Born and raised along the bank of the Red River near Hollis, Oklahoma, Kent Rollins spent childhood through adulthood helping his father manage local cow-calf operations while simultaneously taking care of their own herd.
At the start of his career in cooking, Kent would guide and feed hunters deep in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico with his uncle. In 1993, he bought a chuck wagon and began cooking for ranches, later expanding into catering. In recognition of Kent’s preservation of a historic way of life, the governor of Oklahoma proclaimed Kent the Official Chuck Wagon of Oklahoma in 1996.
Today, he proudly carries on the legacy of cooking for cowboys on ranches during spring and fall gatherings, a rare tradition few follow. Kent and his wife, Shannon, continue to travel the country feeding the Western community and those intrigued by their distinct and historic way of life.
In collaboration with Cowboy Cook Kent Rollins, we bring you his hearty one-pot breakfast casserole recipe intended to keep you full and energized throughout a rugged day out West.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
· 10 small red potatoes
· 1 lb. bacon cut into bite-sized pieces
· 1 lb. ground breakfast pork sausage
· 1 white onion chopped
· 1 red bell pepper chopped
· 1 roasted poblano pepper chopped
· Kent’s Original Seasoning to taste available at kentrollins.com, or salt and pepper
· 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
· 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
· 10 eggs divided
Use a 12″ Dutch oven. This is a big recipe, and a regular skillet or saucepan will not work.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly butter the Dutch oven.
Grate the potatoes with a cheese grater into a bowl and cover with water. Set aside.
Add the Meat
You can cut the bacon into pieces before putting them in the pan, or you can crumble them after. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is cooked, remove the bacon and place on a paper towel. Leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the skillet for maximum flavor and discard the rest.
Crumble the breakfast sausage into the bacon grease and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Tip: Never use metal utensils on cast iron. This will harm the seasoning. Instead, wood is best.
Add Peppers & Onions
Use a hash knife. Start by chopping a white onion and a red bell pepper. Add them to the sausage.
Now, roast a poblano pepper, peel and remove the seeds to limit the spice level. If you want it spicy, do not remove the seeds. Dice and add to the pan.
Stir into the sausage mixture and cook until the peppers and onions are tender, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with Kent’s Original Seasoning.
Tip: While the roasted poblano is still hot, place inside a plastic bag with a tablespoon or two of water and set aside. In roughly five minutes, the skin will easily peel off.
Drain the potatoes from the water and pat dry with a towel. Then roll them in cloth and squeeze to drain as much moisture as possible. Add to the pot.
Tip: Rolling grated potatoes up in a large piece of cloth removes excess water and prevents oil spattering.
Simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Tip: To make hash browns with peppers and onions, follow this exact recipe without the meat, cooking them in bacon grease or butter until crispy and brown.
Add Eggs & Cheese
Crack six eggs and whisk until smooth, stirring them into the Dutch oven. As soon as the vegetables and potatoes are tender enough, pour the eggs evenly over the sausage mixture. Sprinkle salt or, for even more flavor, Red River Ranch Seasoning.
If you are cooking at camp, get the coals ready. Place the coals around a trivet and place the Dutch Oven on top of it. Add coals to the lid, rotating the pot one way and the lid another occasionally to cook evenly.
Tip: When cooking or baking on hot coals, frequently rotate the pot one way and the lid the other way to cook evenly and avoid any hot spots.
If cooking in an oven, bake for 45 minutes or until the eggs set up.
Once the eggs firm up, add the bacon back into the pan and top evenly with shredded cheese. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Once the cheese has completely melted, crack the remaining five eggs over the top and bake until the eggs are sunny side up, about 5 minutes.
Serve warm. Top with salsa and enjoy.
Behind the scenes with Kent Rollins:
What sparked your interest in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a career in cooking? My mother taught me to enjoy cooking, and to cook what you love for the ones you love. Cooking is just like life: you add a little of this and a little of that to it, mix well and enjoy it—not just for yourself but for the ones you’re feeding.
What was your experience growing up managing cattle operations with your father? To grow up cowboy around some of the greatest cowboys, the old timers who were not only ranchers and farmers but stewards of the land, I had great teachers in my life when it came to cattle and horses. Man can learn a lot of lessons from the seat of a saddle.
What are some of the life lessons your father taught you? Give it all you got. Whether it's in a branding pen or on top of a windmill, everything you do is a picture of who you are. Don't let your words define you, let it be your actions.
How do you incorporate your Western heritage into your recipes? Cowboys burn a lot of calories, I've been on both sides of the fire, from the branding fire to the cooking fire. It takes three good meals a day to keep going on those long days. Well-fed crews work better, get along better, and sleep better.
What is your favorite meal to cook for a family gathering? A good grilled ribeye, sparkling taters, baked beans, and bread pudding with a whiskey cream sauce.
Do you like to create new recipes or put your own spin on older family recipes? New recipes are great, now some take longer than others and my beagle and his crew have sampled many a recipe in the trial stages. But I do like to put a different spin on old classics, a little heat, a little sweet.
What is your most memorable experience from your chuck wagon days and cooking for ranches across Oklahoma? The most memorable are the things I get to see and the people I get to meet along the way. The sunrise and sunset are my favorite and I never take them or a day above the grass for granted.
Visit kentrollins.com for more recipes and food inspiration.