How Butter Pat was born over a Cowboy Cauldron. 

We admit it: we’re tired of winter, but even by the end of March, we could always use one more fire. For the cooking, of course, but also sometimes just for the friends we gather around them, especially after this last year.

A Cowboy Cauldron that lives by the smokehouse on our founder’s family farm in Sandridge South Carolina.

Most of you have probably seen our many references to the Cowboy Cauldron Company. Some of you have even noticed that our Lili skillet has its logo on the bottom. Well, we thought it was about time that we offered an explanation, as usual, in the form of a story.

Back in the late '90s, Mike Bertelsen, the owner of the Cowboy Cauldron Company, lived in Alexandria, Virginia, where I designed and renovated historic homes. Mike and I were both firebugs and Huck Finns, always out on the marshes of the Potomac River together, messing around with bows and arrows, canoes, and campfires.

The Cowboy Cauldron was born during those days in Virginia, and it was around the first cauldron that a thousand questions were asked, and often left unanswered, about cooking with cast iron over an open flame.


Before we began Butter Pat in 2013, we sourced, reconditioned, and sold thousands of vintage pieces of cast-iron cookware together - our warehouse is still full of the stuff - to chefs, home cooks, and live-fire enthusiasts, especially those with Cowboy Cauldrons.

In fact, the first place you could buy a Butter Pat Lili skillet, the very first Butter Pat skillet, was from the Cowboy Cauldron Company. Hence the tribute, still molded on the back of every 14-inch pan.

Eventually, Mike moved home to Salt Lake City, and Butter Pat set up shop across the Chesapeake on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Our conversations these days are more about supply-chain problems than how to build a teepee campfire, but whenever we get together, there is always a fire and a cast-iron pan.

We think Mark Twain would still approve. 



Cowboy Cauldron has a new 24” portable cauldron, The DUDE. Yup, fits in the trunk of a car. Check it out at, or wait around for the exclusive offer to Butter Pat customers.

March 18, 2021 — Dennis Powell