Try Denver's Rocky Mountain Oysters, If You Got The Balls

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 10, 2006



O.K., men, this one's gonna hurt. Get ready.  

We were trying to dig up a Denver specialty, and we couldn't resist grabbing a set of Rocky Mountain oysters. They're also known as prairie oysters. And, of course, the mountains and the prairie are nowhere near the ocean. So as you might have concluded, there are no oysters in these dishes.  

Oysters in this instance are a euphemism for, well, testicles. Rocky Mountain oysters are generally made with bison testicles. Prairie oysters can be made with bull testicles.  

We had to learn more, so we called The Fort, a landmark Denver restaurant where Rocky Mountain oysters are one of the specialties.  

They're quite easy to make and, if you have the cojones, you can whip up this dish at home or on the back of your truck any time Denver is in town – or any time you're in Denver.   Assuming your local Piggly-Wiggly doesn't offer a full selection of mammal testicles, you can call The Fort. They have a mail-order company and will ship a big set of testicles to you. You may be able to get them at your local butcher, too, if you ask real nice.  

Rocky Mountain oysters with chile dipping sauce  

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups red chile sauce (such as that used for enchiladas)
  • 2 cups hot mango chutney, such as Major Grey's
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard seed

Mix all the ingredients and chill for at least several hours to give the flavors a chance to mellow and mingle. Makes 4½ cups.

For the Rocky Mountain oysters:

  • 12 bison testicles
  • 1 quart peanut oil
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Heat the oil to 325 degrees. Cut and peel the skin away from the testicles with a sharp peeling knife. They will peel and slice much more easily if they are slightly frozen.    Wash the testicles. Cut them into 1-inch pieces (we dare you not to grimace). Combine the flour, black pepper, cayenne, and seasoned salt, and roll the pieces in this mixture. Fry in the peanut oil for 3 minutes, until a light crust forms. Dredge on a paper towel, skewer each piece with a toothpick, and serve with the sweet chile sauce on the side. If cooking at home, keep the oysters warm in a 200 degree oven. Serves six as an appetizer or two as an entrée.


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