What Exactly Is 'Cowboy Butter' and Why Is It Popular Right Now?

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In a world of pasta chips and whipped hot chocolate, it's hard to imagine a world without TikTok food trends. Sometimes, the recipes are totally new and unique, while others are pre-existing ideas that suddenly go viral. Such is the case of cowboy butter, a condiment that's currently trending.

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Cowboy butter is a sauce made with, well, butter. To make it, you simply melt butter on the stovetop or in the microwave, then mix in ingredients like minced garlic, Dijon mustard, chives, lemon, and fresh herbs like parsley and thyme. Depending on the recipe, the sauce might also call for seasonings like red pepper flakes, cayenne, and paprika.

Typically, the concoction is served as a steak dipping sauce — but it's just as tasty with other meats like chicken, beef, or shrimp. People also love it with roasted vegetables or even on garlic bread.

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The history behind its origin and name is a mystery, though. As one person said on a TikTok about the sauce, "I bet it's delicious, but no cowboy in history ever carried around those ingredients while out on horseback or on the ranch." They've got a point.

Worth noting, "cowboy butter" has been mentioned in several older news articles about Mr. Donahue's, a Southern diner in New York City that is now closed. For example, in 2016, Time Out reported on the restaurant's cowboy butter, which was served with hearty proteins.

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Compound butter, or butter seasoned with flavorful ingredients, also isn't new. According to The Food Dictator, there's a version in France made with lemon juice, parsley, and garlic, which is similar to the viral cowboy butter.

As for its sudden popularity? It might be due to popular content creators simply sharing recipes. Last month, TikTok user @JortsKitchen shared the condiment in a video, which now has more than 12 million plays and 1 million likes. Since then, people all over social media have been recreating the recipe and pairing it with myriad foods.

Personally, we can't wait to try it with mashed potatoes or eggs. Yum!

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