Cowboy Stew

I’ve always loved hearing stories from my great uncle about the time of year he, his cousins, & his uncles would all get together & go round up cattle in the woods. His stories were so vivid, it’s like I was actually there, how I wish I could’ve been, the stories just sounded so exciting.

The cattle were in the woods to eat brush which kept the woods clean & those calves that were born while in the woods, never had human contact so they were technically a wild animal & did not come peacefully.

What comes next is that a lot of calves had to be roped or “bulldogged” in order to get them back to different family homesteads, as a result, injuries to cattle & the cowboys occurred often. Back when big cattle drives occurred to get cattle to market, if livestock were injured bad, they would be “put down” & the meat brought to the owner or was used on the drive to feed the cowboys.

Some of the “well off” owners would keep the meat that could be cut into steaks & give the cowboys the entrails; heart, liver, sweetbread (pancreas), marrow guts, spleen, kidneys, tripe (beef stomach), & sometimes the tongue because they frowned upon eating the insides.

So, fresh beef is fresh beef no matter the cut so the cowboys would cut up all the entrails along with vegetables they grew, potatoes, onions, etc. & smother it down. That is where the term “cowboy stew” originated where I’m from but there are different variations to what different people refer to as cowboy stew. The term used in South Louisiana for the combination of the beef entrails is “bouie meat” & usually can be found at slaughter houses or old time grocery stores that still cut hanging meat. We will concentrate on the meaning I was taught.

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