Old West Recipes Archives

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

cowboy slangCowboys are noted for developing their own vocabulary, known as Cowboy Slang.  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 cowboy slang 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.

Chuckwagon: Sweet Potato Pie

Boil sweet potatoes until well done.  Peel and slice them very thin.  Line a deep pie pan with good plain pastry, and arrange the sliced potatoes in layers, dotting with butter and sprinkling sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg over each layer, using at least ½ cup sugar.  Pour over 3 tablespoonfuls whiskey, about ½ cup water, cover with pastry and bake. Serve warm.

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

Chuckwagon: Red Flannel Hash

A great way to use left over corned beef is to add a few new ingredients and create Red Flannel Hash.  Who knows who came up with the beets, but it really is colorful, and sticks to the ribs.

            1 ½ Cups chopped corned beef

            1 ½ Cups chopped cooked beets

            1 Medium onion, chopped

            4 Cups chopped cooked potatoes

 Chop ingredients separately, then mix together.  Heat all ingredients in a well- greased skillet, slowly, loosen around the edges, and shake to prevent scorching.  After a nice crust forms on bottom, turn out on a warmed plate and serve.  If it seems a little dry add a little beef broth.  Try with a couple poached eggs, for a hearty meal.

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

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