American Cowboy
and Pioneer food

Food tips you can trust


Cowbo and
Pioneer foods

Although they are mainly memories today, cowboy and pioneer cuisines once played a notable role in western and central states.

Cowboy cuisine

It was more varied when eaten at the ranch. The food was hearty and served in generous portions. Grilled steaks, slow-cooked roasts, and fresh biscuits were favorites. So were meaty stews.

However, cowboys on a cattle drive had to eat what they could carry, catch, or harvest on the way.


There was always a lot of meat for stewing and roasting, supplemented with beans, baking-powder bread items, and strong black coffee, but not much else.


Cooking had to be done over an open fire, with simple metal skillets, cauldrons, and baking sheets.

Dutch oven

The chuck-wagon cook's biggest asset was the Dutch oven. It could be suspended over a campfire or nestled in the hot coals, with more coals piled on its heavy concave lid for baking.

Pioneer cuisine

It was monotonous and starchy - bacon, ham and salt pork, biscuits, cornbread, coffee, and pies made with dried fruits. The fare was occasionally relieved by hunting game, catching fish and picking fresh fruit - which were not easy pursuits because the covered wagons were usually on the go.

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Painting by Frederic Remington - PD



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