it for me. But there was something different about this one.

If you have noticed a trend, combinations of flavors and a medley of ingredients are what I love. This loaded baked potato did its job filling those boxes. Although the potato itself could have been cooked a little better, which is why it did not top a 9.0 rating, the amount of toppings are what did it for me.

The baked potato is loaded to the brim with juicy brisket, cheese, sour cream, barbeque sauce and green onions. The brisket has good enough flavor by itself, but add that with the tang and slight heat of the barbeque sauce and it is perfect. The green onions on top add a much-needed crunch, too.

All in all, the overload of flavors is what helps the Big Bertha knock it out of the park.

1. Big Jay’s Loaded Mac & Cheese: 8.5/10

Big Jay’s Loaded Mac & Cheese. T-Mobile Center. Kansas City, Missouri. March 15, 2024. (Christian Royston)

By far the best item we ate off the Big 12 Eats menu was Kansas’ Big Jay’s Loaded Mac & Cheese. I love mac & cheese as it is, and Big Jay did the dish justice.

The Cavatappi noodles are a good container for all the cheese and juicy flavors going on. The brisket was cooked to perfection, and the barbeque sauce again added to the flavors. The thing that pushed the dish above the rest was the addition of red pepper flakes.

The small detail is a big game-changer, as the dish has a good amount of heat mixed in with the tang of the barbeque sauce and the cheesy gooeyness going on with the mac & cheese. I had high expectations going into this item, and it blew them away.

Although 8.5 may not seem like a near-perfect rating, it is way higher than I thought I would give to stadium food. If they bring the Big 12 Eats menu back and this item is available, I will be going back for seconds, and I recommend everyone give it a taste.

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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