BYERS, Texas — Acclaimed chuck wagon cook Kent Rollins was chosen among the nation’s top 16 grillers in a new Food Network series, Chopped: Grill Masters.
Rollins, named the Official Chuck Wagon of Oklahoma by its governor, is no stranger to competition; he has also been featured on the Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Other appearances include QVC, The Family Channel and PBS.
“It was the most intense competition I’ve been in, in my life,” said Rollins, “... and I rode bulls for years! I wanted to win for all the cowboys I have cooked for over the years who knew nothing but hard work. I was anxious to show America that this cowboy can take the heat!”
Rollins has been a featured performer and workshop leader at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. During his workshop Rollins taught locals the art of cooking a chicken fried steak worthy of beating Bobby Flay. Jan Petersen, an attendant of Rollins’ workshop, remembers, “The steak was crispy, fork-tender and absolutely fantastic!”
Rollins also made an additional connection to the Elko community when he married longtime resident Shannon Gallagher Keller. Although hailing from Oklahoma, Rollins considers Elko his second home.
“Elko is a great cowboy town full of heritage and the true spirit of the Old West. It’s also a great place to come during the summer to cool off from the Texas and Oklahoma heat!”
Rollins was raised in Hollis, Okla., helping his dad run a cow/calf operation. Along with cattle, cooking has always been a passion. Twenty years ago, Rollins took that passion to the trail and purchased a restored 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon and began cooking for working ranches.
With increasing popularity Rollins branched out to include on-site catering for events, gatherings and festivals. Now Rollins and his wife, Shannon, run Red River Ranch Chuck Wagon Catering.