Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival Considered ‘Best of the South’

A writer for the Oxford American samples calf fries at Throckmorton's Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival for the magazine.
Tue June 5, 2012 3:16 am
Flickr | mtneer_man

Throckmorton's annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival , a weekend devoted to devouring bull testicles, is the subject of a three-page story in Oxford American 's 'Best of the South' issue

Writer Jesse Donaldson seemed pleasantly surprised by the inoffensive taste of the festival's signature dish—also known as "prairie oysters, tendergroins, cowboy caviar, swinging beef, criadillas, buevos de toro , and—the preferred Texan term—calf fries." (Hungry yet? Because in 2010, TEXAS MONTHLY 's Jordan Breal wrote that eating calf fries is a "seminal challenge for any Texan, a way to honor the 'waste not, want not, fry everything' machismo of our cowboy heritage.")

Here was Donaldson's take on the dish:

Calf fries are about the size of a cracker. The meat was surprisingly mellow, almost bland, and not spongy as I had expected. It tasted mainly like batter. When I finished, everyone looked to me for a verdict, so I grabbed a second before saying anything, figuring balls are best eaten in pairs.

Donaldson, a Michener Center grad and former groundskeeper for the Houston Astros, even offers up a recipe for bull testicles: "I am told cooking testicles doesn't require great skill. Each cook follows the same basic recipe: Take cleaned testicles, dunk in buttermilk and egg, coat using a brown paper bag filled with spiced cornmeal or flour, and drop in hot oil."

The festival "is the brainchild of two men whose names seem plucked from a grade-school reader. Jack Fauntleroy is tall, as tall as Mack Pirtle is round, and you rarely hear someone mentioning Jack without mentioning Mack." For the past ten years, Mack and Jack have organized the festival, held in the town of 800 every May. "What Mack and Jack have given Throckmorton is a reason to celebrate being the sort of town that doesn't gussy itself up for tourists."

Friday night, before the testicle-eating gets into full swing, features the festival's "Taste Like Chicken" contest, at which Donaldson sampled a slate of strange meats, including frog, antelope, dove, and a Sandhill Crane. (In previous years , entries have included armadillo.)

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