Get a load of this bull: Sink your teeth into a cowboy's treat

Friday, 13 August 1999

Boulder, Colorado is home to Red Rock Stadium where U2 recorded Under a Blood Red Sky. It’s also in the foothills of the Rockies, and you can drive up from Boulder on excellent freeways through picturesque mountain villages where you can sit down at a diner and order Rocky Mountain Oysters.

It reminds me of the story of the young stud bull who couldn’t wait for the season to begin and leaped a barbed fence only to rip off his contribution to the gene pool. But his parents reassured him saying: "Don’t worry son. You can find work as a consultant.” But I digress…

In the old days, cowboys used to take the gelding knives to their bulls. These days they simply twist on a hoop of wire which cuts off the circulation, allowing the skin to die off and the cargo to drop into the waiting snow. Cowboys harvest these and take them home to their wives, who stick them into the deepest recesses of the freezer hoping never to hear of them again.

They’re quite easy to prepare. Split and toss the outer skin and soak the oysters in salt water for about an hour. Parboil with a tablespoon of vinegar. Slice, dunk first in milk, then in a 4:1 mixture of flour and mielie meal (with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste), then in red wine. Deep fry until golden. Dash with tabasco. Tastes like chicken.

But let’s move further along the loins and look at t-bone steaks. The first secret to a perfect t-bone is to ensure that the steak is dry on the outside. Use a paper towel to dab it down. Second, never salt before cooking as this toughens the meat. Heat a cast iron frying pan till hellishly hot, toss in a large blob of butter — about 1/10th of a block should do (yes, Mrs Jones, you can waste a rand’s worth of butter on a R12 steak). When the butter is almost brown, toss in a clove of garlic (smash it on the countertop first using the flat of a knife), then toss in the t-bone when the butter turns dark brown. Swirl around in the butter and flip it almost immediately to sear and seal the outside. Cook to taste.

Seriously though, if your butcher carries them, try the oysters.