The life of a cowboy isn't an easy life. It's hard work, long hours and you're never what you're going to get into.

When you watch cowboys on tv or in the movies, Hollywood has a tendency to dramatize the lifestyle a little....I know, wild right?

If you've read books, watched documentaries or heard stories directly from the cowboys, there's a whole way of cooking that is designed around the cowboy life. Cowboy cooking is the inspiration behind many of the BBQ restaurants we all know an love.

When the chuckwagon was introduced to cattle drives and long trips in the 1860's, it changed the distance and design of cowboy work. The chuckwagon gave the cowboys the option to not need to worry about what they were going to eat, and let them focus on what their job was.

The chuckwagon not only supplied the cowboys with food to be able to continue on, but also gave them someone to cook for them. As cliché as it sounds, usually the cook got the name Cookie.

The cooks job was important, because if the cowboys didn't eat, not much work could get done.

The chuckwagon was supplied with everything the crew would need to stay nourished for multiple days. Some of the items you would find on the chuckwagon were:

  • Beans
  • Bacon
  • Hard Biscuits
  • Beef /Jerky
  • Dried Fruit
  • Coffee
  • Sourdough
  • Forged Plants - Wild berries, mushrooms, wild apples, nuts, onions were all popular
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Corn Meal
  • Lard

The menu's weren't fancy, but efficient. Feeding the crew, having coffee and having someone there to take care of the crews was the number one priority of the chuckwagon. Check out this video that explains a little bit about the food on the chuckwagon.

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