A Maryland Tradition – Pan Seared Rockfish

Maryland is famous for several regional culinary delights. As a Pennsylvania guy I had some previous experience with the “imported” staples such as steamed crabs, Chesapeake Bay oysters, crab cakes, Berger cookies, Thrashers French Fries and National Bohemian Beer. However, it wasn’t until after I started working in Maryland that this delicious dish was first introduced to me.

Prior to my Maryland employment I had never even fished the Chesapeake Bay for the official State Fish of Maryland. You may hear the Monroe saxatilis, or striped Bass, called by a lot of different nicknames, but when you are in Maryland you better understand that it’s called a Rockfish here, Hon!

Here is my favorite way to prepare it.

Rick “The Butchers” Famous – Pan Seared Rockfish


  • 6 portions (3 – 6 oz.) Fresh Caught Rockfish Fillet
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Canola Oil

Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice



Rinse the Rockfish portions and pat dry with a paper towel

Put canola oil into the pan and heat to medium high heat

Mix the All-Purpose Flour with the Old Bay Seasoning and coat fish

Add the butter to the pan and heat until melted

Sear fish 2-3 minutes per side and remove from the pan

Add additional Old Bay Seasoning to taste

For the Tartar Sauce mix the Mayo, Pickle Relish and the Lemon juice together

Serve the Tartar sauce on the side for dipping


I hope that you enjoy this tasty recipe!


Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

Candied Bacon

This has to be one of my favorite uses for delicious, cured bacon outside of simply just eating it straight out of the oven.

It’s a nice treat any time of year, but it’s especially great around the holidays. This can be done with any type of bacon depending on your tastes; hardwood smoked, apple wood smoked, sugar or salt cured…your choice.

One of my favorite uses for this little delectable is garnishing an Eastern Shore Bloody Mary. It’s also a great item to sit out on the snack table.


Prep time: 5 minutes  – Cook time: 25 minutes

You will need a baking sheet, some aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and a cooling rack for this recipe.


1 lb. Thick cut Bacon (¼ inch or more thick)

2 cups light or dark brown sugar

1 Tsp crushed red pepper  (or you may substitute – ½ Tsp ground cayenne pepper)

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line the pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper. This is to catch the sugars and fat that drip from the bacon.
  • Mix the brown sugar and hot pepper (or cayenne pepper) together thoroughly.
  • Dredge and press the bacon into the sugar mix. Make sure that it is lightly coated and not crusted.
  • You may sprinkle additional sugar on your bacon during the cooking process.
  • Place all of the strips of bacon in a single layer on the cooling rack with a little space between the strips.
  • Place that rack over the lined baking sheet. It doesn’t matter if it fits exactly. Just make sure nothing will drip onto your oven or the heating element.
  • Place the rack and tray combo into the oven on the middle rack. Cooking for about 10 minutes then flip the bacon.
  • Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture on the bacon and place it back into the oven for at least another 5 minutes

The goal is to get the sugars to melt and caramelize on your bacon as the bacon renders and crisps. The time will also depend on the thickness of the bacon, oven type and heat source.  Remember that the bacon will carry over cook after you remove it from the oven. This means that you should remove it a little earlier than your desired crispness as it will continue to crisp up as it sits.

Philly is for the Birds

Everyone has probably heard the city of Philadelphia referred to as the city of “Brotherly Love”. Philly is famous for its historic landmarks, its museums, the NFL Champion Eagles and its diehard sports fans.

In my humble opinion they also have some of the best food in the world. Be it fine dining, authentic ethnic eateries or out of this world markets it is just simply hard to top this town.

Below is a spin using wild game meat in place of the steak traditionally used in this local favorite, The Philly Cheesesteak!

I hope that you’ll enjoy this simple recipe and remember that I hold both the Cheesesteak and the city of Philadelphia deer (“deer” see what I did there?) to my heart.


Rick “The Butchers” Famous- Wild Philly Cheesesteak


  • 1-2 lbs. of Wild Game Meat (I like to use venison or Canada Goose breast)
  • 1 lg. Sweet Onion (chopped)
  • Cheese (Your choice, but if you want to go traditional it has to be Wiz)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Steak Rolls



Put the meat in the freezer for about an hour (this will make it easier to slice very thin)

Slice the meat thin (the Weston Meat Slicer is perfect for this task)

Bring the griddle (or a cast iron skillet) up to medium high heat

Add the butter and oil

Add the onions to pan and cook until translucent

Season the meat with salt and pepper

Add the meat to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes

Prepare your steak roll with some of the Worcestershire sauce and add the remaining to the pan

Top the meat and onions with the cheese

When the cheese is melted put the steak roll on top, slide a spatula underneath the meat, onion and cheese mixture and lift / flip your cheesesteak out



Rick “The Butcher” Bolinsky

Introducin’ The Pit Barrel Cooker

A bunch of guys warming themselves around a flaming, black barrel while drinking beer doesn’t necessarily summon up feelings of serenity. In most cases I’d probably cross the street in order to avoid being shanked. Don’t get me wrong I’m no angel and I’ve sipped from more than one brown paper bag over the years, but until I caught a whiff of the Pit Barrel Cooker in action I probably would have been a little hesitant to walk up on that sort of a crowd.

It was late in the 2017 college football season and the Penn State home crowd was doing what they do best…they were tailgating Happy Valley style!

I was doing what I do best…sipping on an adult beverage, snacking and people watching when I caught a whiff of something intriguing.

As I followed my nose I came across a group of guys standing around what looked to me like a 55-gallon drum. They were drinking beer and having a pretty good time so I struck up a conversation. The guy that owned the Pit Barrel Cooker couldn’t stop talking about it. He kept mentioning that the ribs he was cooking were the best he’d ever prepared. I must have dropped enough hints as he finally opened up the lid on the PBC and pulled a rack out.

The first thing that I noticed was the beautiful color that he had accomplished on the ribs. At virtually the same moment I noticed the Pit Barrel Cookers unique “Hook and Hang” system that allowed the ribs to be treated to a steady convection cooking process. As he slapped the ribs down on the cutting board I had a funny feeling I was in for something special. He invited me to try a rib prior to saucing them. He had used the Pit Barrel Cooker Company’s own All Purpose Rib Rub. That rib was absolutely delicious.

He then sauced the rest of the ribs and put them back on the PBC to caramelize the sauce. I evidently lost track of time, as I listened to the PBC gospel being preached by this true Hang Time convert. In what seemed like just a couple of minutes he took the ribs back off of the PBC and offered me another bone. Truth be told I enjoyed the rib better “dry” (which is not unusual for me) then “sauced”, but it was still a darn good rib.

Those ribs were so good that on the following Monday morning, I started to investigate the Pit Barrel Cooker Company. They have a very user friendly website with plenty of recipes and helpful tutorials on how to use their products correctly. What I was able to find out about the company, and the product, truly impressed me.

This is a hands on, family run business and the founder is a Military Veteran. They were tremendously responsive to my inquiries for information and were more than happy to allow me to test drive some of their products. I’ve been fortunate enough to experiment with both the Classic Pit Barrel Cooker and the Pit Barrel Jr. and I can tell you that the advertised price is more than fair for a product of this quality. There is nothing chintzy about the PBC, the rubs are really good and all of the accessories make cooking easy.

Both the Pit Barrel Cooker and the Pit Barrel Jr. have delivered some very impressive results. I tend to be a huge fan of cooking over charcoal and this set up has helped the members of our Chasin’ Whitetails Media “Hunt-Fish-Forage-Farm team” accomplish some very solid results on everything we’ve thrown at it including kale (yes kale), stingray, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, pork shoulder, London Broil and even a Thanksgiving Day turkey.

As the holiday season approaches keep the folks at the Pit Barrel Cooker Company in mind. If you have a BBQ aficionado to shop for, and you’d like to win them over, I’d strongly recommend giving the folks over at the Pit Barrel Cooker Company (www.pitbarrelcooker.com) a chance to impress you as much as they’ve impressed me