Trail Stew

Kent Rollins Trail Stew

Howdy y’all, and thanks for stopping by the website! Today, I’ve recreated a recipe that was frequently made by Old Cookie for the cowboys out on the trail from about 1870-1890. The meat and vegetables would change from time to time, depending on what Cookie had on hand or could find in the wild, but it was always good.

The beauty of Trail Stew is that you can add different meats and vegetables to it depending on what you have on hand. I’ve chosen the ingredients that add the most flavor and to achieve the perfect thick stew broth texture. The stew also needs to be hearty enough to feed a herd of grown men who have worked hard all day long and haven’t eaten since breakfast. There is no lunch on a cattle drive.

I guarantee that this one will stick to your ribs. Let’s get on with it, now.

Beef & Bacon

Old Cookie probably didn’t have a lot of beef on hand, which is ironic given that they were usually bringing cattle to market on these drives. He may have had some salted beef or even some wild game that they picked up along the trail. I’m using a good Chuck roast and some bacon.

Stew usually takes a couple of hours. If Cookie wanted to make stew, he’d have to ride ahead and get started before they set up camp.

Why am I using bacon? A pound of bacon is going to add a lot of flavor, and it’s going to make the stew hearty and filling. Dice it.

Time to slice up the Chuck roast. Follow the lines of fat as you slice up the beef. Slice and dice along the grain.

Cook the bacon over high heat until it is done. Remove the bacon and leave the grease in the Dutch oven. Have the stew pot nearby so you can add the ingredients after you cook them in the Dutch oven. Put the bacon into the stew pot.

Tip: Cover the diced beef with flour. This will help thicken the stew.

Scrape the bottom of the pan from time to time with a wooden spatula to loosen up the brown bits of meat. These little bits of meat taste so good and we want to prevent burning. When the beef is halfway done, remove from the Dutch oven to the stew pot. Leave the grease and drippings in the Dutch oven.

Stew Vegetables

Stew is a great way to use up any vegetables you have on hand. Start with adding a whole white onion, diced, into the Dutch oven. I’m using mushrooms here because if Old Cookie came across some good mushrooms that he knew were safe for consumption, he would for sure throw them into the stew.

Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Dust again with flour. Just like with the beef, coating the onions and mushrooms in flour will thicken the broth. Add the mixture to the stew pot.

Tip: For more traditional trail stew, add dried and crumbled guajillo and cascabel chiles.

In order to keep the heat down a little bit, I’m using Rotel tomatoes instead of dried chiles or jalapenos. Feel free to add some dried peppers, jalapeno, Hatch, chipotle, whatever your taste buds prefer.

Pour the undrained Rotel right into the stew pot with the meat and vegetables. I’m using Hatch chiles to add some flavor without a lot of heat. Pour in the beans, undrained as well. Finish off with hominy, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced potato, carrots, and bay leaves.

Tip: Count the bay leaves so you can get them out before serving the stew.

To finish off the stew, add W sauce and Red River Ranch Original Seasoning. The stew should be plenty thick by now, so go ahead and add some hot water. Simmer for an hour or two over medium heat until the meat and potatoes are fork tender.

Tip: Heat the water you add to the stew to prevent cooling the whole pot.

Warm your Belly

As y’all can see, this stew is hearty and full of flavor. Each pot is going to taste a little different, but that good feeling of warmth you get at the end of a long hard work day when your belly is full will always be the same.

Now, I prefer crackers with this kind of stew. Shannon likes cornbread. Y’all leave me a comment on the video and let me know which you prefer. If you prefer something totally different, tell us about it! We’re always looking to try something new.

Thanks again for stopping by the website. Please subscribe to our YouTube video and hit “like” on this video. Come check back every Sunday and Wednesday afternoon for a new video. We’ll see y’all down the road.

Kent Rollins Trail Stew

Chuckwagon Trail Stew- Cowboy Kent Rollins

Servings 6 to 8


  • 1 pound bacon cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 ½ to 3 pound chuck roast trimmed and cubed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour divided
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces chopped mushrooms
  • 1 15 ounce can hominy
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans
  • 2 4 ounce cans diced green chilies
  • 2 10 ounce cans RoTel diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 15 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 russet potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 carrots sliced ½-inch thick
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Add the bacon to a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until about ¾ done. Remove and set aside.
  • Place the meat into a large bowl and season well, with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle in ½ cup of the flour and toss to coat well.
  • Return to the skillet, over medium-high heat, and add half of the meat. Cook until the meat has browned, remove from the skillet and place in a large stock pot. Repeat with the remaining meat. Remove
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they are soft, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle in the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix well. Add the contents to the pot.
  • Stir in the hominy, kidney beans, pinto beans, green chilies, Rotel, stewed tomatoes and beef broth. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, potatoes, carrots and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 45 minutes. Serve warm.
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