Yes, hog jowls (pork jowls) are a thing.

“When in Rome,” they say…

Spending the holidays in the
deep South, where I’m told it’s a tradition to have black-eyed peas for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.  Got ‘em.  The Evil Princess is cookin’ ‘em up with hog jowls.  (No. Not kidding. Not making it up. Not a Yankee dissing Southerners with Beverly Hillbillies stuff. Hog jowls are, apparently, “a thing.”)  And no, they didn’t have any possum shanks at the Market.


Wouldn’t be New Years without some trigger pullin’, so Bob Houzenga and I spent some time with Jim “Fast E. Nuff” Willis and Bob “Red Rob” George for an introduction to Cowboy Fast Draw as practiced by the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. (www.cowboyfastdraw.com . Bob and I had both shot years ago in SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society, where live ammo is fired at steel from Western-style six-guns, lever action rifles, and 19th Century style shotguns.  In CFD, all you need is the one single action revolver and holster, and you’ll be shooting wax bullets at 24” steel targets. The hit registers on an electronic timer, and you start with hand on gun, drawing and firing one hand only when a light flashes.  They were kind enough to let us shoot without the requisite cowboy togs.


“Fast E. Nuff,” left, and “Red Rob” show how it’s done. Guns are Ruger New Vaqueros in .45 Colt.


Lights on the 24″ discs indicate it’s time to draw and fire; hit time appears on LED readout.


Special casings take #209 shotgun primers to propel wax bullets.


Bob “Buck Staghorn” Houzenga, foreground, shows “how fast is fast.” Mas “Camelback Kid” Ayoob shows “how slow is slow.”




  1. Hog jowl is a very tasty thing. Almost a delicacy in the south. We like to carry it to the deer camp with us. Very similar to bacon.

  2. I met my wife in Pensacola Florida during my final tour. Needless to say, I learned that the collards, black eye peas and fat back were essential to survival into the new year. A Happy New Year wish to those backwards-leanin’ cowboy shooters. My old back would put me in my place at the first attempt to replicate that multi-articulated draw. A Happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours, Mas. I very much enjoy your work, wherever I find it.

  3. Darned if I know, Marc, Jim and Bob were kind enough to let us use their guns and ammo, and kinder still not asking us to clean them. I haven’t shot wax bullets since I was about twelve through fourteen — LONG ago! — but I remember them as being messy in the rifling, but easy to clean out.

  4. If I get depressed this year, all I have to do is remember that I could have been looking at President Hillary Clinton sitting in the White House. Yikes!

    I remember how I felt on Election Day. I thought Hillary was going to win. I was depressed, and kept thinking, “If Hillary does this, then I won’t resist, but if she does that, then I will.”

    When Donald Trump won, I experienced some of the euphoria I felt for three days back in October of 1989. That was when I heard that East and West Germany had reunited peacefully. I no longer felt that threatening nuclear cloud hanging over the planet. Who would have thought the Soviet Union would break up peacefully?

    The song, “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison comes to mind.

    I have no idea what’s in store for us in 2017. I am still a Prepper, but at least I feel better about the future. Ahhhh.

  5. My first gun was a Hanover double hammer side by side 12 ga. purchased for $10 from my grandfather at age 10. My second gun was a Mod. 62 Winchester pump .22 s/l/lr given to me by my Dad for my 12th birthday. They were both simple to use, safe to operate, exposed hammer guns that I learned to shoot and hunt with.
    As time progressed and my love and admiration of firearms grew, I, like most, “progressed” to more advanced and complicated weapons.

    Now, in my “Golden Years”, I have grown nostalgic for simpler times and realized that I had never owned a single action “peacemaker” type revolver. I purchased a Heritage Arms Rough Rider .22 rim-fire revolver on a whim and man, did the fun begin.

    The simplicity and the slowing down of the burn rate of ammunition during a day at my range has turned a new page in my love for the sport. Now I have a desire to buy a larger caliber, possibly a .38/.357 peacemaker clone if anyone has any suggestions.(can’t afford the real Colt)

    In the meantime, I will keep having fun with the Rough Rider which, for $125 out the door, is amazingly accurate, well built, and reliable. This is not a plug for the gun, it is rather, a plug for slowing down and trying “simple” for a low entry price.

    Happy New Year everyone! May God continue to bless y’all as He has me.

  6. First of all, I want to wish everyone a very safe and Happy New Year !
    Mas, thank you and Gail, and Bob & Rose for coming out to shoot Cowboy
    Fast Draw with us, for a great way to spend and celebrate the last day of 2016!
    In answer to, Marc-WI: everyone has their own recipe for cleaning their guns,
    however, we use a custom-made solvent that Cal Erlich, aka “Quick Cal”, the owner of C F D A had made, and sell’s in the on-line CFDA store!
    It works real good at loosening the wax, then use a nylon .45 LC bore brush
    a couple of times to remove wax, then as many patches thru barrel untill clean.
    Then use Rem oil inside and out of gun—same with the cylinder— takes about
    5 min to do one gun !!
    anyone interested in what we do, you can follow us on facebook,
    either by: Jim Willis or North Florida Gunfighters — to find a sanctioned affiliate
    CFDA club closest to you— or start one yourself !! ”Ride for the Brand”–

  7. Safe and happy new year to you all, and especially to our host that lets us come together here. Many more New Year’s Days to you and Herself, Mas.

    As for hog jowls, compare the price on that package above to “guanciale” which is an Italian cured version of same. A local farm-to-table restaurant near me offers such as a side dish, and it is some damn fine eating…if a tad expensive for an everyday thing.

    @ Roger Wilco: Did you see the story about how those of a Lefterly leaning are “prepping for the Trumpocalypse”? Or that there are “Liberal Gun Clubs” popping up because those crying over Clinton’s loss are scared of what Trump will do and arming against it? I figure at least Lefties will now start to understand all those guns they want to ban!

    @ Jim Willis: Thanks for the advice. Don’t do any SA shooting myself and not with wax, but I was curious about the cleanup.

  8. We’ve always heard that we eat pork on New Year’s Day because hogs root forward. Never eat chicken on this day, because chickens scratch backward! Mineral spirits dissolves wax. A little of that on a soft cloth will take wax buildup off of furniture, and it works on paraffin, too. We dissolve paraffin in mineral spirits and add linseed oil for weather-proofing our barn boards. I think you could add a bit of your favorite oil to mineral spirits so your gun is lubed after you swab and wipe off all the grime. Have good ventilation, and don’t use near ignition sources. I mix Seafoam (naphtha, alcohol, and kerosene) with oil for cleaning guns that shoot regular bullets. Again, think fire safety when using petroleum products.

  9. Funny. I must have seen a thousand quick draw gunfights on TV and the movies while growing up and never once saw anyone leaning back as they fired. In fact, they usually crouched down and forward and thrust the gun at their opponent as if to help launch the bullet.

    Matter of fact, Matt Dillon did it every week (then portraying the perfect facial expression of someone who did what had to be done, but was sorry he had to do it) before stepping over to the Longbranch to NOT have a quick shot of red eye and further frustrate Miss Kitty with his lack of interest.

  10. MichaelJT,

    Marshall Dillon, in the opening gunfight of every episode, was always a fraction of a second behind the bad guy in getting his shot off, proving that its not who gets the first shot off, rather the first to hit his target.

    Not taking away from the sport since it appears to stress the fastest hit as opposed to the fastest draw, bring both speed and accuracy into play.

    Had the opportunity to watch the first season of “Gunsmoke” a couple of months ago. I was surprised that in the earliest episodes, Matt Dillon was not the pillar of virtue and fair play that the character grew into later. He, against the protests of Chester, ambushed and killed a gang of desperados. Afterwards, Chester admonished him saying “you didn’t give them a chance!”. Dillon replied ” this kind you don’t give a chance.” I guess political correctness slowly began to affect Hollywood, even back then

  11. Dennis: the late Bob Munden in the “Fastest Gun Ever” videos may have been that. His shooting reflexes appear quick as lightning even in slow motion. He supposedly could get off a single-action shot in less than 2/100ths of a second by drawing with the right hand and fanning with the left. He was so fast it looked like he was going to put the bullet through his left hand after tripping the hammer! What a fun tradition (Heaven help us!) single-action revolvers have behind them, from Doc Holliday, Harvey Logan, Wild Bill Hickock, on and on. One might be smart to trade a carry semi-auto for a classic Peacemaker .45 Colt and a Bob Munson holster. I would still carry a semi-auto as well for backup firepower, though. Anybody ever see Munson shoot in person?

  12. Two-gun Steve, I did know Bob Munden, and did see him shoot in person. Every bit as fast as what you’ve seen on film. Some folks thought he came across as arrogant on TV, but in person he was a friendly guy and if you asked him, happy to show you how he did what he did. He didn’t try to keep it a “secret of the ninjas” thing.

  13. Dennis,
    In the immortal words of Wyatt Earp: “Fast is fine. Accuracy is final. You have to learn to be slow in a hurry.”

    Flies right in the face of today’s hi cap, spray and pray plastic gun aficionados.

    I’m going to to have to look up those early episodes of Gunsmoke. Chester was just about done on the series in my earliest recollections. Festus, in my opinion was a much better side kick. Usually presented as a simple minded fool, but in a tight spot, a deadly serious backup to Marshall Dillon.

    He rode a mule, which was supposed to be, to the uninitiated, a comedic prop. But to anyone who has ridden a mule during a mountain elk hunt, it made Festus appear much smarter than his horse conveyed compadres.

    Plus, Festus sang with the Sons of the Pioneers. Didja know that?

  14. I saw him shoot on tv one time with a 2 inch revolver. He shot a balloon at 600 yards. Granted, not on the first shot, but still a great showing of his skill with a handgun. And the arrogance thing on tv looked to me to be put on. I could bet he was a great man to be around. Some people you just get that vibe from.

  15. Looks like a terrific time for all! Enjoyed also reading the responses. Happy New Year Mas and friends.

  16. For anyone near south central Virginia, a butcher shop in Gretna has the best jowls I have ever had. My first revolver was a blackpowder 1860 Army that I loved shooting a locust post with on the farm. I recall the late lawman Frank Gamer had a single action he used as his carry gun most of his career. Inspired by his later years,I recently acquired a 1911 in 38 Super I hope to fire soon. My first 8 years in law enforcement was with a wheel gun and I often carry one concealed. Thanks for the work you do and those who contribute in their own experience and comments. Greensboro, NC

  17. As regular readers here know, I’m an old time radio fan. I can’t let the mentions of Gunsmoke go by without noting that IMHO it was one of the best shows ever produced on radio and, frankly, far superior to the television version that followed. I’ve heard all 400+ episodes, some several times, and never tire of it. For anyone interested, all or virtually all of the episodes can be played and/or downloaded here on one’s computer or smartphone:


    It was a show which wasn’t afraid to tackle sensitive or complex topics, and was well-written and acted.

    For a more modern western show, I’d recommend Tales of the Texas Rangers with Joel McCrea. It’s Gunsmoke meets Dragnet and, while not of the rarefied quality of either of those shows, is still pretty darn good listening.

    For those of you who haven’t tried old time radio, let me recommend it (especially while driving). The images you can make in your mind are usually far better than anything you can see on a screen and there is a huge variety of genres. Most of the shows – and almost all of the best ones – can be streamed or downloaded for free from the Internet Archive or multiple other sources.

  18. As I recall, William Conrad was the voice of Matt Dillon in the original radio version of “Gunsmoke”. He later portrayed Detective Frank Cannon in the TV series “Cannon”.

    Dave, I recall listening to the “Gunsmoke” radio shows as a child with my homemade crystal radio. I wonder if our tech savvy millennials have a clue of what a radio drama is, much less a crystal radio?

  19. Sirius/XM radio has old time radio dramas on one of their channels and I’ve heard William Conrad as Matt Dillon a few times.

    I’ve also heard that Peter Graves (original Mission Impossible), the brother of James Arness, was first offered the role of Matt Dillon but turned it down thinking the show would never last on TV.

  20. Dennis: That’s correct. He didn’t become the TV Matt Dillon because his physical appearance, though less rotund than in his Cannon days, didn’t match his voice. He was 5′ 8″ and round-faced; James Arness was 6′ 7″, lean, and craggy.

    Though radio drama was still around in my youth – it ended with the final episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (another of the very best series once Bob Bailey took the lead roll) and Suspense both on September 30, 1962 – my family had TV from before the time I was old enough to pay attention and I didn’t become a fan until I was well into adulthood. I now envy you for having heard it in its full glory.

    My younger son is also a fan, but my older son couldn’t care less.

  21. MichaelJT: That’s where I listen most these days, but sometimes I get a hankering for something specific and listen to the episodes at Internet Archive via my smartphone Bluetoothed to my car infotainment system. For those who don’t have satellite radio, however, but can listen via their smartphone (perhaps Bluetoothed to their car), there are several good variety and specific-genre old time radio shows available through TuneIn, a free app which offers radio stations from all over the world. search on “old time radio”.

  22. I well remember Johnny Dollar and Gunsmoke as well as another show that began, “Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men? The Shadow knows!”
    (The Shadow probably would have had a headache during 2016). Good show with great sound effects. I can vividly remember listening to all those shows leaning my chin on the arm of our sofa with my eyes staring at the radio.
    Kid’s (and adult’s) imagination made the whole thing “real.”

  23. There are several forms of fast draw in the US at this time. World fast draw, and Ohio fast draw are two of them in addition to Cowboy Fast Draw. Outside of Cowboy Fast Draw, the bulk of most of the other fast draw sports is done with the “fanning” method. In CFD, the “off” hand must be outside of the body before commencing the draw, and the shooting hand is positioned on the gun in the “lawman ready” position. This is done to help reduce the chance of guns dropping, which in CFD, results on loss of round. Visiting the Cowboy Fast Draw Association (CFDA) at cowboyfastdraw.com will afford the answer to almost any question one might have concerning the sport. At club level, we are very liberal with the provision of equipment and ammo to allow interested folks to try this sport at no cost. Only their time.

  24. Mas
    My wife insists on sauerkraut, black eyed peas, and any pork will do. This handed down from her Swedish family background, but fits in very well with us here in Florida. The kraut add an aromatic quality to the cocktail.

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