Wild West Party Foods

Updated April 17, 2017

A Wild West party needn't feature only authentic, Old West foods. While you may want to include some of these 19th century foods, others that are simply reminiscent of the Wild West work too. For example, "Better Homes and Gardens" offers menu ideas for a children's Wild West party that blends authentic and modern with hot dogs (smothered in barbecue sauce), baked beans, horseshoe-shaped biscuits and the campfire favourites'mores. Authentic or modern, the operative word for a Wild West party meal is "hearty."


The table setting can add a Wild West ambience to the party with items such as gingham tablecloths, oil lamps and cowboy coffeepots filled with daisies. Bandannas can serve as Old West-style napkins or bibs (another "Better Homes and Gardens" tip). Tin dishes and cups or decorative paper plates and cups can complete the table setting.

Main and Side Dishes

Whether looking at pioneer recipes, frontier foods or cowboy recipes, the main dishes almost always include a meat, although vegetarians may appreciate Old West favourites like macaroni and cheese and vegan chilli. When serving meat, consider traditional Wild West foods such as barbecue ribs, roast, chilli, Virginia ham and buffalo steaks or burgers. Children may enjoy sloppy joes and roasting hot dogs over a campfire.

Side Dishes and Snacks

One tasty Old West/Modern West side dish is slow-cooked barbecued beans topped with bacon and pineapple. Traditional Old West entrées include corn fritters, sourdough biscuits, pinto beans and corn bread. Real butter adds a nice touch, and children can make their own (an electric mixer replaces the churn).

Beef jerky, pickles, liquorice and old-fashioned, hard candy sticks are all authentic Old West snack foods. Trail mix and Buffalo wings add a Wild West flavour to the appetizer menu.


Wild West dessert menus may feature Old West favourites that are still big hits today, such as berry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie (for autumn parties) and strawberry shortcakes (for summer parties) made with sweet biscuits and topped with real whipped cream. Kids can take turns cranking homemade ice cream for another authentic Old West treat. Also popular at children's Wild West parties---decorated sugar cookies cut out in Wild West shapes, such as sheriff badges, saguaro cactus and wild mustangs.


Root beer, apple juice and lemonade are some Old West favourites that may also be popular with your guests. Serve in Wild West motif paper cups, frosty saloon style mugs, tin cups or canteens. For an adult Wild West party, also consider Old West drinks such as whiskey, hard cider and elderberry wine, as well as the modern day Wild Wild West Cocktail (bourbon, peach schnapps and cranberry juice).

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Cindy Blankenship, a California native, began reporting in 1996 for the Grants Pass Daily Courier after teaching in Hawaii where she lived 14 years. As assistant editor at the Rogue River Press, she wrote and edited several stories that earned awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Her writing appears in numerous publications.