Saturday night was certainly a wild (*harhar*) night of excitement and new experiences! I mean, first of all, I had to leave my precious bubble of safety (otherwise known as the 750 or so square miles of insanity commonly known as Boulder, Colorado). Unfamiliar territory let me tell you! Being severely directionally impaired, I usually try my best not to leave the small area I know well enough to not get lost in.
Wait a minute! Didn’t you used to drive an ambulance?!?
I sure did. Got lost a lot too! Not generally considered a good thing when you are responding to a 911 call.
In any case, thanks to the fact that my Handsome Hubby is always willing to drive to my new adventures, and thanks to the excellent directions from my friend Ridge, we eventually landed in the jaw-droppingly, intimidatingly big city of Denver (I’m a country girl, what can I say?) at a small restaurant named Biker Jim’s. There were five of us piled clown-car style into my little Subaru, and as we all climbed out, groaning and stretching our tight muscles after the incredibly long, 45 minute drive down town, we were hit with the aroma of hot grill and deep-fried goodness.
According to legend, Biker Jim’s began life as a cart parked on the sidewalk of downtown Denver, selling not only your standard all-beef franks, but also an array of exotic and exciting meats like reindeer, elk, buffalo, wild boar, and several varieties of wild fowl…all ground up, heavily spiced, and stuffed into casings. All locally made, mostly locally sourced, and as naturally produced as they could make it! Each sausage is served on a soft, homemade bun and topped with cream cheese and caramelized onions. It sounds like an odd combination, I realize this. But it was this strange combination of toppings that landed them a mention on the Food Network’s show, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” (This I learned from the guy behind the counter. To learn more about Biker Jim’s go here: http://www.bikerjimsdogs.com/)
So. What better way to try an intimidating food than in the comforting and familiar form of…
A hot dog!
Never mind the fact that when I was in seventh grade my history teacher regaled us for an entire class period about what really goes into a hot dog, and I couldn’t eat one for years to follow. I now find a charred up, grilled hot dog a truly delicious throwback to summer barbecues when I was a kid.
We met up with two more friends inside the restaurant, where we all pored diligently over the menu before making our selections.
I pushed guilty thoughts of Rudolf and Santa’s eight fly-by-night pals aside and went ahead and ordered the Alaskan Reindeer. On the menu, it was described as “juicy, smoky, and all things good.”
Now, I ask you. How could you possibly go wrong with that? Most of my cohorts seemed to agree, as just about everyone else ordered the reindeer as well. Hubby chose the Elk Jalapeno Cheddar.
We rounded things out with fried green tomatoes (from the menu: “Please no Kathy Bates jokes, she still scares us!”).
We also ordered crispy, delicious, perfectly seasoned house made chips, and of course, plenty of beer!
Here’s me taking my first bite of reindeer hot dog.
Itza big hot dog!
And here’s me chewing and thinking to myself “hmmm. Not bad!”
And here’s my friend Ridge, who suggested Biker Jim’s in the first place, and who got us there without letting us get lost.
The reindeer was smoky, juicy and delicious, just like the menu claimed. It had been split down the middle and grilled to charred perfection…with little blackened bits and crispy ends. The bun was soft and mildly flavored, and topped with just the right balance of sweet caramelized onions and creamy cream cheese. The slightly wild flavor of the reindeer was complimented by the smoky grilled flavor (think: lost in woods. Killed a reindeer. Gutted it and cooked it over an open fire right there on the spot. I’m no hunter, but something about eating grilled wild game kinda brings it out in me). The copious spices added to the mixture kept the gaminess from becoming over-powering…I found that I could smell the gamey flavor before I went to take a bite, but once I started chewing the other flavors were so strong that the gaminess fell to the background. Perfect for a picky eater like me!
Of all the wild game hot dogs, reindeer seemed like a good place to start. I’m sure the elk had a stronger flavor…maybe something for me to work up to!
And now…for something…unexpected!
This is my friend Randy.
He works with me at the hospital.
Oh, he looks harmless enough, but wait til you hear what he made me do!
He’s clearly a much more adventurous eater than I am.
As we all finished our hot dogs and pushed our paper-lined baskets away with happy sighs, Randy decided to up the ante.
“Hey, guys. If I buy one of those rattlesnake hot dogs will you all try it with me?”
“Sure! Yes! Absolutely! Of course! Awesome!”
“Nnnooooooooooo!!!!! I don’t wanna!! *sob sob*”
“I’m getting it. And you’re trying it.”
Here’s the rattlesnake hotdog.
Actually, it’s a rattlesnake and pheasant hot dog.
With harrisa roasted cactus, Malaysian curry jam, scallions, cilantro, and onions two ways.
There it is. Yep. That’s it. Rattlesnake. And Pheasant. And did I mention the rattlesnake!?!
And there’s me, taking a bite of it.
No, it’s on there…it’s on the fork…see it?
Ok. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Randy. But I did eat some!
Peer pressure is a powerful thing, kids!
I wasn’t going to try rattlesnake until next season.
Maybe after everyone had had a chance to forget that I’d said I would try it.
I thought maybe everyone would just forget about it.
Maybe I wouldn’t have to ever try it.
…It was delicious.
So heavily spiced you could barely taste the meat! No gaminess whatsoever…you could have told me it was chicken and I absolutely would have believed you.
Thank you for forcing me to do something I very much never wanted to do and completely placing me outside of my comfort zone. You are a good friend!
Wild game night was a smashing success, I think. Thanks to my wonderful Hubby, my wonderful, supportive friends, and Biker Jim’s, I have over-come my fear of wild game.
And even rattlesnakes.
Well, the dead, cooked ones anyways.