Food tips you can trust
Although they are mainly memories today, cowboy and pioneer cuisines once played a notable role in western and central states.
It was more varied when eaten at the ranch. The food was hearty and served in generous portions. Grilled steaks, slow-cooked roasts, and fresh biscuits were favorites. So were meaty stews.
However, cowboys on a cattle drive had to eat what they could carry, catch, or harvest on the way.
There was always a lot of meat for stewing and roasting, supplemented with beans, baking-powder bread items, and strong black coffee, but not much else.
Cooking had to be done over an open fire, with simple metal skillets, cauldrons, and baking sheets.
The chuck-wagon cook's biggest asset was the Dutch oven. It could be suspended over a campfire or nestled in the hot coals, with more coals piled on its heavy concave lid for baking.
It was monotonous and starchy - bacon, ham and salt pork, biscuits, cornbread, coffee, and pies made with dried fruits. The fare was occasionally relieved by hunting game, catching fish and picking fresh fruit - which were not easy pursuits because the covered wagons were usually on the go.
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Painting by Frederic Remington - PD