'Bizarre Foods America' got its cowboy on in New Mexico

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Andrew Zimmern and the Travel Channel's crew explored the state of New Mexico in last night's episode of Bizarre Foods America. He went into cowboy mode and viewers came along for the ride.

Bizarre Foods America lived up to its name during the show's review of the multicultural food scene in New Mexico.

While we were treated to a few sit down meals in traditional restaurants, the bulk of the program was filmed outdoors. We were also given a taste of a self-sustaining housing project where Zimmern learned about conservation at a very high level

The lasting impression of last night's show was that our host is no snob about dining experiences. Zimmern demonstrated that he could shoot and kill wild animals, watch as they are gored, skinned and roasted over an open flame, then consumed outdoors. Video posted below.

What was a bit unexpected was how many animal organs and body parts were highlighted during the traditional meals prepared by those whose ancestors arrived in New Mexico as explorers or were indigenous to the land.

For viewers that are new to the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods series, it might seem that it is focused on native culture that extolls the virtues of buffalo testicles, pig's blood and prairie dog meat as edibles that light up Andrew Zimmern's face.

That was certainly true of this particular episode, however as a reminder one only needs to review his exploration of the culinary arts in South Beach and San Diego to remember that he knows haute cuisine when he tastes it.

The wide open spaces of New Mexico are used by many families to keep the traditions alive with their children. That includes members of the indigenous Pueblo Indian tribe, the Zia.

We tagged along for a dinner at the campfire with Peter Pino a Zia leader and his family. This is when we were introduced to the prairie dog meal that the tribe considers a special one. Andrew likened it to the Thanksgiving turkey we are all familiar with.

Andrew joined the family in a hunt, during which we were treated to the sight of Zimmern looking through a rifle scope to shoot an animal. He needed a bit of time to get the hang of it but ultimately he was successful.

The preparation of the meat starts with using stones from the surrounding land to cut the animal. It amazed Zimmern that no sharp bladed knives were used in the process.

A second course at the dinner was red chile soup made from elk meat. The chile became Zimmern's obsession during his travels in the state. At a roadside eatery outside Santa Fe, Andrew was introduced to the concept of green and red chile used together on top of food.

When you order a dish to be garnished in that manner you tell the waiter you want it with "Christmas".

While roaming the plains to find others who choose pigs as their special meal or land on which buffalo are raised for their meat, Zimmern went into a trance each time he tasted the many ways to prepare red chile, a tradition and specialty in the state of New Mexico.

The show's host is known for his exclamations of delight while eating a new dish, but when red or green chile was included he reached new heights of almost orgasmic happiness. Check out the five best moments from Zimmern's visit to New Mexico.

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