October 5 (today!) is Rocky Mountain Oyster Day, both a celebration of the unique delicacy (we’ll get to that in a moment) and a wry commentary on the proliferation of national food recognition days: The Denver Post reporter Allyson Reedy essentially made the idea up earlier this year and had a food calendar guru acknowledge it as a regional holiday in Colorado. Since we can’t let this occasion pass without comment, take a look at some quick facts about this acquired taste.
1. IT’S REALLY BULL TESTICLES DAY.
“Rocky Mountain Oyster” is a bit of misdirection, as the delicacy is actually not an oyster at all, but testicles from sheep, bulls, or pigs that can be prepared in a variety of ways. (Breaded and fried might be the most popular.) Why the oysters label? Because testicles are rather slimy when raw. And probably don't sound as tempting when written on a menu.
2. AT LEAST ONE COLORADO RESTAURANT IS DEVOTED TO THEM.
Eating “tendergroin” is less taboo in the west, where a variety of “nut festivals” have sprung up. For year-round enjoyment, Bruce’s Bar in Severance, Colorado has carved out a niche as the premier place to try a plate. Cartoon bulls dot the exterior, some of which are crossing their legs in mock distress. Their slogan? “Come to Bruce’s and have a ball.”
3. THEY TASTE LIKE CHICKEN.
Local public radio affiliate KUNC dispatched reporter Luke Runyon to try the oysters for the first time in 2016. He went to Bruce’s and tried a sampler of bison, lamb, and beef. Declaring them “surprisingly juicy,” he thought the bison tasted liked chicken but that the beef was “full of a unique flavor.”
4. YOU CAN GET THEM AT MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAMES.
In Colorado, at least. Among the concessions at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, are Rocky Mountain oysters. The balls have been declared the “Dodger Dog” of Colorado.
5. THERE’S AN EATING CONTEST FOR THEM.
Since 1982, Clinton, Montana has been home to the Testy Fest, a ribald party featuring wet clothes contests (for both men and women) and, more notably, a testicle eating contest. The defending champion is Matt Powers, the festival’s founder, who is said to have lost only a handful of times in over a decade of competition. In 2015, Vice reported he polished off over two pounds of testes in under four minutes.