Who Is Kent Rollins, The Culinary Cowboy?

Imagine roaming the open plains of Oklahoma in an 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon. Imagine guiding hunters through the thin, cold air of 7000 to 12,000-foot elevations and cooking elk and mule deer deep in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn to prepare sausages and eggs, bake sourdough or buttermilk biscuits, and boil bitter cowboy coffee over an old firewood stove for cowboys' breakfasts on a ranch. This is the life Kent Rollins has chosen to live for over 25 years as a chuck wagon and cowboy cook working on ranches across the United States.

Born in a rural community near Hollis, Oklahoma, Rollins grew up surrounded by ranchers and farms (per Kent Rollins). According to an interview in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, his passion for sharing the cowboy lifestyle through food began when he helped his uncle cook for elk hunters in the early '80s. In the interview, he recalls having to pack supplies on a mule, and how he realized he loved experimenting with recipes on those arduous trips. This led him to buy and restore a 19th-century chuck wagon, and from there, he set out on a mission to feed hungry cowboys and people interested in preserving historic ways of life across the country.

Kent Rollins earns his fame

The centerpiece of Kent Rollins' cowboy cooking style is a handmade wood-burning stove named Bertha (per Kent Rollins). Designed to last a lifetime, Rollins has crafted hearty chicken pot pies, thick steak frites, creamy white chicken chilis, spicy baked bean casseroles, and more, with Bertha's hefty, 385-pound steel body. Rollins also sells handmade replicas of Bertha for those cooks willing to pay several thousand dollars to test their cowboy cooking skills (per Hasty Bake Charcoal Grills). The cast iron pan is another coveted staple of Rollins' culinary endeavors. Through his popular YouTube channel, Cowboy Kent Rollins, he teaches viewers to clean, season, and care for their cast iron cookware (per Kent Rollins). As he shares his knowledge of rustic cooking, Rollins provides an extensive archive of cast iron skillet recipes ranging from succulent seared chuck ribeye steaks, crunchy fried rabbit, and creamy tuna casseroles.

Throughout the decades, Rollins' journey to keep traditions of the American West alive and provide good, honest food for everyone has garnered him several television appearances on Food Network's acclaimed shows, per IMDb. In a 2010 episode of "Throwdown! with Bobby Flay," Rollins beat Bobby Flay with his chicken fried steak while they were cooking on a ranch, according to Country Rebel. He also appeared on "Chopped Grill Masters," "Chopped Redemption," and "Cutthroat Kitchen." In 2015, Rollins told CBS News that his background taught him "simplicity, most of all" and "being able to improvise" — an ethos he still carries today.