Buffalo Gals

26 Jul


My quest for Western history and adventure took me down a new path. Joined by my Yellowstone pal, Carol, our journey took us out on the eastern plains of Colorado to visit the remains of the African-American ghost town of Dearfield. A photo shoot on a hot July day yielded plenty of material for a future article.

That evening, we met up with another friend, Helen, in Severance, Colorado, for a dinner of Rocky Mountain oysters at Bruce’s Bar and Grill. These oysters, which have nothing to do with the ones you find at the seashore, are prepared from [um, how can I put this …] the delicate parts of bulls which are removed when they are neutered during branding. They are either considered a delicacy in cowboy culture, or are portrayed as such to segregate those with true Western grit from tinhorns and flatlanders. My curiosity evolved when the subject came up on the Women Writing the West e-bulletin board. The time had come for me to experience them for myself, in the interest of journalistic and historic research, of course.

Bruce’s is definitely the place to go for “oysters” in Northern Colorado. It is their specialty and they serve up plenty of them. They know how to cook them properly, a prerequisite for the discerning diner, or anybody with a healthy survival instinct.  Bruce’s Bar, a roomy, friendly, lively roadhouse, puts the little town of Severance on the map. It is the chosen destination for hungry families, bikers, and ranchers for miles around, and those of us looking for a little adventure and a new experience. Our outing had been on the calendar for some time, and as the date loomed, I was a little wary. However, our appetites were healthy after our outdoor research jaunt in the hot sun, and we were ready to eat just about anything. Almost.

We all decided to order bison, um, fries rather than the beef variety when the waitress assured us bison was more tender. It was a good choice. Our bison fries were served much like fried chicken strips with French fries in a heaping full basket lined with paper, with a ketchup-based dipping sauce on the side. They tasted fine. The sauce lacked pizazz, so we switched to either mustard or ranch dressing (blue cheese dressing would have been ideal). A good wheat beer with lemon, kept close at hand much like a fire extinguisher, was a good beverage choice. (No wine pairing suggested here!) The “oysters” were tender and mild with a faint liver taste and a consistency which was not the least bit chewy. The whole experience was fairly anti-climactic as we chatted and munched on our fries. All in all, the outing was fun and memorable.

I doubt I will go out of my way to order Rocky Mountain Oysters again, but I was happy with the experience. I will gladly go back to Bruce’s in Severance whenever friends nudge me in that direction. Just twist my arm.

Joyce Lohse, 7/26/09


Posted by on July 26, 2009 in Western history


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10 responses to “Buffalo Gals

  1. Penny

    July 27, 2009 at 11:12 am

    That plate looked appetizing. Glad you included a photo, otherwise I would be showing deep non-Botox creases between my eyes ! Bravo gals! Sounds like an interesting road trip.

    • joyce4books

      July 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Penny —

      It was great fun. I though a photo was in order when I was asked if they looked like tater tots!

      — Joyce

  2. Fern J. Hill

    July 27, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Good for you, Joyce. I’m not so sure I would have been brave enough to order a plate of my own.

    • joyce4books

      July 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm

      Hello Fern —

      I admit it, I hesitated, I blinked, I flinched, but I forged ahead. No harm done!

      Thank you for your message — Joyce

  3. Melanie Moroney

    July 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I certainly enjoyed “Buffalo Gals” and almost felt like I was there with you and Carol.
    Many years ago I had the priviledge to go to a branding at my friend Meri’s folks cattle ranch in Toston, MT. My particular job was to tote the “bloody bucket” which held the castrated testicles. Meri’s dad let us take them back to Gardiner with us and Meri soaked them in red wine, breaded them, and fried them… delicious! We shared our feast with a couple of other friends as we had an on-going Uno tournament going on and these tastey “balls” added to the fun!
    Always love your blog, Joyce! You have such an interesting life.

    • joyce4books

      July 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

      Hello Melanie —

      Wow, marinated in red wine! Now that’s a good way to go. Hope it was a nice cab! And that sounds like a perfect Montana story if I ever heard one. Of course, I bow to you when it comes to living an interesting life! And Carol is the greatest running partner when fun and adventure are on the agenda. Thank you for your comments! Howdy to everybody in Yellowstone country!! — Joyce

  4. Mary Trimble

    July 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    What fun! Joyce, you have a wonderful flair for sharing your experienes. I’ve tasted this delicacy, but beef. Like you, I won’t go out of my way to do it again, but I enjoyed the experience.

    You have a great blog.

  5. joyce4books

    July 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Thank you, Mary — I mutually admire your writing style and experiences on your blog as well. I’ve mentioned to a few people your piece about following your dreams. Good advice for everyone!

    — Joyce

  6. Tricia

    July 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Joyce,
    I can’t believe I did not share “Rocky Mtn Oysters” with you during our experiences in Montana. It was a common theme for all Montanans to treat all out of staters to this delicacy!! I must have failed to carry on the Montana tradition with you. So glad you did not miss this experience in your lifetime!! This really takes me back!! I do remember you paticipating in the “Jackalob” experience, though! Good times!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. joyce4books

    July 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for your comments, Tricia. We all have gaps in our education, and this was mine. Of course, back then, I was fearless! And then there was that pesky jackalope. We did have wonderful times!
    — Joyce


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