The Chuckwagon – Western Recipes

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Cowboys Taking a Break

The LS outfit at the chuck wagon having dinner in the shade of a tree. LS Ranch, near Tascosa, Texas. Photo by Erwin E. Smith, 1907.

Lazy B Corn Fritters


  • 1 1/4  cup flour
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk

Stir dry ingredients together and add corn.  Then add the egg yolks beaten thick and fold in egg whites beaten stiff.  Fry in hot lard. Try to use a cold bowl to beat the egg whites if possible.

Cowboy Fry Bread


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2-4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • Vegetable oil

Heat the milk over the stove or in the microwave until warm but not hot. Pour into a large bowl and add yeast and sugar. Stir in beaten eggs and salt, then slowly mix in flour until mixture forms a smooth, elastic dough. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until double in size (30 minutes to one hour). Lightly flour work surface and divide dough into 12 pieces roughly the size of tennis balls, then flatten into discs. Let dough rise again, about 10 minutes.

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer, large pot or skillet. Fry dough discs one or two at a time for three to five minutes, depending on size, turning once.  Makes about 12 servings.

Cowboy Beans


  • 2 cups dried red beans
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 3 green chile peppers, grilled and diced
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, grilled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 7 quarts water or vegetable stock
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole dried red chile peppers
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Soak beans overnight in water to cover, changing water once; drain.

When beans are ready, saute onion, garlic, green chiles and tomatoes in oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add water or stock and ham hock; bring to a boil. Add beans, coriander seed, bay leaf and dried chiles. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then lower heat, cover and simmer for three to four hours, until beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 16 servings.

Chunky Chili


  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut up
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans pinto beans with jalapenos
  • 2 packages chili seasoning
  • 2 cans Mexican style diced tomatoes

Brown meat, chicken, pepper, and onion in a little olive oil until brown. Add chili seasoning, beans, and tomatoes. Simmer for one hour. Serve this with corn bread or tortillas, or pour over Fritos and sprinkle with cheese for a Frito pie.  Serves 12.

Buffalo (or beef) Steaks with Chipotle-Coffee Rub


  • 3 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 3 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper (or chipotle chile powder)
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 buffalo or beef steaks (8 ounces each)

Combine coffee, ground chipotle, paprika, cumin seeds, sugar and salt. Rub mixture into steaks.  Grill steaks until desired doneness.  Makes four servings.

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8 thoughts on “The Chuckwagon – Western Recipes”

  1. Hi,
    Me and my family are planning a self made trip in West USA and we would like to have a dinner like a “real old west bivouac under the stars” (or chuck wagon cooking?).
    Someone can advise me if there are some places that organize this kind of events? Or can you give me information about it?
    Thank you so much for all your advice
    Kind Regards
    Enrico from Italy

    1. The Rattlesnake camp grounds in Alabama is putting on trail rides and Chuck wagon cooking next weekend starts Thursday 21st

    2. Ciao Enrico! Many years ago (about 1997 when my son was 11), we took a trip out West and stayed at a great little place near Chimney Rock near Scots Bluff, Nebraska on the Oregon Trail. I think it was this place (from the description):Oregon Trail Wagon Train at the Base of Chimney Rock near Bayard , Bayard, NE 69334 –(308) 586-1850 / See Description at: There is also a museum in Scot’s Bluff and hiking trails and Carhenge is not too far away. We stayed in a log cabin that had a chuckwagon meal cooked outdoors along with a cowboy sing-along. They also had a Conestoga wagon (both day and overnight) trips out to Chimney Rock. If you want to stand in the ruts of the Oregon Trail and take a Conestoga ride to Chimney Rock, this is a great location to stop! I did see some other websites that offer camping in Conestoga wagons by doing a search for Conestoga Wagon trips in western USA. There were some in Utah and Yosemite. Good luck and hope you enjoy your trip to the “Wild West”!

    3. Bar D Ranch in Durango, CO. A little dude ranchy/touristy but a whole lotta fun with a cowboy band to boot. Dave S

  2. These recipes are fantastic and excellent. I’m a senior and watch all the Old Westerns as I grew up on a ranch so being on limited income I realized they got by on next to far less than we have today but few went hungry so I wanted a Site Exactly like this for True recipes. My grandparents were ranchers over and over so it all fits. Wonderful!
    Thank you.

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