Son of a Gun Stew (Cowboy Stew)

Total Time
3hrs 20mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 3 hrs

There are more refined names for this very old stew from the cattle country such as son of a gun stew or S.O.B stew, but the old cowhands preferred this down to earth name. In the old cow camps of the Southwest when an animal was slaughtered out on the range to feed the hands, the first night a stew was made of the innards. In those days the stew was put into a cast iron pot and buried in coals. A Dutch oven or heavy kettle or large heavy frying pan with cover will do. You need to know your guests’ tastes before serving this. It’s good, usually, for a stag party, either a crowd of sportsmen or card players. Use all of the various kinds of variety meats—or omit any you care to, or can’t find in your market.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. First, prepare all the meats for the stew. Combine beef tongue and tripe in a kettle; add water to cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then lift out tripe. Let it cool slightly and cut into strips. Continue to cook tongue for another 30 to 40 minutes. Drain tongue and let it cool slightly, then pull off skin. Cut of fat and gristly portions and cut tongue into 1 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, soak kidney in salted water for about 1 hour, then cut into cubes, cutting out all white veins and fat. Cut beef heart and liver into 1-inch cubes. Parboil brains and sweetbreads in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes. Drain them and cut brains into 1-inch cubes. Remove membrane from sweetbreads and cut or break into pieces.
  3. Dice the salt pork. In a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle fry it until crisp and brown. Peel and slice onions and add to salt pork. Cook until brown. Add all pieces of meat except brains and sweetbreads. Cook meat in browned onions, turning and stirring frequently, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add hot water, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Crush marjoram and thyme and stir into stew. Cover and simmer for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until meats are tender. Add brains and sweetbreads and continue simmering another 30 minutes or so. If desired for thickening, blend flour with cold water and stir into stew. When stew simmers again and is thickened, it is ready to serve. (You may not want to thicken the stew). Serve with whatever you wish—steamed rice, mashed potatoes, buttered noodles—or lots of crusty homemade bread. Make 8 to 10 servings.
  4. NOTE: Some versions, notably from Texas, are thickened by sprinkling in a little cornmeal and served with corn bread.
  5. Soups and Stews The World Over.
Most Helpful

This is what the chuck wagon cooks would cook at the old timer reunion when I was a kid. It was wonderful then and is the same today.

jerryuttz October 11, 2007

I just cant see how all those diffrent meats together could make a good meal, Im sorry. I just dont.

Justin-kun May 19, 2007