Monday, August 10, 2009
PETA will probably write me an angry email for this one...
Dear Tricia, We were at a Colorado Rockies game and the couple that sat next to us asked what they need to eat at Coors Field. My boyfriend said the brats are good and the famous food at the stadium used to be rocky mountain oysters. They said "Oysters? Weird." I then realized they thought it was weird because we are landlocked, so I asked if they knew what rocky mountain oysters were. After explanation, I want to know if it really was the food known to the stadium and how they were/are served?
*Warning! This entry is not meant for the faint of heart. If you have bad vision and can't read a computer screen very well, then this is one meant for you.*
Hmmmm. Well, how do I begin this one without grossing everyone out? Aw, screw it, I've never been one to be bashful on my blog. Get ready readers, if you don't know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are, we're talking about cow balls. Yessirree, the testicles of male cows, better known as Bulls. Bull balls. Balls. Balls. Balls. Swinging sirloins. Some claim that Rocky Mountain Oysters are balls from bison, and Prairie Oysters are from the bull. But they can also come from sheep or boars.
Now that you've gotten over the initial shock and possible disturbing mental image, lets get to the schooling on serving bull balls, also known as "tendergroin," "calf fries," and "prairie oysters." Bulls that aren't meant for breeding are often castrated when they're calves because it makes them less aggressive and a little meatier for when its time to go "out to pasture." I know that sounds horribly sadistic, but that's what also happens to your dog when he gets neutered. Their little family jewels get removed so that their behavior is less aggressive. Simple as that.
The history behind Rocky Mountain Oysters isn't cut and dry, which is understandable because I don't think that's something Encyclopedia Britannica really wanted to dive into. (Although its a lot more interesting than reading about the history of the flashlight) It seems that ranch cooks used to always be on the lookout for new sources of food, and bull cajones were yet another part of the cow that they didn't want to let go to waste. Stop grimacing... this is something that tribes all over the world since the dawn of time have been practicing. Letting any part of an animal meant for food to go to waste was blasphemous, especially when it came to trying to make it through a cold winter. So, balls it was. Testicles are technically defined as an "offal," which the dictionary defines as "by product or waste from a process," but in the culinary world, it means the internal organ, rather than the meat or bones. Many countries, including our very own, classify some offals, such as liver and kidneys as a delicacy. Bull nads fall in this same category: something to remember if you order the offal tasting at an expensive French restaurant.
But lets get to your precious Rocky Mountain Oysters. RMO's are almost always served fried. The testicle is sliced (ouch) into smaller pieces, dredged in flour and spices, and deep fried. Served with dipping sauce, the flavor is supposed to be pretty neutral, but reminiscent of liver. According to Tom Green, they taste like "fried cowlamari." If you decide to make your very own bull nuts at home , you should be able to special order them from your butcher, especially if you live in Colorado, Montana, or anywhere closer to the Rockies. Most likely, they will be come frozen. While they're still frozen, slice and peel away the muscle around the testicle. What's left is what you will slice, season, and fry. One recipe I found was written by someone who swears by marinating the slices in beer first.
As far as Coors Field being known for this ballpark delicacy, that's absolutely true. After looking up different football and baseball stadiums, it seems everyone has their own style of hot dog and sausage, but yours is the only place that proudly serves up Rocky Mountain Oysters, about 40-50 orders a game, according to one Coors Field representative.
Moving on to something else interesting that I found: in Montana, they have Testicle Festivals every summer, and not just one... you have your pick of a handful. Here, people can drink copious amounts of beer (I'm in), enter Rocky Mountain Oyster cook offs (I'm out), watch Hairy Chest competitions (I'm in), and eat plenty fried bull testes (I'm out.) Seriously, go check it out: www.testyfesty.com Apparently, it's a ball.