Along the trail, the staples of a cowboy diet consisted of beans, hard biscuits, dried meat, dried fruit, and coffee. Occasionally, a type of bread known as pan de campo (or “camp bread”), which was cooked on a skillet was also available. These along with a little bit of sugar were the staples of the chuckwagon pantry.
Pinto beans were the choice of the cowboys, and they were even better if the cocinero had some chili peppers to add spice. Out on the trail, the chuck wagon cook soaked beans in a pot during the day.
Along the trail, cowboys ate meals consisting of beef, beans, biscuits, dried fruit and coffee. As cattle drives increased in the 1860s, cooks found it harder and harder to feed the 10 to 20 men who tended the cattle .
Although cowboy appears in the name, the use of canned beans , ketchup, and barbecue sauce means the dish is unlike anything ranch hands would have eaten in the 19th century. Cowboy beans are served stewed or baked, depending on the recipe.
Yes and no. First off, alcohol was more common because it was a lot safer than water. Alcoholic drinks kept longer, and it was easier to transport. Also, drinks like beer and whiskey were a lot lower in alcohol content.
A good knife. The first thing that any cowboy had was a good knife. Guns and ammo. Few cowboys roamed the West without a firearm. Fire-starting. A tinder box was an essential piece of every cowboy’s kit. Canteen of water. Cookware. Food. Fishing line & hook. Piggin strings.
Canned peaches, pictured above, were a staple, along with various other dried fruits. Many cowboys would snack of “cowboy biscuits”, though — being comprised solely of flour, water, and salt — it’s not really fair to count them as a dessert . For a special occasion, cowboys might have apple dumplings or vinegar pie.
They slept in their daytime layers of clothing (wool pants, cotton or cotton flanel or wool long-sleeved shirt, full-body long underwear of cotton or wool (and a thicker wool version in winter), at least one pair of wool socks while in winter it might be three pairs of socks, often a vest (buttoned up and made of wool
Breakfast – Corn bread , cold bread , stew, boiled eggs. Dinner – Soup, cold joint, calves’ head, vegetables .
Cowboys were undoubtedly the most devoted group of coffee drinkers in the West. As a rule, they liked it strong, scalding hot, and barefooted (black). They derided weak coffee as dehorned bellywash or brown gargle. A pot of coffee steaming over an open fire or on a bed of hot coals was a fixture on cattle drives.
The more plain saloon would serve cold cuts, or yellow cheese; beans, stalks of celery — whatever was easy to procure and inexpensive to serve . Above all, the free lunch featured salted food : pretzels, rye bread, smoked herring, salted peanuts, potato chips, and dill pickles.
Bacon was a staple on trail rides and at line camps. The cowboys were actually eating “sowbelly.” It was pork fat from the belly, and perhaps the back and sides, of a hog carcass, cured with salt. Sowbelly could last a long time without spoiling.
To prepare the bed for sleeping , the cowboy laid it out with the tarp folded roughly in half at the middle, creating a near-square 6–7 ft. wide and 7–9 ft. long, and centered his bedding between the two long edges, with the top side of the tarp (2.5 to 3 ft.