Immigrant homesteaders in South Dakota once subsisted on salted pork, potatoes and bread, well earned after hard days in the fields. Luckily for modern travelers, things in this Heartland state are decidedly easier - while you may see some of these traditional staples as part of dinner’s spread they’ve been substantially improved upon with time.
In any case, whether admiring Mount Rushmore or boggling over the Badlands there’s no reason to do it on an empty stomach. Those with an aversion to chuck wagon cooking as experienced at the Spirit of the West Festival in Sioux Falls can rest assured that the bison which famously roamed these parts are still around, some of which are cultivated for juicy burgers, succulent steaks and other buffalo food products. Furthermore, beef is big in these parts, as are sheep, pork and poultry. There are also elk on the loose, favored by hunters, and Chinese ring-necked pheasants, the state bird, which go surprisingly well roasted with salt pork, an ear or two of locally grown corn on the side. Rutabagas were brought over by the Swedes decades ago, but you can expect to see them still, baked with apples and brown sugar. For dessert, think kuchen, a coffee cake with German roots now the official South Dakota sweet.