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

WATCH: New nature trail unveiled at Red Deer College for upcoming Canada Winter Games

New walkway the result of partnership between NOVA Chemicals, RDC and Canada Winter Games committee

WATCH: The province’s flu shot campaign is underway

Influenza immunizations are available across Red Deer free of charge

Red Deer RCMP investigate failed ATM theft attempt

A truck was driven through the doors of the Eastview IGA in hopes of stealing an ATM

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

19-year-old man faces charges after windows were smashed at three different businesses

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Temporary access allowed for residents of landslide-threatened B.C. community

The district says areas of access to the community of about 54 homes could be expanded, depending on advice from a geotechnical engineer.

Most Read