Tom Perini is as cowboy as cowboy gets with his Southern charm and down-home ranch cooking. Perini began his career as a cowboy cook on his family's ranch in Buffalo Gap, Texas, combining two passions: ranch life and cooking. He worked through traditional chuck wagon recipes and developed unique dishes, and after years of cooking at the wagon, Perini opened up the Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap. He is the author of Texas Cowboy Cooking, a coffee-table style cookbook.
On Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tom will appear at The Autry National Center in Griffith Park for a barbecue festival celebrating cowboy chow.
Chuck wagon facts:
• The First Chuck Wagon - During the early days of the trail drives, cowhands had to make do with what they could carry, leaving little room and time to prepare a hearty meal. To fill this need, Texas rancher Charles Goodnight created the prototype for the chuck wagon in 1866.
• The Cook Rules - It was even more true on the trail 100 years ago than it is today. No cowboy raised dust near the chuck wagon, nor would anyone think of helping himself to any of the cook's provisions. And no cowboy considered the meal over until he had deposited his dirty dishes in the pan for washing up.
• Flavor, Flavor Anywhere -- In the early days of chuck wagon cooking, getting the cowboys well-fed and back in the saddle was a higher priority than taste. The cowboy grub could be pretty flavorless, so chuck wagon cooks started experimenting with canned goods, such as tomatoes, to add more flavor.
The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Music Break -- Room 44 -- Seemon & Marijke