Cowboy Hash

Cowboy Hash, cooked up fresh just this mornin'!

When the wintry weather just won’t abate, like it won’t here this year, I suggest you drown your frustration in Cowboy Hash. Like I did this morning.

Cowboy Hash is the supreme comfort food, and every time I fire up the frying pan to make it I’m transported back to my 12-year-old self standing on the banks of the Devils River in South Texas, watching in awe as Uncle Gilbert cooked up this wonderful concoction in a cast iron Dutch oven over an open fire.

My uncle was the foreman on a 16,000 acre sheep ranch that the river ran through, and I spent every spare day, week, or month I was allowed to there with him — exploring the vast wilderness, riding roundup with the ranch hands at shearing time, meandering along the riverbank bareback and alone on Old Jim, and learning about all things wild and rivery from Gilbert . . . including Cowboy Hash.

Here’s how you make it, for 3 or 4 hungry folks:


  • Chop up 2 or 3 large potatoes into small cubes.
  • Ditto with one large onion.
  • Ditto with 1 lb. of bacon, making sure all your little chopped pieces are separated so they fry up nice and crispy and don’t stick together.
  • Fry all of this until it’s nice and kinda crispy, adding salt to taste and LOTS of finely ground black pepper.

That’s all Gilbert used to do, and it’s still just about my favorite version of this dish. But sometimes, like this morning, I add things like a humongous chopped up jalapeno pepper or two, with lots of the seeds included, some paprika, and some onion flakes just for added crunch and pop. Today I had a couple of folks over and, while winter’s last gasp (hopefully) was hitting the windows in the form of sleet, we downed our Cowboy Hash with a fried egg on top and some Louisiana hot sauce.


Now, of course, the sun is trying to peep back out, all of which weather pattern is typical this time of year in Northern New Mexico. It does get old, very old, but this morning it sure was a great excuse to fry up a batch of Cowboy Hash.

And if you’ve never heard of the Devils River, which most people have not, it’s truly one of the most amazing and still-pristine places on earth. Here’s what the Organization of Biological Field Stations has to say about it:

At the southwestern corner of Texas, in Val Verde County, is an oasis. One that brings life to an area of dramatic contrast. Secluded and undeniably breathtaking, the Devils River winds its way though some of the most visually striking land in the state.  Many fish species found nowhere else on earth call the river home. And because dams, pollution and development have never corrupted its course and flow, the Devils River constitutes a biological community that has remained substantially unaltered over time.

My Beloved Devils River

I doubt I will ever see that river again in this lifetime, which makes me really sad. But thankfully I have the memories . . . and the immediate gratification and comfort, any time I want it, of that fabulous riverbank fare, Cowboy Hash.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kim said,

    Hi there. I was just wondering if you have a recent picture of your dog? She looks like our long haired chihuahua. Ours is now 4 months old, his long fluffy fur has fallen out, and we’re wondering what he’ll look like when he’s grown?


    • 2

      Hi Kim – I’ll take some new pictures of Frida, who is now 1 year and 3 months old and put them up! She has topped out at just under 5 lbs. Would love to see a picture of your little guy! If you send me one — and his name — at I’ll put his picture up with Frida’s! Thanks for posting. Leta

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