Come and Git It !

Come and Git It!


Or at least that’s how we perceive the Chuckwagon Boss calling the cowboys to dinner. His voice ringing out against the clank of a “dinner” triangle…. Is that how it happened??

While some form of the kitchens in wagons had existed for generations, the term chuckwagon or chuck wagon is credited to Charles Goodnight, a rancher from Texas who introduced the concept in 1866. He modified a Studebaker Wagon, an army supply wagon, to suit the needs of cowboys driving cattle from Texas to sell in New Mexico. He added a “chuck box” to the back of the wagon with drawers and shelves for storage space and a hinged lid to provide a flat cooking surface. He then attached a water barrel to the wagon and canvas hung underneath to carry firewood.


Chuckwagon food typically included none-spoiling or easy to keep items like beans, salted/ cured meats, coffee, and ingredients to make biscuits. Food would also be gathered as they traveled.  On the cattle drives, it was common for the cook ,”cookie”,  to run the wagon and to be second in command — only to the trail-boss. The cookie would often act as cook, barber, dentist, and banker.

The term chuck wagon comes from “chuck”, a slang term for food.

Here is a really fun link that tells what kind of supplies a family headed West might pack for their cooking on the trail. It’s a very interesting site !

~ Jennifer Jakes

*Images are all old enough to fall under the 1922 domain law.

About jenniferjakes

Multi-award winning author telling the naughty side of the Old West ;)
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8 Responses to Come and Git It !

  1. Nancy S says:

    I’m reminded of a story my great-aunt told of their trip to Oklahoma Territory in a covered wagon. They lost their coffee grinder and had to beat the beans between 2 stones. Also, someone noticed the bag of beans had a hole in it and evidently they had been leaving a trail of beans behind them. Guess if there are beans growing wild in Missouri my relatives can be thanked for that. I loved hearing stories of that trip.

    • eroticwestern says:

      Oh, that’s a great story! I’ve got some research books that are women’s diaries of their trip west in the wagons. Some are funny — several are heartbreaking. Those people had to be tough to survive.
      Thanks for stopping by today!

  2. Clare O'Beara says:

    Great images! I read once that when a cow died on the trail, she would be butchered for fresh meat, and Cookie would cut up the intestine compete with part-digested contents, calling it the rumen, for stew. That way the men got some greens into them.

    • eroticwestern says:

      I bet they did! Good point.
      Rumen– LOL. That’s so disgusting. But I guess those men were so exhausted after a day of riding and cattle driving they ate whatever was put in front of them.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great photos and history! I’m continually amazed at the gutsiness of my/our ancestors, esp. the women.

    • eroticwestern says:

      I totally agree! I doubt the middle class-poor women ever had an easy day in their entire life!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Tiss says:

    Our pastor and her daughter just entered a competition where they make food in dutch ovens. over open fire. they won and are headed to a national competition. I think it’s cool.

    • eroticwestern says:

      Oh, that is cool! We do Civil War re-enacting and I’ve learned to cook some stuff in dutch ovens. I still burn the biscuits sometimes. LOL
      Thanks for stopping by today!

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