James Radke, midway operations manager at the Calgary Stampede, samples a deep fried giant squid that will be available at this year’s Stampede in Calgary, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Cheesy chicken hearts, calf testicles coming to Calgary Stampede

This year’s Stampede runs 10 days from July 6 to 15

Traditional corn dogs and deep-fried doughnuts are still on the menu but Calgary Stampede organizers say they’re being joined by giant squid on a stick, cheesy chicken hearts and even prairie oysters for foodies attending the 10-day event.

Midway operations manager James Radke says the Stampede menu has to have something for everyone but it’s the craziest combinations that tend to spark the most interest.

“We look for those foods — crickets on your candy apple, crickets in your grilled-cheese sandwich. How can you take those traditional foods and turn them upside down and really make people think about what they’re eating?”

The so-called giant squidward, complete with tentacles, is about the size of a baseball mitt and deep fried.

The prairie oyster balls, which are calf testicles, are braised in a savoury sauce, sliced and served over sweet doughnuts with a blueberry sauce along with whipped cream and crushed nuts.

“We’re talking real prairie oysters,” Radke said. “We push people’s taste buds.

“Whether their reaction to it is positive or negative, that actually doesn’t matter. What matters is it’s generating an emotional response to food and you know you’ve got them right away.”

Yan Situ from the Happy Fish Catering food truck expects the squid will be a big seller.

“It looks a little scary but it tastes good though. It’s nice and juicy inside and then we put on our special bread crumbs so it’s really crunchy outside,” she said.

“It comes in two flavours — salt and pepper and curry pepper. That one’s a little bit spicy, gives a little more heat for the street.”

For those with a sweet tooth, there will be deep-fried, bacon-wrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Pop Rocks mini doughnuts, smoking charcoal ice cream in a cup, hot ice-cream doughnut sandwiches and Kit Kat fries.

Only eight or 10 years ago, Radke said, Stampede food was a secondary consideration.

“That’s changed with the advent of food television, of the Food Network, the foodie movement, restaurants changing and everybody really jumping upon that bandwagon. The midway has had to do that as well,” he said.

“The midway has had to transform itself to become a culinary destination.”

This year’s Stampede runs from July 6 to 15.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A Ponoka student’s artwork is in the runnings for an Orange shirt logo competition

Voting is open for St. Augustine’s Emma Wittal’s work. Her art is in the top five out of 665 pieces

Ponoka council approves sale of Kinsmen Community Centre for $480,000

Council accepts offer to purchase of $480,000 with sale taking effect Jan. 1, 2019

Ponoka union staff approve strike

“Vast majority” of staff voted in favour of a strike against the town, 72-hours notice required

Ponoka mayor responds to strike vote and contingency plans

Ponoka union strike vote triggers 120 day strike action

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Three junior hockey players injured starting campfire

Ryan Vandervlis, a 20-year old centre with Lethbridge Hurricanes has been placed in a medically induced coma

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Major tire theft at Wetaskiwin auto dealership

Wetaskiwin RCMP estimated $70,000 worth of tires and rims stolen

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

Leduc RCMP investigate small plane crash

No injuries after plane crashes in lake

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Most Read