Rocky Mountain oysters, sometimes called prairie oysters or calf fries, are actually bull testicles. The dish is common in the southwest and west where cattle are raised and can be found at different festivals, bars and restaurants. Baseball fans can partake of the Denver delicacy at Coors Field during the Colorado Rockies baseball games. Fans of the specialty cuisine can also find the “oysters” for sale as a specialty item in various markets and restaurants in the Denver area.
The Buckhorn Exchange also serves Rocky Mountain oysters as a house specialty. This historic restaurant, located at 10th and Osage streets in Denver, has been in business since 1893. For more information on the restaurant, or to make reservations, call 303-534-9505. You can also visit the website at http://buckhornexchange.com/
Spinelli’s Market, at 4621 E 23rd Avenue in Denver also sells Rocky Mountain oysters. Spinelli’s is a “mom and pop” grocery store that carries mostly specialty items and Italian food. For more information on the market, call 303-329-8143 or go to their website at http://www.spinellismarket.com. Spinelli’s is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 7, Saturday from 8 to 6 and Sunday from 9 to 3.
The Fort, an award winning local restaurant in Denver, also serves Rocky Mountain oysters. The Fort restaurant is also a member of the “Colorado Proud Program”. Members of this program are dedicated to promoting and serving high quality Colorado agricultural products at their eating establishments. Reservations to the restaurant can be made by calling 303-697-4711. The Fort opens for business Monday through Friday at 5:30pm and Saturday and Sunday at 5pm.
How exactly is the dish made? Traditionally, Rocky Mountain oysters are made by first peeling the fresh bull testicles. After that, they are pounded flat with a mallet and seasoned with a variety of spices including black pepper, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper. The type of spices and the amounts used depend of personal taste. The testicles are then breaded with flour and then either deep-fried or pan fried in oil. Since the finished product resembles fried oysters, the fried bull’s testicles are often called oysters. Some people claim that this has nothing to do with the name but rather the word “oyster” is a joke due to the fact that Colorado is no where near the ocean.
Although fresh bull’s testicles can be typically purchased in specialty shops for those that wish to partake of the delicacy at home, cooks recommend purchasing frozen, peeled testicles at a grocery store in order to simplify the cooking process. Cutting the frozen oysters into thin slices instead of pounding them flat also helps to simplify the cooking process. The slices can then be seasoned and fried.
Fans of Rocky Mountain oysters claim that the dish tastes like liver when properly prepared. Others simply claim the dish tastes like—chicken! This dish, most often served as an appetizer, is best when eaten with a dipping sauce. One thing is for sure, eating Rocky Mountain oysters is a Denver tradition; one that will earn you bragging rights for sure.