Frontier Recipes – The ‘Real’ Old Stuff From The Old West

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“We ate breakfast ‘fore the sun came up and had dinner after the sun was down.  I think the cook planned it that’a way, so we couln’t see what were eat’en.”

– Bob Crouse

Bannock or Frying Pan Bread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Water

Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Add just enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Working dough as little as possible, form a l-inch thick cake. Lay the cake on a greased, pre-warmed skillet. Brown the bottom of the cake lightly and flip or turn with a spatula to brown the other side. When both sides are lightly browned, prop the skillet in front of the fire and let it bake. Test for doneness by thumping the cake with a spoon handle or stick. A hollow ringing sound indicates doneness. An alternative test is to jab the cake with a twig or matchstick. If the twig comes out clean (no clinging dough), the cake is done.

Hoecakes or Johnnycakes

  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Water

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. The flour is optional, but it will improve the texture of the cake. Add just enough cold water to make a stiff batter. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto a lightly greased skillet and cook slowly.

Ash Cakes

  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Water

Mix dry ingredients. Add enough cold water to make a firm dough. Form the dough into thin cakes. Clear coals from an area of the campfire and lay the cakes on the hot earth. Rake coals and ash over the cakes and let them bake for about five minutes. Test for doneness by thumping the cake with a spoon handle or stick. A hollow ringing sound indicates doneness.


  • 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. It should come out hard and dry.  Bake at 400 F for 35-45 minutes.

Indian Meal Pudding

Rub a tablespoonful of butter round the bottom and sides of a smooth iron kettle, when melted, add half a cup of boiling water. This will prevent the milk from burning. Add one quart of milk. Let it boil up, and almost over the kettle; then sift in one pint of fine yellow granulated corn meal, sifting with the left hand, and holding the meal high, that every grain may be thoroughly scalded. Stir constantly; add half a teaspoonful of salt, and set away till cold. Then add half a pint of molasses and one quart of cold milk. Put into a well-buttered deep pudding-dish, cover with a plate, and bake very slowly ten or twelve hours. Let it remain over night, and serve for a breakfast.

Fried Camp Apples

  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • cinnamon
  • Lard or meat drippings

Slice the apples, peel core and all, against the core, about ¼ inch thick.  In a heavy skillet, heat a thin layer of lard or dripping until apples will sizzle in the pan.  Add the apples in a single layer, turning frequently until golden brown.  Serve hot, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon

Ranch Pickles

Fill a large jar (about one gallon) with small to medium cucumbers.  Add two tablespoons of salt, and a large bunch of dill.  Fill the jar with boiling water, put the lid on, and set in the sun for about two weeks.

After the pickles were gone, the cook would sometimes add some hard boiled eggs to the pickle juice and let it set for a week or so, and offer the cowboys another treat.

Back to the Frontier Menu

only a fool argues with the cook

Only a fool argues with the cook. Poster available at Legends’ General Store.

See our other Recipes!

A Hill Of Beans – Baked Beans That Is

The Chuckwagon – Western Recipes

Campfire Recipes

Dutch Oven Recipes

Flavors of Route 66

Good Ole’ Fashioned Recipes