The Chuckwagon Cafe, Moscow, TexasOUTDOORS EATING, QUIRKY PLACES, STAFF, USA MAINLAND — By Teresa Davis on October 5, 2012 at 03:45
Story by guest blogger Teresa Davis. Photos Copyright © Teresa Davis.
IN THIS DAY and age of fast food and drive-thru, it’s nice to find a cafe where you can go in, sit and enjoy a really great meal.
In Moscow, Texas—and “Yes, Virginia, there really is a Moscow, Texas”—there is such a cafe. My brother-in-law, Mike Atchley, and my sister Brenda own The Chuckwagon Cafe. The cafe was named after the actual chuckwagon owned by my brother-in-law.
Have you ever wondered what it was like on a cattle drive? How would you like having the job of feeding 75 men, out of the back of a covered wagon, on a campfire, three meals a day? Well, that’s exactly what my brother-in-law Mike does from his 100-year-old chuckwagon. He caters, and schools also bring their students on field trips to learn how they cooked on trail drives.
People love to just come by and see his wagon with all the provisions it holds.
When Mike has his wagon at functions, people love to just stop by, stand by the fire and have a cup of coffee. He first begins by building a big fire. Then after the coals are really hot, he digs the coals out and places the pots in the coals. He then covers the pot lids with the hot coals.
It’s amazing to watch people’s faces when he pulls the lids off the big cast-iron pots and they see browned biscuits or potatoes, or sometimes even a cake. If you have never tasted potatoes cooked with onion and bell pepper in an iron pot on coals, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Here’s a recipe Mike cooks:
Basic Frijoles (Beans)
2 cups red beans
6 cups water
½ lb. Salt pork
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 T. salt
black pepper to taste
Wash and sort beans. Soak beans overnight. Pour off water and start with 6 cups new water. Add salt pork, onion and garlic. Bring beans to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done. Add water as needed. Do not add salt and pepper until beans are done.
Mike makes what is called cowboy coffee. He fills a tin coffee pot with coffee and water and places the pot on the fire. He lets it boil and boil until he thinks it’s strong enough. Then he takes it off the fire and lets it set for five minutes so the grounds will settle to the bottom. Then, carefully pour your coffee. This coffee is so strong it’ll grow hair on your chest, as we say here in Texas.
The Chuckwagon Cafe was designed to arouse a feeling of the West when you walk in. The first thing you’ll notice is the large tree trunk standing in the middle of the cafe. It has limbs protruding with saddles hanging on them, but also it’s a place to hang your hat. There are pictures of the ol’ West, ropes, and various other cowboy memorabilia hanging on the walls, along with large cast-iron cooking pots stacked around the room.
Everyday of the week a lunch special is written on the large chalkboard on the back wall. You can also order from the menu, if you so choose. Most of the time, it’s children who gravitate toward the blackboard, and chalk is always available for little hands to show off their artwork.
Everything from the chicken-fried steak to the hamburgers are made fresh when you order them. I have spent time cooking in that kitchen. I’ve had egg batter all over my fingers while battering the chicken-fried steaks, so I know everything is homemade. You can always find several trays of rolls rising on a shelf in the warm kitchen.
Every Friday and Saturday night is always steak night. Nice thick rib-eye steaks, seasoned to perfection, with your choice of baked potato or twice-baked potato, salad, corn and fresh rolls.
Wooden floors, all-you-can-drink sweet tea and colas, fresh made pies and cakes everyday, brightly-colored checkered tablecloths along with a smile is what you’ll find at The Chuckwagon Cafe. You can sit on the porch in one of the rocking chairs or do some shopping in my sister’s shop, Cadillac Cowgirl, attached to the cafe.
No one eat until Cookie calls.
When Cookie calls, everyone comes running.
Hungry cowboys wait for no one.
Cowboys eat first, talk later.
It’s okay to eat with your fingers; the food is clean.
Food left on the plate is an insult to the cook.
If you come across any decent firewood, bring it back to the wagon.
Strangers are always welcome at the wagon.
If you ever find yourself driving down Hwy. 59 South through Moscow, TX and you spot the sign, The Chuckwagon Cafe, you simply must stop in and have a glass of ice-cold sweet tea and a slice of pecan pie.
FTC Compliance Notice: This is an independent review written by Teresa Davis. When she works as a cook at The Chuckwagon Cafe, she is paid for her work but she was not subsidized in any way in order to write this post. For more information on FTC Compliance, see Site Policies.
TERESA DAVIS was born and raised in Texas. She is a writer on HubPages (tjdavis), tweets as @iluvmnts4x4 and blogs at teresadavisblog.com. She has a great family—husband of 18 years, two grown daughters and a wonderful granddaughter—and she loves travel and adventure!