Friday, May 01, 2009

Camp coffee

I'm reminded of a 2003 piece that was written about what chuckwagon cook Kent Rollins had to say about camp coffee. The October 29 issue of the Chef2Chef Recipe Club said this about the Oklahoma wagon cook and his coffee:
Cookie’s first thing on the fire, and the last thing off; was for sure - The coffee; and some say - the most important part of a camp meal! Cowboy’s savored the aroma of smoky coals and aromatic scent of brewin’ Coffee in the air and the best of the cooks not judged by their cookin’, but by the tried and true brewin’ techniques learn’d along the way.
Like the coffee being poured by Dave Herzog last week at the IDOS Region II Dutch Oven Gathering, the wagon cook only knew one one method to make camp coffee. He boiled it. No "percolating, bubbling, gurgling and spewing drip coffee makers" allowed.

I perfected my coffee boiling technique under the watchful eye of Gunnery Sergeant Tingle at the U.S. Marine Corps 29 Palms base in July 1985. Seabee and Marine Corps cooks brought a 15-gallon pot of cold water to a boil. After cutting the heat, the cook poured a three-pound can of coffee grounds over the water and let it brew undisturbed.

Ten minutes later -- more or less -- the cook sprinkled a quart of cold water over the hot coffee to settle the grounds. Then using caution so not to disturb the settled grounds, the cook dipped the coffee into a waiting vacuum jug.

I can't say that cowboy cook developed the technique. It probably dates back to the early days of coffee. The cowboy process is the same. You need a "old large coffee pot, water and three handfuls of Cowboy Coffee." Here's the process:
Put enough water in the ole coffee pot to come up to the spout. Boil the coffee until your desired strength which can be determined by the color. The longer it boils - the Stronger it is. Pull off the fire and pour 1/2 cup of cold water to settle the grounds. Let set about 2 minutes and its ready.
The Recipe Club email recommended that you use "fresh roasted beans ground just before using," coarse-ground for boiling.

I bet Dave got a jolt from the coffee that was prepared by wagon cook Randy Brown. I sure did.

But, that's what it's supposed to do. It's coffee, "Guaranteed to get you goin’ in the morning."

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