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Rocky Mountain Oysters: Let’s talk about them.

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This culinary anomaly is a source of contempt for even the most adventurous eaters. Those who know what they are likely need to hold back a gag reflex whenever the term is brought up. Those who don’t are in for a rude awakening. Rocky mountain oysters have no relation to its namesake bivalve. Most often, rocky mountain oysters began life hanging down from the underside of a bull. They’re the testicles, folks.

Also known as lamb fries, bull fries and cowboy caviar, this testicular delicacy is popular in Colorado and other parts of the American southwest. Ranchers castrate young bulls, this makes the animal less likely to injure other animals or the rancher himself. The result is a big pile of gonads that would otherwise be put to waste.

To prepare them for frying, they are often, and there is no way for me to sugarcoat this, peeled, sliced and pounded thin before being breaded and deep fried. Smaller calves testicles can be fried whole.

For reasons that I cannot quite determine, these have been on my bucket list for a while. I did a comprehensive google search of New England restaurants that serve them, and I could find just one. The Hungry Buffalo in Loudon, NH is a tavern that’s known for carrying unique proteins. Venison burgers, fried alligator bites, roasted quail; all are available.

Image Credit: Nicholas VonSchantz-Ricci

The breading, while not audibly crisp, still had a nice bit of crunch, which contrasts nicely with the tender and meaty interior. Also, the slices are rather small, making them very popable. They work really well as a pre-meal snack for a group of people.

It may be hard to believe, but the texture of rocky mountain oysters is a selling point. Therefore, they earn an 8/10.


In addition to the deep-fry treatment, rocky mountain oysters can be grilled or sautéed. However, these methods are harder to find and frying them is the preferred cooking technique if you want to try to forget what you’re eating.

The small strips that I ate at Hungry Buffalo would work tremendously piled onto a baguette with lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo. A Po-bollick, if you will.

If you do opt for a healthier coking method, then rocky mountain oysters can be part of a healthy diet. According to Thrillist, gonads are a good source of protein and many vitamins and minerals.

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Image Credit: Nicholas VonSchantz-Ricci

Still, they’re hard to find raw and any way besides deep-fried, especially in this part of the country. Versatility gets a 6.5/10.

Overall Enjoyment

There was nothing particularly off-putting about these testicles. Actually mustering up the bravery to try them is the main hurdle, but once said hurdle has been cleared, you’ll be left with a tasty eating experience and bragging rights.

The key to enjoying these is simply not thinking about what it is you’re eating. Conversely, you can just accept that buffalo balls are delicious and move on.

The folks at Hungry Buffalo do a nice job with this organ. It may sound nuts, but a buffalo’s nuts make for some good eating if you give them a chance. Alright, that was the last testicle joke. We’re done here. 7.5/10

Total Score: 29/40