Old West Recipes Archives

Chuckwagon: Plum Pudding Sauce

Ingredients:  Glass of brandy; 2 oz of fresh butter; Glass of Madeira; Pounded sugar to taste.

Mode:  Mix pounded sugar with part of the brandy and the butter.  Warm until sugar and butter dissolved then add the rest of brandy.  Either pour it over the pudding or serve in a tureen.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Sourdough Cornbread

This recipe comes from the Hashknife Outfit of Winslow, Arizona.

1 cup starter.

Enough cornmeal to make a beatable batter.

1 ½ cups milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs beaten

¼ cup warm melted butter, or fat

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon soda

      Mix starter, cornmeal, milk, eggs and stir thoroughly in large bowl.  Stir in melted butter, salt and soda.  Pour into a 10 inch greased frying pan or Dutch oven, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Old West “Refrigeration”

In the 1800’s people in the West didn’t have a refrigerator or freezer to keep their meat fresh, so they used other means.  Below are summer guidelines for storing meat.  Incidentally, we don’t recommend your trying these methods today.  They are not that dependable.

Cover the meat with sour milk or buttermilk and store in a cellar.

In areas where the nights are cool, hang the meat in the open from a tree so any breeze can pass around it.  Make sure the meat is brought inside at dawn.  During the day wrap the meat in a tarp and store in a shady place.  Make sure the blow flies don’t deposit eggs on the meat.

Keep the meat away from rain and damp nights.  Any meat that gets wet must be cooked or jerked immediately.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Cowboy Slang

Cowboys are noted for developing their own vocabulary.  Sometimes it was because they couldn’t pronounce the word correctly as used in the language of origin.  They were famous for perverting Spanish words.  Cowboys also named items because the item reminded them of something else.  However they came about, cowboys had a vocabulary that was colorful and their own.  Below are some words used in reference to chuck, or for the non-cowboy, food, while they were on the trail.

    • Calf Slobbers – Meringue on a pie.
    • Fried Chicken – Bacon rolled in flour and fried.
    • Chuck Wagon Chicken – Fried bacon.
    • Charlie Taylor – A substitute for butter. A combination of molasses and bacon grease.
    • “Man at the Pot!” – Term yelled at a person pouring himself a cup of coffee. A cowboy’s way of saying, “Pour me a cup too.”
    • Spotted Pup – Cooking raisins in rice.
    • Stacked to a fill – Compliment to the chief following a great meal.
    • Dry Camp – A camp that has no water available.
    • Prairie or Mountain Oysters – Calf’s testicles.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Sourdough Biscuits

          Sourdough biscuits were a delicacy whether on the trail or at the ranch.  Once a cook got a good sourdough starter he cherished it like a baby.  On the trail he would store it in a dark, cool place in his chuck wagon.  Here is one cooks recipe for a sourdough starter.

                                                2 cups of lukewarm potato water.
                                                2 cups flour.
                                                1 tablespoon sugar.

           Make potato water by cutting up 2 medium-sized potatoes into cubes, and boil in cups of water until tender.  Remove the potatoes and measure out two cups of the remaining liquid. (The potatoes can be used for the evening meal.)  Mix the potato water, flour and sugar into a smooth paste.  Set the mixture in a warm place until it doubles its original size.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

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