This week: Calf Fries served up by Stockyards Restaurant.
The Ick Factor: Animal fries (not of the In-N-Out variety) are a slang term for testicles, the offal byproduct of many a castration at farms. Rather than just tossing these walnut-sized calf testes, somewhere along the line crazy cow pokes decided they looked like pretty good eats. It's not just limited to cows, with lamb fries, pig fries, and rooster fries all describing a different sort of "egg" that has been removed from the scrotum and prepared for consumption, be it deep fried, thin sliced, or in a light demi glace.
There's one constant between all of these "fries," and that's the need for a euphemism. So if you're ever looking to pull a fast on an unsuspecting (soon to be former?) friend, rustle up an order of extra special "animal fries," also known as Rocky Mountain oysters, prairie oysters, Montana tendergroin, or swinging beef. Mmm, good eats.
(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: Calf fries served up by Stockyards Restaurant, a steakhouse replete with classic Arizona memorabilia and quaint cowboy charm. Our calf fries were battered and deep fried, served with a wedge of lemon and cocktail sauce for dipping.
Tastes Just Like: Beefy, mild liver meatballs. Above anything, they taste fried. It's a scientific fact that deep frying anything improves its flavor and edibility. Just ask the experts charged with creating new and
repulsive exotic fair food like deep-fried butter.
Aside from the outstanding taste of grease and breading, the calf fries had a mild beefy flavor and a slightly musky aftertaste. Go figure. The musky flavor was reminiscent of the general animal funk that accompanies a big old platter of organ meat, like beef liver. But since these "fries" come from calves instead of virile bulls, it was much milder and not at all off putting.
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The texture of the calf fries was a bit on the springy side, but still maintained a meaty bite. Although, after several chews they had a tendency to become a little mealy, similar to how liver begins to break down. Thankfully they were by no means as dry and powdery as a huge hunk of leathery old cow liver.
You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: Testicles are delicate. Go ahead and ask around. So you don't want to manhandle your huevos del toro, and try not to overcook them. There's nothing worse than a busted nut or a rubbery testicle. Words to live by.
Always been a DIY-er? If you're looking to become the mad scientist equivalent of a kitchen guru, find some testicles, remove the membranous outer sheath (we cringed a bit typing that) and try out a recipe for deep-fried prairie oysters. Just think of them as a homemade aphrodisiac.
Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.