All Fired Up for Chuck Wagon

Posted on April 28, 2021 by Tim in

Our Annual Chuck Wagon Festival is May 29 – 30th. It’s going to be great fun and great food. We’re all fired up about it. And fire is an important part of Chuck Wagons.  Well, NEXT to Chuck Wagons. You didn’t want the fire too close. Lol! Thanks, Tim

Nothing came easy on the trail, especially not the food. Cookie had to wake up before the cowboys to get the fire started. Cooking on an open fire wasn’t like cooking in an oven. Cookie had to consider wind, weather and wood. Having enough fuel for the fire was crucial and not always easy.

Just to get that pot of Arbuckles boiling, sometimes Cookie had to get creative. Instead of carrying piles of wood and taking up space in the wagon, they would gather wood as they traveled. They’d gather wood they found along the trail and throw it in a bag or box on the edge of the wagon.

Wood could be scarce on the trails, cows were not. “Cow chips” were a great source of fuel to get the food and Arbuckles cooking. They burned clean and long and were easy to come by. What exactly are cow chips? Dried cow poop – full of clean-burning grass.
(Thanks, Cow-orkers. Lol!)

To cook with a Dutch oven, the coals need to be cooked down and hot. Once the coals were ready, Cookie got the food in the Dutch oven and surrounded it with hot coals so the food would cook on all sides. There was limited space on the chuck wagon, but cookie made sure to pack a good shovel for the fire (and everything else) and some good cooking utensils.

The best way to learn about chuck wagons is to experience them for yourself. Don’t miss our Annual Chuck Wagon Festival May 29 – 30th at the Museum. Join us for this two-day, fun-filled family weekend showcasing Chuck Wagon and Native food samples, artisan demonstrations, live music, Western re-enactors, and more. Learn all about the Festival here.

And if you’re a member of the Museum you can come to both days of Chuck Wagon for free! And enjoy the Museum for the rest of the year as often as you like. Become a Member Today.

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Director of Security & Operations Services (and sometimes social media)