Old West Vittles


Here are some of great-grandma's favorite family cowboy recipes!

What cowboy kid, or grizzled old sidekick for that matter, doesn't git cited bout the smell of great vittles a cookin after a hard day of ridin and ropin. They all starts arunnin as soon as the cook hollers "Come and git it".

Here are some authentic western frontier recipes, fixed just the way they were in the days of round-ups, cattle drives, and gunslingin. These cowboy recipes are all simple, and made with common ingredients found in the chuckwagons of the old west frontier.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Hardtack

Every cowboy had some in his saddlebags

- 2 cups stone ground flour

- 1 cup water

Combine the flour and water. Knead until smooth. Sprinkle some flour on a smooth surface and roll the dough flat until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut biscuits out with a can or a glass making each biscuit about 3-4 inches in diameter. Poke holes into each biscuit with a fork. Place on a floured cookie sheet. Cook at moderately high temperature until done, about 35-45 minutes. It should come out hard and dry.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Indian Bread:

A old frontier favorite

- 1 quart of buttermilk

- 1 quart of corn meal

- 1 quart of course flour, (wholewheat?)

- 1 cup molasses

- and a little baking soda

- and a little salt

Mix all ingrediants well and bake till done, apprimately 35 to 45 minutes.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Dutch Oven Bread:

A chuckwagon cook's delight.

- 1 pkg. dry yeast

- 3 tsp. shortening

- 4 tsp. molasses

- 3 Cups scalded milk

- 1/3 Cup lukewarm water

- 4 tsp. honey

- 3 tsp. salt

- 6 Cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Melt shortening and combine with honey, molasses, salt and milk. Cook to lukewarm and combine with yeast mixture. Add flour, enough to make a soft dough and knead thoroughly, using extra flour as needed. Shape in rolls and place in Dutch oven. Let rise till almost double. Bake at about 350 degrees F. Use 6-8 coals on bottom and 15-18 coals on top for 12" oven. Bake about 30-35 minutes or until done.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Camp Bread:

Original cowboy bread, circa 1850’s

- 10 Cups flour

- 3 tsp salt

- 4 tsp black pepper

- 1 tsp sugar

- 1 tlbs lard

- 4 Cups water

- 1/4 Cup evaporated milk

Sift and mix ingredients together. Use lukewarm water, dough is rather dry. Let dough set for 20 to 30 minutes. Roll out into 1/4" to 1/2" thin rounds and cook in a hot (bacon) greased, cast iron, skillet or Dutch oven approximately 30-40 minutes. Prick with fork and turn when browned.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Corn Meal Mush:

Breakfast cowboy recipe before the days of boxed cereals

- 1/2 cup Cornmeal

- 2-3/4 cups Water

- 3/4 teaspoon Salt

Sprinkle cornmeal into boiling water, stirring constantly. Add salt and cook for about half an hour. Serve with sugar and cream.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Gingerbread:

Grandma's ginger and spice and everything nice.

- 1-1/2 lbs flour

- 1/2 lb. real butter

- 1/2 lb. brown sugar

- 1/2 pt. molassas

- 2 tbls cream

- 1 tsp baking soda

- ginger (to taste)

Mix all ingrediants togather. Make in into a stiff paste, and roll it out thin. Put it on buttered tins, and bake in a moderate oven till done, approximately 30-40 minutes.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Jerky:

A cowboy's overnight staple

- 1 flank or london broil steak (or other very lean cut of beef, venison, elk, or buffalo)

Cut the steak into strips with the grain of the meat. It is very important to cut along the grain or the cooked meat will fall apart. Dip in boiling brine (salted water) for a few seconds, then hang up to dry, usually on the rafters of the kitchen.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Hamburger:

Cowboy recipe style, circa 1825

- 1/2 lb Veal

- 1/2 lb Beef

- 1 tsp fine shredded lemon peel

- 1 tsp grated nutmeg

- pinch of salt and pepper

- 2 egg yolks

- herbs to taste

Cut veal and beef into very fine strips, then beat them to a paste in a mortar or wooden bowl. Mix in the herbs, nutmeg, lemon peel, salt, pepper, and the yolks of 2 eggs. When thoroughly mixed, shape into balls, roll them lightly in flour, and fry them brown. Serve with tart brown sauce and mushrooms.

Old West Cowboy Recipe for: Pork & Apple Stew:

This here is my all time favorite cowboy recipe

- 1 1/2 lbs. of lean pork cut into chunks

- 1 lb. chopped onions

- 3 tablespoons of butter, oil, or bacon drippings

- 4 tablespoons flour

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

- 1 1/2 cups water or stock

- 2 cups fresh Granny Smith apple slices (or substitute dried apples)

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a small bag, then place the chunks of pork in and shake to coat them thoroughly. Heat 1/2 the fat in a good heavy bottomed saucepan and brown onions lightly. Remove onions and add remaining fat to the pot and brown the pork in it. Pour in the liquid, scrape any browned bits on the bottom of the pan into it and then add onions and brown sugar. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or longer til the meat is tender. Add the apples and continue to simmer till apples are soft, but not mushy! Season taste and then serve this with noodles, rice or potatoes and some whole wheat bread bread for "soppin'" with!

Want to find more authenticCowboy Recipies?
Check out this link to some great Western Cookbooks!

Cowboy Cookbooks

< < < the trail BACK . . .

Grandma's Recipes = $$$