Old Western food, is it as good as they say?

Cassidy Hanton

Howdy, my sweethearts! 

I hope y’all have been okay and happy!

As I was reading about the Old West, I started craving the delicious traditional food. 

Have you ever had the chance to taste it? If not, then you have to try it. It’s the most delicious thing ever. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

The meat, the breads, the syrup, eggs, potatoes, dried fruit pies, cakes and so much more are just some of the amazing foods they had back then!

Dutch Oven Bread

First of all, a Dutch oven is a must if you want to cook old western food!

And although this is not the most unique food on this list, it is an honorable mention. The amount of effort it takes to make homemade bread is enormous and impressive (I’m looking at you, wonderful housewives!).

It was the same for the Old West. Many people didn’t have the money to run to their local store and buy bread, so they would make it themselves! 

There is obviously more than just one recipe for bread, but I will share with you my absolute favorite one… Pan de Capo!

Even though it’s more of a southern food instead of western, it’s widespread in other states too. The ingredients are simple things you can find everyday, but it’s harder than you think to make it! Trust me, I’ve tried 😀


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

6 tablespoons shortening, slightly chilled (can also use lard)

3/4 cup whole milk

​How to Make

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, start mixing all your dry ingredients together and once everything is okay, start mixing your wet ingredients too. Start kneading the dough ‘till it’s perfect and transfer it into the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes and it’s ready to be served (once you remove it out of the oven, of course).

The Old and Famous Salt Pork!

Salt pork has been a popular food for centuries now, but it grew in popularity around the 19th century. It was used during the Civil War, providing them with the nutrition (and taste) they needed.

Today, it is used in the western cuisine quite a lot, especially in Boston Baked Beans (another delicious food, but that’s for another time!). 

The preparation is pretty simple; You simply rub a piece of belly pork with salt and leave it in the fridge for several days (you can keep it up to 2 weeks) until it gets firm and then…voilà! You are ready to make the most tasty dishes!

The Delicious Taste of Dirty Rice

Just how yummy can a dish named “Dirty Rice” be? Well saddle up, my loves, because once you taste this, you will never go back!

Originating in South Louisiana… I know, I know! It’s technically not a western frontier area. However, cowboys from the Wild West traveled all the way there and eventually, it became popular in that lovely land too!

As I was saying, South Louisiana’s rice crop was , and still is, abundant! Rice was so inexpensive back then and thus, easily available. This is a bit more complicated than the previous ones, but it’s so worth it.


1 tablespoon olive oil

8 oz lean ground beef

8 oz bulk sausage

1/2 cup minced chicken liver optional

1 medium onion diced

1 green pepper diced

1 cup diced celery

3 cloves garlic minced

1 1/2 cups white rice uncooked

3 1//2 cups chicken broth I use low sodium

2 bay leaves

salt & pepper to taste

​How to Make

Heat your olive oil over medium heat in your dutch oven. Afterwards, add your beef and sausages and cook it ‘till it’s well done. Add onion, green pepper, Cajun seasoning and garlic and stir ‘till it’s softened. Add your rice and broth and reduce the heat. Simmer it covered for 20 minutes… aaaaand it’s ready!


A Dessert to Die for! Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie tastes exactly how you would imagine… heavenly!

This amazing pie first made its appearance in the southern USA, in the colonial ages. That makes it a truly historical dish! It’s speculated that this food was most likely developed by African-American slaves, just like most sweet potato recipes. 

Regardless of its history, it’s one of the best things you will ever eat!

Once again, you will have to put some effort to make it, but it’s a wonderful addition to your dinner table.


2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs 

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

​How to Make

Place your sweet potatoes in a medium pan and add water to cover them. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat, uncovered. Keep doing this ‘till they’re tender. Afterwards, drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Mash them until they’re very smooth and let them cool at room temperature.

In a bowl, cream your butter and sugar and add the eggs. You need to mix it very well. Now add your milk, your mashed potatoes, your cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix them very well once again. Finally, pour it inside the pie shell and bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake until the knife comes out clean for about 35-40 minutes longer.

Cowboy Cookies to Sweeten You!

These cookies originated from cowboys. Totally unexpected, huh? Who would have thought! Jokes aside, their name is well deserved.

As cowboys on the trail needed their nutrition, these were the first ever “power bars”. They were easy to make and easy to carry, so they could snack on them whenever they wished!

Even though they’re not my favourite, eating them will bring out your inner wild western spirit! 

The earliest recipe I could find was from the 1950’s, but the tradition remains the same! 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the “how to make” part of it, so I tried improvising based on how I usually bake my cookies. You should try that too and I promise; you won’t regret it.


2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup margarine or butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

As it turns out, Old western food is more diverse and delicious than we originally thought! A lot of care and preparation went into it and everything is just so wonderful!

Just thinking of the endless hours our ancestors spent making them, makes me wish I was back there with them!

I really hope you enjoyed this article, my loves!

Please feel free to comment and do tell me if you have tried any of those recipes, I would love to know. 

I hope you stay safe during this difficult time, my loves! I’d hate if something happened to you and I pray for your safety.

Until next time,

Written by Cassidy Hanton

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