Last night I was pacing the kitchen, digging through the fridge, looking for something to eat. A few weeks ago I bought some flat-iron steaks on sale and stuck them in the freezer for safe keeping. There’s a start. I love my beef, but it’s nice to do something with it. On the counter I found my Trail Boss’ Cowboy Cookbook. There are some awesome beef recipes, plus it was a gift from my favorite person in Wyoming. So while I was cooking, I had some awesome reminiscing to do.

The Cookbook was compiled by the Society for Range Management (Facebook, Twitter) to promote the science and art of Range Management. Between the covers are recipes from trail bosses and large ranches from across the U.S., and 8 countries. Legendary ranches like the 6666, King, R.A. Brown, and several from Australia have included their recipes. Along with many of the recipes are the ranch brands and stories behind the families creating the filling dishes. It’s a pretty interesting read in itself.

Range management is of utmost importance, not only to livestock production, but also to a sustainable environment across the globe. Rangelands provide habitat for wildlife, recreation for humans, and act as a source of water and mineral resources. This 770 million acres in the U.S. also acts as a huge opportunity to harvest the sun’s energy for food production. However, these grasses and forage species are not the kind of food humans can gather and consume. Instead rangeland provides the primary source of grazing for livestock operations in Western States. Ranchers use livestock like cattle, sheep, and goats to harvest the forages, transforming the sun’s energy into a nutrient dense food we love! Contrary to many opponents claims, grazing is a vital part of sustainable rangeland ecosystems. Proper range management means “take half and leave half,” ensuring the health and diversity of these environments for centuries to come.

Cattleman’s Prayer

Now O Lord, please lend thine ear,
The prayer of the Cattleman to hear;
No doubt many prayers to the seem strange,
But won’t you bless our cattle range?

Bless the round-up year by year
And don’t forget the growing steer;
Water the land with brooks and rills
For my cattle that roam a thousand hills.

Now, O Lord, won’t you be good,
And give our livestock plenty of food;
And to avert a winter’s woe
Give Italian skies and little snow.

Prairie fires won’t you please stop,
Let thunder roll and water drop;
It frightens me to smell the smoke,
Unless it’s stopped, I’ll go dead broke.

As you, O Lord, my herds behold-
Which represents a sack of gold-
I think at least five cents per pound
Should be the price of beef the year round.

One more thing and then I’m through,
Instead of on calf, give my cows two.
I may pray different than others, but then,
Still I’ve had my say, and now, Amen!

–Author unknown, circa 1890

By the way I had some of the most awesome chicken-fried steaks out of that flat-iron. I got a few tricks from various recipes in the cookbook. BUT, you’ll have to wait until next week to hear more…. *Here’s the recipe* (Don’t worry, it’s one of those comfort foods, that hits the spot, and leaves you with that s.a.t.i.s.f.i.e.d feeling.)