If you’ve never had a Rocky Mountain Oyster, do yourself a favor and catch the next train anywhere West, where you can find bulls’ balls on the menus of the self-respecting roadhouses west of the 100th meridian. And they’re not just there for novelty, though it does constitute high fun out here to pass them off on an unsuspecting City Mouse.
To catch up the uncultured, a Rocky Mountain or Prairie Oyster (a.k.a. calf fry, a.k.a. the original “sack lunch”) is a bull’s (or sheep’s) testicle skinned, sliced, pounded (ouch!), and deep-fried. Usually served with cocktail sauce, a nut is a great appetizer while you’re waiting for Cookie to slap your cow on the hind end and send her to you on a plate garnished with a candied apple ring.
Here on the High Plains of the Panhandle there are two places to get a pretty good nut. The best are served but once a year when the local volunteer fire department packs the basement of the Community Hall with people from around the county who gather for all-you-can-eat Rocky Mountain Oysters. They call it the Stag Feed, though I think Steer Feed would be a bit more appropriate.
For a tasty testicle the other 363 days of the year (they’re closed on Christmas), I usually head to the Silver Dollar Bar, which has an un-ironic Longhorn head hanging on the smoke-stained wall and men’s room graffiti calling out those who trailer their Harley’s to Sturgis. The red-headed barmaid calls you, and everyone, honey, and Gary Jr., the current owner and son of previous owner Gary Sr., will send you a shot of tequila if he sees your face across the bar often enough.
I found myself across the bar last weekend, sitting under the Longhorn with a few friends catching up on how our hunting seasons have gone. We were making a night of it and, knowing the necessity of a good base, ordering appropriately. I was tempted by the Friday Special (a famous Dollar Burger smothered in Swiss cheese and mushrooms) or my usual Dollar dinner (a slab of prime rib sandwiched between two slices of toasted white bread). But, I went with a basket of Rocky Mountain Oysters instead, as did three out of the four guys at the table with me.
As I was working my way through a particularly tough nut (there’s one in every bunch, I swear), I got to thinking about all those deer, elk, and caribou cajones I’ve left laying out there un-eaten. But maybe I’m missing out. What do you think? Any experience with what would be a real Rocky Mountain Oyster? I’m anxious to hear if someone’s tried to make elk or deer fries. Or would the offal be too awful on a rank, rutting buck or bull to even consider it?