Nevada Northern Railway
National Historic Landmark        Ely, NV

YUM! You can cook a meal on the fireman's shovel of a steam locomotive
Try one of traditional favorites of road crews - Fireman's Hash
Correct, this is your oven!  Otherwise known as the firebox of a real, working, coal-fired steam locomotive

Iron Horse Cookery

Cook a meal on the Fireman's Shovel of a steam locomotive

It's true that our mission is about preservation. We have been acclaimed as the "Most authentic and best preserved historic railroad facility in America But it isn't just about preserving the equipment. That's an important part of it, but we also are all about preserving the stories of the people, mostly first-generation immigrants, who worked here.

We did not invent cooking in the firebox of a steam locomotive here.  That was the ingenuity of early train crews.  "During the day" train crews worked long days - sometimes 16 or 18 hours in a single day.  They could not take a break and go get breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The lived on the locomotive during their shift. They improvised food as they could, and often cooked on the locomotive.

We created the Iron Horse Cookery Cookbook to remember and honor these hard-as-steal railroad people who helped build America.   You can purchase our cookbook here in our online General Store.

In the mean time, take a look at a few of the videos to "wet your appetite" for more.  Like what you see?  We would love to have you "like" and subscribe to our YouTube channel.  There's more to come!

Seasoning Your Shovel

Frist things first.  Let's start with your shovel.  Just like your trustworthy cast iron frying pan at home, seasoning a new shovel is a critical first step.

Cooking Bacon on Locomotive 40

Bacon. Yum! This is a great place to begin. Not only do we get instant gratification, but it will also help to further season the shovel for all that is ahead on this adventure.

Eggs ala Shovél on Locomotive 40

Eggs can be tricky. Let's see how it is done right! 

Our Firebox Chefs have upped the ante on this one, rivaling the best Egg service this side of Paris.

Brakeman's Breakfast

This Dutch Oven delight is stove-top breakfast that combines all of the important food groups - Sausage, Hash Browns, Eggs, and of course, CHEESE.  Just wait until you take the lid off the finished meal.  Come hungry and leave satisfied.   

Shovel Steak

It's all about timing. A nice pink center is very achievable in the firebox.

Dispatcher's Chili

Let's go back to the caboose and do some cook'n on the cabooses iron belly stove in a Dutch oven. Nothing like some good, hot chili in the caboose on a rainy day.

Hobo Stew in the Caboose

We aren't actually going to give any of this fine stew to the hobos. They are going to have to fend for themselves out in the rain. As for us, we're using the Dutch oven again to prepare a stew from fresh ingredients.

Iron Horse Hash

This is the signature dish that is featured on many of the articles on our Iron Horse Cooking series. Learn how to make it yourself. We demonstrate how to do it on a snowy winter day here in Ely. Nothing finer than some nice, warm hash for lunch on a snowy day.

Firebox Chili and Cheese Fries

Who says that everything we cook in the firebox has to be healthy? The Chili and Cheese fries are fast to prepare, quick to cook, and yummy to eat. What could be better?

Switchman's Tacos

In this episode, we make Switchman's Tacos. Tacos? Hot and fresh out of the Firebox? For sure!!

These are the favorite of the switchman because they are warm and hits the spot after climbing up and down the locomotive all day to throw the switches. Do you think there will even be one left when the switchman returns?

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Comments (3)

Larry Blumberg (Concord, California, US) says...

I really enjoy your Iron Horse Cooking show. One thing you need to do is move the camera up so we can see the cooking when you are using that deep pot in the caboose


Thanks for watching!  We will see what we can do about the camera in the next filming.  

Larry Blumberg (Concord, California, US) says...

I really enjoy your Iron Horse Cookery show. The only thing you need to do differently is to move the camera up when you are using that deep pot when cooking stew and the like. I want to see that good food cooking from start to finish.

Doug Taylor (Sliver Springs, Nevada, US) says...

Back in the day. Did the crews have a shovel just to cook, or a clean uped coal shovel.


Thanks for asking.  Coal-fired steam locomotives usually carry a spare shovel onboard.  For crews that had the need and opportunity to warm something up at mealtime, the spare shovel was kept in good enough shape to do the job.  Fortunately, there is plenty of very hot water on a steam locomotive that is available at a moments notice to remove anything questionable on the shovel.