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Happy Cookbook Birthday!

My new cookbook is now available every where fine books are sold including Target, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, and excited to say it is a #1 New Release on Amazon.

As Ramon F. Adams noted in his book, COWBOY LINGO, the chuck wagon was an important part of the range cowboys world:

“To the layman a wagon was just a wagon…, but to the cowboy the wagon meant his home.”


This unique book includes authentic cow camp recipes as well as traditional dishes from today’s ranch cooks. Read first hand accounts, history, and rules of the trail.

Bring a taste of the West home with you!

Join me in Lubbock: I’ll be at the National Ranching Heritage Center on Saturday, July 17 beginning at 10:00 AM. They’ll be celebrating all things chuck wagon with authentic wagons and cooks. FREE admission, but donations are very much appreciated.

Chuck Wagon Event July 17th, click HERE for information.

The credit of a mobile chuck wagon in 1866 goes to Charles Goodnight, early ranch and Texas Panhandle pioneer.  Although I did find several accounts giving credit to his wife, Mary Ann, who suggested he use some type of food wagon to feed his cowboys on the long drive to a beef market in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The money was northward and that’s where he had to go with his herds. Miners, railroad construction crews, U.S. Army troops, and Indian reservations needed beef bringing the price to $40 a head. Well worth the months spent in the saddle. From his ranch near Palo Duro Canyon State park, the Colonel planned to fill that need.

The Goodnight-Loving Trail began in central Texas, went due west to avoid the Comanche home lands in northern Texas Panhandle, crossed the Pecos, Red, and Canadian Rivers, through New Mexico territory and northward to Colorado to the Pueblo and Denver rail-heads.  Sometimes advancing to Wyoming as the Cheyenne rail-head was serviced by the Union Pacific R.R. which led to western markets. The Chicago & Northern R.R. serviced eastern markets. The journey to these all important rail-heads could take three to four months.

Colonel Goodnight purchased an army wagon which had a heavy iron frame and wide-gauge wheels. Working closely with a wagon company, he designed a “chuck” box for the back with compartments and cubby holes to story provisions. A hinged lid lowered to create a work space for the camp cook. Beneath the chuck box was the “boot”, a large compartment for his cast-iron skillets, Dutch ovens, and kettles. A large wooden barrel was attached on one side to hold water. A large tool box was attached to the other side for balance. A dried cowhide “cradle” was suspended underneath to hold wood or cow chips. To protect the entire set-up from the elements, a large canvas tarp, or “fly”, could be stretched over the camp.

As with most things relating to a cowboys world, they formulated entertaining and colorful words to describe the world of the trail driver.  The cook had his share of titles: dough-roller, biscuit-shooter, sour-dough, dough-wrangler, cookie, sheffi, or cookie. Canned mild was called “canned cow”, gravy was “sop”, and molasses was “lick”. “Saddle blankets” were griddle cakes, “dip” referred to pudding, and a “boggy top” was a pie with one crust.

The golden age of cattle drives lasted only several decades, about from 1866 through 1885. As the railroads expanded their reach into Texas and barbed wire stretched across the open plains, the need for pushing cattle northward had ended. More than eight million longhorns made the journey from Texas northward before it was over, but the cowboy never faded away, only to endure as part of the legendary American west. His skills are very much relied on today by the ranchers and cattlemen who continue to produce the beef that feeds the world.

“A cowboy is an appetite ridin’ a horse.”