The most important lesson I learned...was that the winner of a gunplay usually was the one who took his time. The second was that, if I hoped to live on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick-shooting--grandstand play--as I would poison...In all my life as a frontier peace officer, I did not know a really proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner, or the man who literally shot from the hip.
Wyatt Earp

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The first Chuck Wagon was developed by cowboys working for Colonel Charles Goodnight, co-founder of the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail. Credit for inventing the chuck wagon is given to legendary ranch man and trail driver Charles (Chuck) Goodnight who invented the chuck wagon in 1866 for use by his crews. 

Here's a look at frontier cowboy recipes and trail side cooking.  Did you know that a ranch's cook shack was a private realm ruled over by a cantankerous master cook?  He was a permanent member of the outfit and wielded even more power than the itinerant cooks who filled in on western cattle roundups and on the trail. He slept in the cook shack rather than in the bunkhouse, and he made certain the hands showed proper respect - which he sometimes enforced with the broad end of a skillet. The cowboy cook's authority lay in the fact that he provided one of the single most important elements, along with sleep, that a cowboy both cherished and needed. And the food had better have been top notch, otherwise, top hands wouldn't work for such a place.


What are the ingredients in chuck wagon?
Of course the beef was off of a fat yearling, a good meat to start off with.”. Chuck wagon staples had to travel well and not spoil. The list included flour, sourdough, salt, brown sugar, beans, rice, cornmeal, dried apples and peaches, baking powder, baking soda, coffee and syrup.



THE LAST INDIAN battle in Texas was fought in Palo Duro Canyon in 1874, when Colonel Ranald MacKenzie and his raiders attacked a huge encampment of Kiowa, Cheyenne, Comanche and Arapaho. The raiders destroyed over 100 lodges and 1,400 horses and mules and drove the surviving Indians to an Oklahoma Territory reservation. Today, Palo Dro Canyon is the setting for the spectacular outdoor drama TEXAS in which Texas history is reenacted using the beautiful canyon wall and rim as a backdrop.

Canyon Mustard Cheese Spread
The men raved about this spread at a tasting party.
Yields 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chipped
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 8 ounces Cheddar or American cheese, shredded
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, soften
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Duekee' dressing
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions:

Combine meted butter and pecans in large, flat pan and roast at 200 drgress for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally; do not allow to brown. Combine remaining ingredients an blend thoroughly. Add toasted pecans and mix. This may be used as a spread for crackers or a dip for fresh vegetables.



Early frontier cooking was highly influenced by place and season. Indigenous plants and animals supplied much of the food. Think buffalo & squirrel. Other provisions (flour, dried beans, coffee, sugar, etc.) were stocked at points of origin and resupplied along the way. The first pioneers in most places ate by campfires. By necessity, foods were cooked by very simple methods. Dutch ovens, frying pans, boiling pots, and roasting spits were typically employed. As settlements grew, so did the range of cuisine. Why? Improvements in housing and transportation enabled a greater variety of food to be prepared in more traditional ways.


Cowboy is his name
There's a hundred years of history
and a hundred before that
All gathered in the thinkin'
Going' on beneath this hat.

The cold flame burns within him
'Till his skin's as cold as ice
And the dues he paid to get here
Are worth every sacrifice.

All the miles spend sleepy drivin'
All the money down the drain,
All the 'if I's and nearly's
All the bandages and pain,

All the female tears left drying',
All the fever and the fight
Are just a small down payment
On the ride he makes tonight.

It's guts and love and glory,
One mortal's chance at fame.
His legacy is rodeo
And cowboy is his name.
Author: Baxter Black 
 Prep: 10 Min      Cook: 20 Min     Method: Bake
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups flour 
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Directions:
  1. Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in the lard, until mixture looks like meal. Stir in buttermilk. If dough is not pliable, add just enough buttermilk to make a soft, puffy dough that is easy to roll out. Knead dough on lightly floured board about one to two minutes or 25 to 30 times. Roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter, or use a glass of the right size. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. The Pioneers cooked them a bit differntly as there were no modern ovens on the trail... They made make-shift ovens that were sitting on coals of the campfire and more coals on top to get a hot oven effect. They also spent a lot of time baking as the ovens were small. They also sometimes made them in a skillet or a heavy pot with a lid (Dutch Oven)with coals under and about 12 - 15 on top.


 
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