Yellowstone has become so much bigger than just the shows. It represents the “real” America and is often viewed as the only show aimed at red states. Starring Kevin Costner (seemingly against his will), the series focuses on the Dutton family, landowners in Montana who want to keep their piece, no matter what developers, native people or environmentalists say. The only episode I’ve ever seen of the series (“The Dream Is Not Me” season, which was shown before the infamous Paley Fest panel, for which feuding Costner and Taylor Sheridan were a no-show). three various montages about the Duttons’ disappearing lifestyle and all the idyllic splendor it offers. Yellowstone isn’t just a show, it’s lifestyle porn. (Paley Fest attendees in cowboy hats and boots attest to this.)
The Yellowstone Brand (pardon the “livestock” pun) has now expanded into a cookbook. Chef Gabriel “Gator” Guilbeau — who went from managing craft services on set to a small, eponymous role on the show — was fired Yellowstone: The Official Dutton Ranch Family Cookbook earlier this month. It’s what every dad gets for Christmas this year, whether he likes it or not. The recipes reference foods that have appeared on screen, behind the scenes as cast fare, and pre-series foods from his Cajun heritage. “There’s definitely no hiding it,” he told Vulture of his Louisiana roots. “So I totally embraced it.” He prefers meals that can be cooked over a campfire, as well as meals that can be scaled up to feed an entire cattle drive/television crew.
To fully immerse myself in the cowboy lifestyle, I’m letting the flavors of Chef Gator into my life for a weekend and learning how to eat like a Dutton. Unlike its predecessors Yellowstone is about making the rustic optional. But I wanted to understand what was so appealing about this mood 12 million people, starting with the food most associated with the show. Could John, Kayce and Tate’s Glazed Venison Balls recipe help? Country-back-Avowed coastal elite to the Dutton way of life?
The immersion began almost immediately and tactically as I picked up the cover of the book, which has a faux leather finish and the large format Yellowstone “Y” is embossed into it. It was kind of gross to touch. There’s already a level of visceral sensory information that’s off-putting to my lily-green greenhorn ass.
Chef Gator prefers meals that can be prepared over a campfire, as well as meals that can be scaled to feed an entire cattle drive/television crew. The images in the book are so appealing, bathed in golden sunlight and smothered in butter.
Would you be shocked to learn that the official cookbook for a show about ranchers contains a lot of beef? There’s beef chili, rib-eye steak, beef stew, flank steak, pot roast, hamburger mac casserole and even homemade jerky.
Chef Gator has selected recipes that work well over an open flame—like a campfire in the middle of Big Sky Country. “Something like a steak needs the incredible heat that you get from an open fire,” he said. “Very few people get the stove as hot as I’d like it to be.” Cooking your steak in the oven just isn’t cowboyish. It’s practically French.
Photo: Bethy Squires
Speaking of cooking food in the oven: Many of the recipes in the Yellowstone Cookbook are prepared in a cast iron skillet. Dishes like butter-fried shrimp are even served in the pan in which they were prepared. Cast iron pans are popular because (1) they look cool and (2) they are versatile. You can fry it, fry it, or even bake something like cornbread in it. Cast iron can also be used as a weapon, which could be useful if your life is as conflicted as John Dutton’s.
I made two recipes: Rip’s Fry Bread and Rodeo Cowboy Caviar. According to the book, Rip (Cole Hauser) baked fry bread for Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) after their first night together. It is a staple in many Native American households. The roots of cowboy caviar are now hotly debated, and some see it as such Texas Heritageand others call it gentrified Pico de Gallo. (The fact that I used store-bought pico as a substitute for Gator’s hand-chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and cilantro doesn’t help the Texas heritage case.) These two dishes went well together, but also spoke to the delicate location Yellowstone has in American culture. There are roles given to indigenous actors, although some find these roles “delusional”! Deplorable!” It entertains thousands of people, but plays on tropes that plague our society and cause division. The cowboy caviar is banging, though. It’s like a three bean salad isn’t gross. Truly groundbreaking.
Gator says that most Dutton dishes are just a big shot of whiskey: “That’s why there are cocktails in the back.” Let’s face it: Who has time for elaborate meals (even if you have your own chef to prepare them), though busy running for governor, plotting to steal a baby, or whatever Jamie does in a day? Next time I make cowboy caviar, I’ll serve it with Beth’s “two scoops of ice cream, three shots of vodka” smoothie. That’s what Taylor Sheridan would have wanted.
https://www.vulture.com/2023/09/yellowstone-cookbook-recipes-dutton-food.html The chef shares Dutton’s food rules