Campfire Bannock

This bannock is delicious cooked over hot coals on a camping trip.

Campfire Bannock

Origin: Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
Region: West (Alberta)
Period: 19th Century
Course: Breads and Pancakes

Cowboys lounging in tent Photo of cowboys
© Glenbow Museum, NA-1035-6

Cowboy work was tiring and hard, and round up camp cooks were responsible for feeding a number of hungry men far from the comforts of home.

The cooks would make up a large batch of campfire bannock and provide it as a quick snack for the riders when time and circumstance did not allow for a hot meal. On the range, bannock was usually served with ‘Charlie Taylor’, a mixture of bacon grease and molasses.

Bannock came to Canada with the fur traders and has been in continual use since then. It was a staple in pioneering culture, and is prominent in the western Canadian Prairie diet.

Campfire Bannock


  • 2 cups | 200 g flour
  • 2 tbsp | 20 g baking powder
  • 1 tsp | 5 g salt
  • ⅓ cup | 80 g lard or butter
  • 1¾ cups | 330 ml water or a bit more if needed
  • Lard for frying
  • Butter and jam for serving


  • Mix flour, baking powder, salt, fat and water to make a soft dough. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  • Melt a chunk of lard in a large cast iron frying pan or Dutch oven. Once hot, spread the bannock in the pan. Cook on one side until well browned and crusted, then turn over and cook the other side. Serve with butter and jam.


Recipe tested by Chef David Fairbanks, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

From the cookbook Come’n Get It by Beulah Barss who found it in Charlie Lehr’s notebook at the High River Museum, High River, Alberta. Published by Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. ISBN # 0-88833-102-9