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Taste The Details: Cowboy Cuisine in Fort Worth, Texas

In the Old West, we can easily picture a scene set for cowboys, working hard on the ranch or out on the range. Most ranch owners wanted their cowboys to be well nourished, helping them stay healthy on the trail. This lead to cowboy cuisine, where fresh beef was the main feature, supported by food staples that traveled well and wouldn’t spoil. Steak, beans, wild game, fish — all plenty to keep a hungry cowboy fed.

In casting for a new industry to accelerate the city’s growth, it was natural to think of a meat packing house, as Fort Worth had long been a livestock shipping center. The reliance and prevalence of beef, coupled with its rich history of the wild west frontier and cowboys, has lead cowboy cuisine to be a linchpin to Cowtown’s unique and all at once typically Texan character, which is captured by the Fort Worth Stockyards and their famous twice-daily longhorn cattle drive. What typically is food prepared by chuckwagon cooks and cowboys out on the range is a staple to the West that consists of, but not limited to, long-stewed chili, chicken fried steak, and plenty of beef.

Though unlikely for most traveling foodies on paper, Fort Worth is a bubbling culinary hub that can hang its hat on cowboy cuisine yet still give shine to Vietnamese and Mexican fare. To fully experience the culinary diversity the city has to offer, look no further than the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, a perfect ode to not only capturing the cowboy cuisine of the city, but the deeper heritage of other cuisines that make up the vibrant dining scene.