Country Chuckwagon Dinner
Living in the country with horses and cowboys, I love a good Country Chuckwagon Dinner. It doesn’t have to be authentic–out in the pasture cooked over an open fire. Just throw out a red checkered tablecloth, brew up some tea (or coffee), grab your cast iron skillet and guitar, and invite your friends!
The first time I served many of these dishes was at a Chuckwagon Dinner I hosted for our family and church. I set out tables with red checkered cloths under our awning and decorated them with jars of wildflowers from our pasture. The kids ran and the adults played horseshoes in the yard.
After dinner, we sat around an open fire and listened to songs on the guitar. It was a lovely evening.
It reminded me of those cowboy dinner music theatres. Have you ever been to one? Here in Kansas, we have the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper. And long ago, my husband and I attended one near Colorado Springs called the Flying W Ranch. I suppose that’s where I got the idea for the outdoor shindig.
Hosting a Country Chuckwagon Dinner
Baked Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon – These little appetizers are so delicious. And every chuck wagon dinner needs some “heat” so I highly recommend these poppers before your meal.
The Main Course on an Open Fire or Grill
Sirloin Steak that’s out of this world yummy. – Marinate the steaks overnight or for at least 6 hours, and then grill or cook over an open fire.
Steak and Pinto Beans – If grilled sirloin steaks don’t tempt you, perhaps this easy dish will. Cook Steak and Pinto Beans over a campfire and let everyone line up with their plates so you can serve them straight from the skillet. I’m reminded of a song by one of those wrangler bands – “Beans for Breakfast, Beans for Dinner, Beans for Supper, Lord, deliver us from that.”
Biscuits or Cornbread
Every chuckwagon dinner needs some form of bread, and either of these biscuit recipes are a perfect fit. Even better, served with apple butter! Yum!
Savory Southwest Biscuits –
or Sourdough Biscuits –
Skillet Cornbread – If biscuits aren’t your thing, try this cornbread recipe. It is amazing! Sweet and tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Again, another bread winner for your dinner.
A Few Cowboy Sides
Cabbage Bacon Salad – You’ll need a side dish or two for your dinner, and this cabbage slaw with bacon is a great match for the other items on this menu.
Pan Fried Country Potatoes is an easy recipe I make a lot for our family in the summer. Crispy, tender potatoes, seasoned just right with onion, bell pepper, and salt and pepper. So easy to make.
Kenny’s Cowboy Beans – No cowboy dinner would be complete without a side of beans. So, if you decide not to make the Steak and Beans above, please give these Cowboy Beans a try. This recipe from my oldest brother is a crowd-pleaser.
Fried Apples – The one time I attended the Flying W Ranch, they served fried apples as a side dish. I thought it was perfect, so I included it here. An apple a day…
A Perfect Ending to a Perfect Evening
Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting – Finish the dinner with a lovely spiced sheet cake topped with a buttery, caramel frosting. It could be fudge, it’s that delicious! And yes, you guessed right–it blends wonderfully with the fried apples.
Cowboy Cookies are a favorite in our house. Filled with old-fashioned oats, cornflakes, raisins, pecans, and coconut, they keep a person going in the afternoon and are wonderful to snack on.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a perfect ending to a summer dinner. I love that I can bake this cake in my cast iron skillet. That’s what I love about cast iron. You can go from stove top to oven in an instant. And this recipe is such a show-stopper! It really is quite beautiful.
I hope these recipes will inspire you to try your hand at hosting a Country Chuckwagon Dinner. If you do, I’d love for you to share your experience with me in the comments below! Happy Trails!
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