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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Culinary Master challenges Chuck Wagon Cook

Food Network Bobby Flay Throws down with Chuck Wagon Cook Kent Rollins as they roll up the sleeves in this throw-down that becomes no ordinary hoe-down. 

If you missed the Food Network's airing of the Bobby Flay Throw-Down episode that was shown Wednesday night, you missed out on some really great Cowboy entertainment. I enjoyed having something to view on the television since the World Series was also playing. However, while it was only the first game of the world series and Texas rangers getting a good whopping by the Giants, I felt good just having some Chuck Wagon cooking to watch.

The show starts off showing the life of Cowboy Cook "Kent Rollins working his ranch and cooking from the chuck wagon. Unlike most chuck wagon cooks, Kent has the help from his 350 pounds of "Bertha"....the name he politely calls his cast iron camp stove. Most cooks just dig a hole in the ground, throw in some wood and have the spit over the fire. However, not so with Kent Rollins. He unloads Bertha (pictured left) every where he goes.

After the producers take you through their commercial break, "Got to have those sponsors" the scenes take you into the New York Kitchen of Bobby Flay where he reviews the art of cooking "CHICKEN FRIED STEAK."

Bobby lists the three skills needed for the challenge; Beef, Batter and Gravy as he marks this on his presentation board in Red, White and Blue. His next step is doing several trail runs making and perfecting the art of cooking chicken fried steak with his assistant, who explains to Bobby that the gravy better not taste like wall paper paste. Bobby works his steak, dips into buttermilk, then into the batter mix. For the gravy, he decides to add some bacon in a skillet to set his rue that he will add milk and flour to adding thyme for some spicy flavoring.

Bobby's Flay married actress Stephanie March who is a native Texan born in Dallas. She walks in on the New York set joining Bobby just as he is ready to serve his practice dish of Chicken Fried Steaks. After a couple of bites it seems Bobby has his mojo going on as his Chicken Fried Steak will surely be fit for the toughest critic.

Back at the ranch, Kent take you through his special way of making his chicken fried steak better than anyone else. His secret "The double baptizing" dipping the steak twice through the batter to get it extra crispy. Although he doesn't reveal his spices.

The next scene takes us out to the chuck wagon setting with Bertha being feed logs of oak as Kent believes Food Network is just filming "Chuck Wagon Cuisine." As the guest gather around, Kent share's some stories and a little history unknowing that Bobby Flay just arrives in a Ford F-450 crew cab with a set of Longhorns mounted on the horn. To Kent's surprise as he turns around, Bobby now standing behind him say's,. "Ready for a Chicken Fried Steak throw-down." Kent's reply was "Lets get it on."

As the two men begin prepping setting up their work stations, the two share a great deal of humor. Bobby seem to be down home fitting in neighborly amazing the crowd of guest. As Bobby begins beating the steak to work it down, Kent humbly offers Bobby a 16 pound sledge hammer telling Bobby, "This should do the trick." Each through the show share a great sense of humor and likable characters.

Each working on a dozen or more beef ensuring their finish entree will be the best with Kent doing thicker larger cuts and Bobby thinning his out smaller. Through the special dips each worked out and into the large 20 inch cast iron skillets. After frying the special gravies added and served to the guest.

Special guest was Homer Robertson of Granbury, TX who is the 2010 Grand Champion of the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration Chuck Wagon Cook-Off held last September in Lubbock, Texas. Joining Homer was Sue Cunningham of C Bar C, Hartley, Texas who is a legend around the chuck wagon community. Sue and her sister Jean Cates were raised on a ranch in Texas winning more Chuck Wagon Cooking awards than any other competitor. Additionally have written 3 Chuck wagon cooking Cook Books.
Homer and Sue sitting aside one another taste Chicken Fried Steak (A) that the thickness is good, the gravy is good but maybe a little spicy. Then trying out Chicken Fried Steak (B) again commenting that the taste of the steak and easily cuts, that the spicing is really good and while Robert likes the Bacon added in the gravy, Sue is not really sure. The crowd looks on patiently believing it looks this going to be a, does Bobby Flay have a victory......(A) Kent Rollins, Red river Ranch is announce as the victor in the throw down.

Hopefully you catch this repeated as a rerun later this season as this was one show not to miss. Food Network provides so many superb cooking shows and the enjoyable Bobby Flay may not be from Texas, but he's welcome back any time. His Culinary skills are truly those of an Iron Chef......although just the ever slight edge, Kent Rollins has the victory of the Iron Skillet as they both were superb.

Roger Edison

Chicken Fried Steak Recipe and History: 
More infomation about Kent Rollins can be read at his web site:
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