More Than Just a Rodeo: Food You Must-Try at the Calgary Stampede

Arguably the biggest and most sought after rodeo in North America is the Calgary Stampede. Folks from around the world pack their cowboy hat and boots and head to Calgary to experience the Stampede’s 9 rodeo events over the course of 10 days. Of course, that’s not all they experience.

Calgary Stampede Food

In addition to the rodeo, food lovers both near and far attend the Calgary Stampede for its wide variety of food. Think fair food that’s on a whole other level. It’s not just “fried this” or “fried that.” Though, of course, there is a whole lot of fried foods. The Stampede has everything from sweet and a savory dishes to cuisine that will tickle even the most sophisticated and adventurous of palates. Or in my case, gross me the heck out. Cricket grilled cheese? Hard pass, but that’s just me.

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For the sweet tooth

There’s no such thing as dinner before sweets when it comes to the rodeo. You eat whatever your heart desires, so go nuts! Here are a few of my favorite sweet dishes at the Calgary Stampede this year.

Smoking Charcoal Ice Cream: Coconut flavored soft-serve ice cream, made from coconut husks and infused with black, activated charcoal. Served in either a cup or a cone–both of which are Instagram-worthy!

Oreo Creamsicle Delight: Creamsicles were my favorite growing up, so I was excited to try this cold treat on such a hot summery day. Mine was presented in a cup, however, normally you’ll receive this fresh orange creamsicle smoothie served out of a large orange with a heaping amount of whipped cream and Oreo sprinkles on top.

Oreo creamsicle delight

Oreo Creamsicle Delight

Hot Ice Cream Donut Sandwiches: Freshly made hot doughnuts with smooth, cold ice cream. Quite possibly the best combination ever, right? Right!

Mini Doughnuts: These may be a classic to the locals, but it was a whole new thing for this LA boy. If you love doughnuts as much as I do, don’t pass up the mini doughnuts. They’re absolutely scrumptious!

I like to stick with the classics. #calgarystampede #csfoodie

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For the savory

Mexican Style Street Corn: Deliciously roasted corn on the cob, smothered with Mexican crème and covered with a mixture of cheese, chili powder, garlic and cilantro, with a lime wedge on the side. Delicioso!

Flaming Hot Cheeto Bowls: Did I have you at Flaming Hot Cheetos? Yeah, me too! Now imagine those spicy little treats topped with sweet corn, then smothered in hot cheese sauce and a dollop of sour cream.

The Hangover Mac & Cheese: Struggling from last night’s partying in downtown Calgary? I have the solution for you. Try this creamy gourmet macaroni and cheese, blended with frothy beer and topped with smashed potato chips and pretzels. A perfect combination to soak up all of the alcohol from last night.

The Hangover Mac & Cheese

The Hangover Mac & Cheese. Credit: Calgary Stampede


For the meat lovers

The Big Pickle Tornado: Big Coco’s stepped up their popular Big Pickle Dog for the 2018 Stampede with the addition of a pickle, because everyone loves pickles. They take a large dill pickle sliced lengthwise, incorporate it with a hot dog topped with cheese and bacon drizzle, then wrap it in a tortilla and deep fry it.

If you’re going to the #Stampede better come hungry! • We had a wonderful time on our @csfoodie tour trying out the Best New Foods for Stampede2018 • We tried: 1️⃣The Big Pickle Tornado – a Pickle stuffed hotdog with cheese and bacon – Yum! 2️⃣ Bacon Onion Bombs Two savoury meat patties wrapped inside a sliced onion and then wrapped again in bacon, all deep fried to perfection and gluten-free 3️⃣ Macaroni and Cheetos Campfire Pie – cowboy style grilled cheese stuffed with Mac and cheese and flaming hot Cheetos! 4️⃣ Mexican-style Street Corn – covered with a mixture of cheese, parm , and flaming hot #cheetos Check out our next post for the sweet side of the Calgary Stampede • 🤠 STAMPEDE FOODS – Hungry Couple YYC • • • #CSFoodie #Stampede #CalgaryStampede #stampede2018 #stampedefoods #stampedeeats #stmpdr #stampedefoodie #corndog #grilledcheese #streetcorn #corn #yyc #calgary #yyceats #calgaryeats #calgaryfood #yycfood #yycfoodie #calgaryfoodie #yycinfluencer #yycnow #yycbuzz #dailyhiveyyc #foodpics #dinner #dishedyyc #yycblogger #carnivaleats

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Bacon Onion Bombs: Two savory meatballs wrapped inside a sliced onion, wrapped again in bacon, then deep fried. It really is the bomb, especially if you have it with the provided chipotle dipping sauce.

Bacon onion bombs

Bacon Onion Bombs with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Kangaroo Stuffed Burger: Made specially for the Calgary Stampede, a must-try is the Kangaroo stuffed burger. Prepared with all the classic burger fixins you know and love.

Beef and Chicken Pho-ritos: If you love Pho, then you’re going to drool over Pho-ritos. It combines all of the delicious contents of a Vietnamese pho served as a burrito. Perfect for walking around the Stampede.


For the adventurous

Fan of Andrew Zimmern? Then you’ve come to the right place. There is a whole slew of different foods at the Stampede, but none quite like the concoctions created specifically for the adventurous. Feast your eyes on the below.

Prairie Oyster Balls: Do you really want to know what these are? Let’s just say, you probably won’t go nuts for Prairie Oyster Balls, unless, of course you like munching on bull testicals. No, seriously, the Prairie Oyster Balls are mini doughnut Bear Balls topped with the balls of a bull, and blueberry compote, and whipped cream. YUM!?

Prairie Oyster Balls - Bull Testicals

Prairie Oyster Balls. Credit: Calgary Stampede

Giant Squid on a Stick: I have nothing against squid, but I’m not sure how I’d like eating a giant one on a stick. Something about it seems wrong, but I’m sure it’s tasty nonetheless. These beauties are soaked in a seasoning bath for many hours before being breaded in a mixture of flour and spices and deep fried to crispy perfection. Stampede goers can choose from a choice of salt and pepper or curry pepper seasoning to enjoy their Giant Squid on a Stick while walking the grounds.

Cricket Grilled Cheese: Somehow, someway, the Calgary Stampede is doing their best to destroy all of my favorite comfort foods. First the bull balls, now with adding crickets to grilled cheese. NOOOOOO! This so-call delicacy features a signature four-cheese blend on thick Texas-style toast, topped with a very, very healthy serving of crunchy crickets.

Cricket Grilled Cheese at the Calgary Stampede

Cricket Grilled Cheese. Credit: Calgary Stampede

Cheesy Chicken Hearts: This might be the least appalling of the adventurous foods I saw at the Calgary Stampede, though it still turns my stomach a bit. They’ve got a spicy kick with a crispy exterior and soft and chewy inside.

Cheesy Chicken Hearts

Cheesy Chicken Hearts. Credit: Calgary Stampede


This list was just skimming the surface of food available at the 2018 Calgary Stampede. Each year, they are working hard to out do themselves, so even though they may not have a few of these items in 2019, just know they will be equally as delicious and creative as what you see above.

For those questioning whether or not the rodeo is for you, please stay tuned for my article about my first rodeo experience coming soon. Spoiler: I can’t wait to go back! Calgary is an amazing place to visit and there is so much to do and see. I’m really looking forward to showing you my photos from the few days I was there.

Joe Miragliotta is a caffeine addict, social media freak and a tech junkie. When first creating JoesDaily.com the concept was small; Post diary-like content to share with the world of all things he was into. Now it's grown to be much more than that. You'll find travel, food & drink, design, tech, entertainment and more!

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