The CHUCKWAGON of the past was a type of field kitchen covered wagon historically used for the storage and transportation of perishable food, cooking equipment for feeding cowboys on cattle drives in the west. It also was a part of a wagon train of settlers.
The Chuckwagon concept was introduced by Charles Goodnight, a Texas rancher, in 1866. He modified a durable army-surplus wagon, studebaker wagon, as a traveling kitchen for the cowboys on the cattle drive from Texas to sell in New Mexico.
It had 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. A water barrel was attached to the wagon and canvas was hung underneath to carry firewood. A wagon box was used to store cooking equipment and personal items.
The “cookie” who ran the wagon on cattle drives would often act as cook, barber, dentist, and the banker. He was often second in authority only to the trailboss.
America Camping Xplorers consider the chuckwagon to include the use of your car, suv, trailer or motorhome as a field kitchen. The side pocket on a motorcycle or a section in backpackers pack can be considered a chuckwangon. You still storage and transport food, cooking equipment and personal items.
Also today, replica chuckwagons may be featured in cooking competitions and events.
Let’s keep the word CHUCKWAGON alive.