Man Fire Food features the inventive ways people cook with fire. From small campfires to creative custom-made grills and smokers, we visit home cooks, pit masters and chefs who are fascinated by fire and food. The smoke signals take host Roger Mooking to Hawaii, wine country in Northern California, New England and the great American South to meet the passionate people who celebrate the building of and cooking over live fire.
Roger Mooking is hanging out with two chefs putting a whole new spin on rotisserie cooking in the great outdoors. At SpringHouse restaurant in Alexander City, Ala., Chef Rob McDaniel has designed a fire-fueled contraption that he and Roger use to roast succulent legs of lamb. In Charleston, S.C., Craig Deihl is the chef and owner of Cypress, a restaurant famous for wood-fired food. Craig also likes playing with fire outside the kitchen, and he's created a backyard-friendly rotisserie that can roast whole strings of ducks and chickens.
Roger Mooking is in Florida fanning the flames for something savory and something sweet. Roger heads to Hamaknockers Bar-B-Que in Crawfordville, where a young pitmaster pulls pork with a power tool! Roger comes face-to-face with their signature sandwich, the Hamaburger. In Dade City, Roger meets Steve Melton, a farmer preserving the tradition of making cane syrup in a gigantic 100 year-old kettle over an open fire.
Roger Mooking meets two talented chefs who own two spectacular outdoor cooking rigs. In Miami, Chef Aaron Brooks celebrates Latin flavors with his unique coal-fueled contraption called the Cross Table. Roger and Aaron roast butterflied pork and simmer seafood paella. In Birmingham, Ala., Roger visits Chef Chris Hastings at his restaurant OvenBird. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired kitchen, but Chris's fascination for fire led him to create a one-of-a-kind portable oven. Roger and Chris cook up a meat lover's feast along with the season's best vegetables.
Roger Mooking is in pig paradise, cooking up two whole hogs in two different styles. In New Orleans, Roger visits MOPHO restaurant where Chef Michael Gulotta's Southeast Asian spit-roasted pig is a twist on a classic Southern tradition. In Mississippi, Chef Miles McMath hinges two steel troughs together to make a convenient and quick-cooking oven. Roger and Miles slow-cook a whole hog in this unique rig, and fry hand pies for dessert over an open flame.
Chef Roger Mooking visits chefs using unusual tools over live fires. In Georgia, Roger meets Erik Niel, a chef that loves to break out of his butcher shop to cook outdoors. And Erik is pulling something out of his hat: over a dozen rabbits cooked rotisserie-style with bamboo poles. In Plano, Texas, Roger visits friend Chef Tim Byres at his restaurant Smoke to take a stab at cooking flank steak and whole chickens on swords.
Chef Roger Mooking meets with two Southern ladies famous in the barbecue world. In Nashville, Roger has eyes only for the smoked ribs at Mary's Old Fashioned Pit Bar-B-Que. At Helen's Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, Tenn., Roger meets legendary pit master Helen Turner and help her cook pork shoulders, pork ribs and a whole stick of bologna.
In North Bend, Ore., Chef Roger Mooking meets up with Don Ivy, Chief of the Coquille Tribe. Roger and Don roast a school of salmon for a traditional tribal feast. In Los Angeles, Roger visits Andy Ricker, chef/owner of Pok Pok La, who shares the secrets to his famous whole roasted chicken.
Chef Roger Mooking goes to Llano Seco Ranch in Chico, Calif., where he and Charlie Thieriot slow roast a 30-pound porchetta. In Sandy, Ore., Roger meets caterers Jaret Foster and Mona Johnson, and assists them in putting together roasted mussels and a crowd-pleasing white bean, chorizo and clam stew.
Chef Roger Mooking is spending the day at Jacobsen Salt Co., in Netarts Bay, Ore., one of the largest producers of handcrafted sea salt in America. Owner Ben Jacobsen takes Roger on a tour of the facility, showing him how to smoke sea salt, and then Roger meets with Portland-based chef Carlo Lamagna. Roger helps Carlo stuff a 20-pound halibut with lemon and herbs, encrust the whole fish in salt and roast it over a wood-burning fire.
Chef Roger Mooking sees that everything is bigger in Texas, first meeting Pit Master Levi Goode at Armadillo Palace in Houston. On Levi's custom rotisserie trailer, they roast a 250-pound side of beef. Then at Cured restaurant in San Antonio, Roger and chef and owner Steve McHugh slow-roast a 230-pound hog in a large outdoor cinder block pit.
Chef Roger Mooking is on the lookout for some truly unique rigs. In Colorado, Roger meets Josh Pollack, owner of Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen in Denver, who created an eight-foot steel contraption that can cook up to 1,000 pounds of food. Roger then goes to 44 Farms in Cameron, Texas, where Jason Schimmels shows off their impressive barbecue trailer, but also introduces Roger to their unique 10-foot "tripod grills" where huge rib eye roasts are cooked
In Buffalo Gap, Texas, Roger Mooking meets Tom Perini at his restaurant, Perini Ranch Steakhouse. Roger is put to work lighting up burn barrels for the metal pits, then dessert is baked in a coal-covered cast iron Dutch oven. At Pitchfork Fondue Western Cookout in Pinedale, Wyoming, owner Matt David invites Roger to his outdoor kitchen where steaks are skewered onto pitchforks and deep-fried in giant cauldrons.
Join the party as Roger Mooking visits three of the greatest fire-roasted ragers that cook mountains of meat and keep the barbecue faithful lining up for more. First, it's all hands on deck in Owensboro, Ky., for a church picnic with nearly four tons of meat and a crowd of 4,000 carnivores. Then, he heads to a Wisconsin winery where they've built a contraption to roast an entire 1,200-pound steer for their annual celebration of beer, wine and beef. Finally, Roger makes waves in New England at a 70-year-old fish festival, sculpting a scorching 12-foot ring of fire for over 300 pounds of shad on upright boards.
Roger Mooking has plucked his way through plenty of barbecue chicken, but only the very best birds make this list of his top 5 favorites. One chef shows Roger how to hang up and hand-spin chickens with a device that looks like it belongs in a theme park, and another redefines rotisserie on an elaborate rig loaded with complex cogs, gears and even bicycle chains. A Carolina legend makes Roger's list by dipping barbecued birds in an out-of-this-world white sauce. And a master of Puerto Rican pollo rubs his island adobo mix on crispy chicken that has Roger squawking for more, but it's his Jamaican jerk chicken loaded with Caribbean heat that reaches true poultry perfection.
Roger's learning to rig up and roast whole animals with some truly wild techniques. First he'll learn an ancient Argentine method of roasting lamb upright over coals by hanging them on cast iron crosses in the open air. Then he catches a six-foot sturgeon and stuffs it to the gills with fresh veggies for an outdoor feast. Back on land, a South Carolina pitmaster shows Roger his new high-tech rigs, capable of cooking a room full of hogs, ultra low and slow with a thirteen hour cook time.
In a pit, under a kettle, or in between hunks of heavy metal, Roger's showing off three flame-licking good feasts that are packing high heat. In North Bend, Oregon, cooking with fire isn't a trend, it's a time-honored tradition. Chief Don Ivy of the Coquille Indian Tribe has been hosting impressive salmon bakes for 25 years inspired by the customs of his ancestors. He shows Roger how to roast 200 pounds of salmon on sticks, and they build one of the biggest fires in Man Fire Food history. Then, Roger makes his way to Old Post Office Restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin, where they cook local fish in a cauldron and lights it up with an explosive wildfire. And, in Napa Valley, father-daughter team built a towering outdoor oven in the middle of their family vineyard. Roger helps them bake whole fish in a California King-size salt bed between not one, but two raging fires.
Roger Mooking salutes the country's most impressive and creative female pitmasters, learning a few new roasting methods along the way. A San Francisco chef shows Roger her rig made from plumbing pipes, which she uses to roast her Salpicao chicken coated with smoky, coconut salsa. Next, a Tennessee queen of the 'cue shows him how she smokes a meat more likely to be found in a lunchbox than in a smokehouse. Then, two ingenious women teach Roger ways to smoke shellfish that he's never seen before -- one using wine barrels to build a smoker on site and the other flexing her muscles using nothing but flames.
It's pure carnivore extravagance as Roger Mooking visits pitmasters cooking meat in massive quantities. First, there's no time for low and slow as Roger heads to San Antonio to fire up an altar of meat in over 600-degree heat. He skewers a deep green chorizo verde and Mexican-style cabrito -- an entire milk-fed goat. Next, a Central California robotics engineer shows Roger his latest invention -- a 40-foot trailer with room for 600 pounds of meaty magnificence -- and Roger is introduced to California mac and cheese loaded with smoky tri-tip steak. Then he's off to the Santa Maria California Elks Club to load dozens of heavy-duty rods with 60 pounds of sizzling top sirloin in their legendary barbecue room. Finally, Roger checks out a Louisiana smokehouse with 60 years of history and possibly the Bayou's best sausage. He helps smoke entire shacks loaded with beef sausage, Andouille, whole chickens, turkey necks and Tasso ham to make a truly authentic Louisiana po' boy.
Roger Mooking is going hog wild for the most insane pig roasts in the country. First, he's in Hawaii to roast a whole pig in a traditional underground oven called an imu. The community comes together to cook the pig with glowing hot lava rock and a layer of local vegetation to trap the heat. Next, he meets the sausage king of Texas at the Meyer's Elgin Sausage smokehouse and learns how they stuff and fire up 5,000 pounds of pork sausage in a single day with state-of-the-art technology. Roger heads to Leatha's in southern Mississippi to learn the secret behind their unusual upright smoker that allows pork fat from their ribs to drip right on top of succulent smoked pork shoulder, and finally he visits a true porky hall of fame at Stamey's in Greensboro, N.C. Their incredible cooking chamber houses 10 huge smoking pits that allow them to roast 200 pork shoulders at a time.
Roger Mooking is scouring the country for fiery fresh takes on the beloved classic combination, surf and turf. A Miami chef shows Roger a unique rig he built himself that allows him to roast, grill and saute over hot coals. Roger helps him grill juicy pork packed with adobo-inspired flavors and prepare a seafood-studded paella in a party-sized pan. Next, the classic New England clambake takes a cross-country trip to Southern California where Roger helps steam a bounty of seafood, spicy chorizo and some of the Golden State's best produce in a wine barrel. Finally, at Llano Seco Ranch in Chico, Calif., Roger pigs out on juicy Italian porchetta spit-roasted on a handcrafted rotisserie and succulent oysters basted in the pork drippings.
No cookout is complete without some outrageous side dishes and craveworthy desserts, so Roger Mooking is putting the main course aside to honor everything that tops off the best barbecue meals. He scrambles up a poblano pepper hash at a Houston hangout, and he checks out a new take on mac and cheese in New York, pressing an entire dish into a mouthwatering Belgian waffle. For dessert, there's an apple hand pie that fits right in Roger's pocket and a peach crisp cooked in a coal-fired Dutch oven on the ground. Finally, a French side dish steals the show as Roger cooks up a fresh veggie summer ratatouille prepared on an outrageous outdoor grill.
Roger Mooking is letting barbecue pork sandwiches hog the spotlight. He bites off as much as he can chew at Hoodoo Brown Barbeque in Ridgefield, Conn., where they serve a meaty masterpiece loaded with pork belly, pulled pork and shaved pork ribs. Then Roger heads to Bigmista's Barbecue and Sammich Shop in Long Beach, Calif., for succulent barbecue pork stuffed inside sweetened soft buns. At Pecan Lodge in Dallas, Roger gets a taste of The Pitmaster with brisket, pulled pork and chorizo sausages, and he finds Tex-Mex flavor in a pork burrito with fire-roasted green chile sauce at Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, S.C. Finally, Roger visits Top Hat Barbecue in Blount Springs, Ala., where they've been selling smoky pulled pork shoulder sandwiches with tangy barbecue sauce for 50 years.
Roger Mooking says goodbye to the standard grill and celebrates the most elaborate, over-the-top smokers and roasters. First, he heads just outside Death Valley to cook on a true fire-breathing barbecue pit -- an 8-foot, 800-pound metal dragon with three separate chambers. Then he lands in Kansas City, Mo., for a test flight in Swine Flew, an airplane converted by two mechanics into a fully functioning barbecue grill. They put airline food to shame with pork butts and spare ribs cooked right inside the aircraft cabin. Next, Roger visits a Frankenstein smoker in Oahu, Hawaii, that's constructed from an Air Force cargo container, computer fans and pieces of a commercial jumbo jet. Finally, he checks out a converted tool shed used for a Cajun-style whole hog roast.
It takes incredible talent and a whole lot of practice to achieve barbecue perfection, and Roger Mooking is honoring the legendary pitmasters who make some of the country's best barbecue. He gets cooking with the man who brought barbecue to Brooklyn at Hometown Bar-B-Que, cooking Jamaican jerk baby back ribs and sticky Korean ribs with a sweet and savory Asian influence. Then, Roger is off to Texas to the famous Kreuz Market to get schooled on traditions dating back to their opening in 1900. Then he heads to North Carolina's Skylight Inn, also known as Jones BBQ, to check out their traditional method of low and slow whole hog cooking with a whopping 16-hour cook time.
Where there's fire, there's smoke, and some of the most flavorful meat on the market comes straight from incredible smoking operations. Roger Mooking joins the team at Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, a famous smokehouse shipping nationwide from Madisonville, Tenn., to help prepare huge hams for a three-day cold smoke before they're cured for up to two years. Then, he surfs on to Chicago's Calumet Fisheries, an 80-year-old seafood smokehouse, to load up salmon, trout, whitefish, sable and sturgeon. Finally, Roger heads to small town Mamou, La., to a big time smokehouse called T-Boyz. Roger and T-Boy go hog wild on over 500 pounds of Cajun smoked meats that are mixed in with an unbeatable combination of red beans and rice.
One of the great wonders of the barbecue world is smoked pork shoulder. It's a big hunk of meat cooked low and slow until succulent and tender. Roger's favorite way to devour this delicious thing of beauty is in a sandwich. In Grand Rapids, Michigan Roger visits the Pit Stop, a barbecue take-out famous for their unconventional yet scrumptious sandwich called the Green Menace Wrap. Pork chili and pulled pork, cilantro cream and barbecue sauce all get wrapped up in a flour tortilla and then cooked on a griddle until golden brown and crispy. For a classic Southern-style pork sandwich, Roger visits Top Hat Barbecue in Blount Springs, Alabama. This barbecue institution has been serving their best-selling BBQ Pork Sandwich the same exact way for almost 50 years. The smoked pork is chopped, dressed with a little barbecue sauce and then piled in a bun. Top Hat Barbecue likes to keep things simple and simple can be deeply satisfying. recipes in this episode Suckerpunch Chicken Wings
The American Barbecue Belt in the South stretches from the Carolinas to Texas, and today Roger heads to the heart of it - Alabama. Roger meets award-winning Pit Master Chris Lilly at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, a family-run restaurant serving Alabama-style 'cue for four generations. They've got pulled pork, brisket, and ribs. But Roger's there for the legendary smoked chicken that's dunked in a unique and utterly delicious white sauce. In the coastal town of Mobile, Roger meets Alabama native Bill Armbrecht, owner of The Brick Pit. This former ship captain turned his love for barbecue into a second career and has been serving old school, Alabama-style 'cue for 20 years. Locals and visitors from across the country stop in for the chicken and ribs, but the thing everyone talks about is the pulled pork which cooks for almost 30 hours in a smoker called "The Big Red." recipes in this episode Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ Sauce The Brick Pit BBQ Beans
Roger's in charming South Carolina for two spectacular low country cookouts: a traditional backyard pig pickin' and a classic oyster roast. In the seaside town of Beaufort, Roger meets Jim Gibson who has been doing pig pickin's for family and friends for the last 40 years. Roger and Jim build the outdoor pit, smoke a whole pig and then chop and serve it with the traditional side of hash and rice. It's the ultimate lowcountry backyard barbecue. Just 20 minutes south of downtown Charleston is a 14-acre peninsula called Bowen's Island and the only thing on it is a restaurant that specializes in low country cooking. The specialty here is oysters steamed over a wood fire. Roger meets Robert Barber who is the owner of the restaurant and the island, and together they build an impressive fire to cook a massive pile of local cluster oysters. recipes in this episode Bowens Island Frogmore Stew Barbecue Hash
Roger is loading up on the best brisket, pork steaks and sausages the Lone Star state has to offer. Ronnie's BBQ in Johnson City attracts locals and barbecue aficionados. Their open outdoor kitchen houses two barbecue pits, two pipe smokers and one giant burn barrel. Roger helps Pit Master Ronnie Weiershausen smoke brisket, pork steaks and sausages. Customers can order barbecue by the pound, on a plate or in a sandwich but Roger's interested in the Trash Taco. Ronnie's wife Cindy teaches Roger how they combine all three meats for this one-of-a-kind breakfast treat. At the Pecan Lodge restaurant in Dallas, dynamic duo Justin and Diane Fourton smoke some of the best barbecue in town. Roger and Justin fire up the smokers and cook brisket and pork shoulders that are seasoned with a sensational spice rub. Back at the restaurant, Roger and Diane assemble a popular sandwich called the Pit Master. It's packed with brisket, pulled pork, sausages and then topped with coleslaw, jalapenos and barbecue sauce. recipes in this episode Aunt Polly's Banana Pudding
Roger visits two chefs in Texas who created the craziest cooking contraptions and prove that everything's bigger in Texas. Chef Johnny Hernandez designed a massive grill for his restaurant El Machito in San Antonio and it takes fire and food to the extreme. Roger and Johnny skewer every meat imaginable -- chickens, pork and beef sausages, racks of ribs and whole goats. Housemade salsas and warm corn tortillas complete this carnivorous spread. Roger heads to Vintage Heart Farm in Stockdale to meet Chef John Russ who designed a 7-foot tree made out of stainless steel that can roast food over a wood fire. Roger and John fill the tree with quails and sausages for an outdoor feast. recipes in this episode Cabrito El Pastor
Roger's on the hunt for lip-smacking barbecue ribs and he found two places where the racks of meat stack up to perfection. One is in the heart of the Mississippi and the other is in New York, that's right, the Big Apple! In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Leatha's Bar-b-cue Inn seasons their pork and beef ribs with a mysterious marinade, cooks them in an unusual upright smoker, and finishes them with a top secret barbecue sauce. Roger learns how to make these Southern-style ribs from Brian Jackson, a third generation Pit Master who continues the barbecue legacy that his grandmother Leatha created. While the American South has always been the go-to for great barbecue, cities like New York are entering the world of 'cue. At Hometown Bar-B-Que in New York, Brooklyn native Billy Durney gives his ribs an ethnic spin. The Jerk Baby Back Ribs are seasoned with the earthy, spicy flavors of Jamaica, while the Sticky Korean ribs are glossed with a sweet and savory Asian glaze, and then topped with cashews and scallions. It's a finger-licking mash-up of Texas low and slow, Jamaican Grilling and Korean-style barbecue. recipes in this episode Hometown Bar-B-Que's Jamaican Jerk Ribs and Marinade Leatha's Bar-B-Que Inn Red Potato Salad
When the sun's out and the warm breeze kicks in, it's the perfect time to fire up an outdoor feast. Roger's in Southern California for two unbelievable backyard blowouts. Roger meets Chef Ben Ford in Tarzana for a unique New England meets California-style clambake. Instead of burying their seafood feast in the ground, they use an old wine barrel as the cooking vessel for clams, mussels, Dungeness crabs, artichokes, corn, potatoes and onions. Hot rocks provide the heat source while fresh seaweed helps creates steam. In Chula Vista, Roger meets Francisco "Paco" Perez for traditional Mexican barbacoa which is whole lamb cooked in the ground, low and slow. Together they preheat an underground brick pit with a wood fire, and then season the lamb with a bright red chili marinade. The seasoned meat is covered with dried avocado and fresh maguey leaves and left to cook in the pit overnight. The next day, they serve the barbacoa with fresh corn tortillas, and different salsas for family and friends. recipes in this episode Spicy Salsa Verde Guacamole Smoked Fish Dip Torn Garlic Croutons or Crostini
Like a moth to a flame, nothing grabs Roger's attention like a raging wood-burning fire. After the flames subsides and the smoke clears, there's a spectacular feast that everyone can dive into. Roger heads to Bigmista's Barbecue & Sammich Shop where husband and wife team Neil and Phyllis Strawder spread their smoked meat love in Long Beach, California. Roger and Neil torch the smoker until it's scorching hot, and then load it up with beef briskets and pork butts. Back in the kitchen, Roger and Phyllis roll up their sleeves and build unique barbecue sandwiches. Sweet soft squishy buns are stuffed with succulent barbecue. In Door County, Wisconsin, Roger is bowled over by the area's legendary fish boil. At the Old Post Office Restaurant, Boil Master Jeremy Klaubauf cooks local white fish, potatoes and onions in a cauldron... by engulfing it in flames. recipes in this episode Old Post Office Restaurant's Lemon Bread
California's wine country is the perfect place for an outdoor cookout. The weather is gorgeous, the wine is simply divine, and the food is down-right delicious. Roger has been invited to two parties - a pig roast in Paso Robles and a surf and turf grill-out in Healdsburg. Once a year, Tablas Creek Vineyard hosts a huge party for members of their wine club. To complement the wine, they'll roast a swine. Executive Winemaker Neil Collins designed a contraption that can cook a whole pig over a wood burning fire. As a side dish, onions and sweet potatoes are cooked directly in the coals. Healdsburg is famous for their wineries, their olive oils and a historic landmark called the Dry Creek General Store. It's hard to miss it because there's a monster grill parked right out front. In the summer months, they load up the grill and prepare amazing feasts. Roger helps Chef Gia Passalacqua fills an eight foot grill with Dungeness crabs that have been rubbed with a chili pepper sauce, and they also hang legs of lambs that have been rubbed with a Mediterranean spice paste. It's a tasty surf and turf barbecue.
Roger attends the 100 year anniversary of the St. Mary Magdalene Church Picnic in Owensboro, Kentucky. Several thousand pounds of meat will cook over 100 feet of fire and smoke. Roger helps hundreds of volunteers to load and light three massive barbecue pits with wood planks, pallets and straw. Then it's all hands on deck to prep, cook, flip and mop sauce for mutton, pork butts and chickens. Thousands attend this annual fundraiser. There is even a drive-through for folks who prefer to take their 'cue to go! Holy smokes, it's an epic barbecue event that will leave everyone speechless.
Roger visits Faith's Farm in Bonfield, Illinois for an awesome feast cooked on three different fiery contraptions. Roger helps three chefs orchestrate a festive Latin and Mexican-inspired meal. A whole lamb slowly roasts on an asado cross. Boar steaks are grilled on a repurposed windmill. And pig skins are fried until puffy and crisp in a wood burning oven and stove, and then finished with a smoky Mexican chocolate glaze. It's a three-alarm fire for a three-star, farm-to-table spread.
Chef Roger Mooking is grilling steaks and chickens in California, and smoking a bounty of seafood in Illinois. High heat for meat and low smoke for seafood. Roger begins in Orangevale, Calif., to meet restaurateur and caterer Steve Dougherty who specializes in Santa Maria-style barbecue. Roger and Steve season tri-tip steaks and chickens with Cajun spices, and then line them up on the racks of a giant portable grill. In Chicago, Roger visits Calumet Fisheries, an 80-year-old seafood smokehouse where he helps fish smoker Javier Magallanes load up salmon, trout, whitefish, sable and sturgeon, and smoke them to perfection. recipes in this episode O'Connor's Chili
Chef Roger Mooking is in Puerto Rico where the weather is hot, the view is smoking and the food is a fuego! It's his first time visiting Puerto Rico and he's inviting friends along for the ride. Roger begins the eating adventure with fellow Canadian, Chef Chuck Hughes. They'll fill up on pork at La Estacion, a former gas station-turned-barbecue restaurant that's located in Fajardo. Owner and Chef Kevin Roth transformed a truck into a smoker and grill and that's the main star of his outdoor kitchen. Roger and Chuck help build and light a fire, and rub down a whole pig with spices to make lechon, a Puerto Rican specialty. Roger heads over to the other side of the island and meets local chef Tino Feliciano. Tino takes Roger to a popular roadside eatery Rancho Carbon Express. Chickens are stuffed with sofrito, rubbed with adobo and then cooked on rotisseries.
While road-tripping through Texas, Roger Mooking pulls the car over for some seriously delicious barbecue. In San Antonio, he makes a pit stop at The Box Street Social food truck to hang chickens and racks of ribs over a live fire. He also gets a taste of roasted pumpkins topped with goat cheese and arugula. In Santa Fe, Texas, Roger finds another food truck with a penchant for central Texas-style 'cue with a twist. At Smokin D's BBQ Fusion, he loads up a smoker with brisket for a mac and cheese-filled quesadilla, and he also tries the specialty Smoke Dog, a beef jalapeno sausage wrapped in bacon.
Roger Mooking heads to the Lone Star State to meet a family that specializes in two fiery traditions: Texas barbecue and Mexican barbacoa. Pitmaster Adrian Davila of Davila's BBQ shows Roger their massive smoker and shares the secrets to their legendary brisket and spicy beef sausages that the locals call "hot guts." Once smoked, these two meats come together in a Texas favorite, Frito Pie. Then Adrian invites Roger to his family's ranch for traditional Mexican barbacoa. They wrap seasoned lamb in maguey leaves and cook it in the ground before firing up an Argentinean grill to toast fresh tortillas and crisp up the lamb barbacoa.
Roger Mooking visits two Southern California barbecue joints that serve smoked meat specialties on weekends only. First, he meets a husband and wife team running a pop-up restaurant called Moo's Craft Barbecue in their own backyard. He helps load their 2,000-pound smoker with Texas brisket and pork butt for tasty tacos and samples their signature side dishes, Mexican street corn and coleslaw kicked up a notch with tequila. Then Roger finds Calabasas Custom Catering in the parking lot at Jim's Fallbrook Market. He helps caterer Paul Varenchik fire up a big Santa Maria grill to cook beef tri-tip, chickens and baby back ribs, and the waiting customers complete their barbecue plates with crusty garlic bread, macaroni salad and potato salad.
Roger Mooking tames the flames in outdoor kitchens fueled by wood-burning fires. In Solvang, Calif., the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is home to 10,000 acres of land with horses, cattle and a bevy of fiery cooking contraptions. Roger helps fire up a meal of juicy beef ribs and grilled chickens for their weekly ranch cookout. In San Diego, Roger visits the outdoor kitchen of caterer Clyde Van Arsdall to slow-roast herb and citrus-stuffed turkeys on the spit while vegetables roast in the oven. Then it all comes together for a hearty soup that's cooked in an antique cauldron rigged above scorching hot coals.
Roger Mooking is on the hunt for the most radical barbecue rigs, and he starts at The Pit Room in Houston, Texas, where special events call for a custom-built trailer that can cook up to 600 pounds of meat. Roger helps load up six whole goats for tacos. In Napa Valley, Calif., he checks out Oak Avenue Catering's custom-made asado grill that can cook a huge side of beef. For a side dish, fermented cabbages are hung on the grill to cook low and slow with the meat. As they wait for this feast to cook, Roger learns how to transfer a tree stump into a flaming stove for boiling potatoes that are then crisped on a hot plancha to complete this feast in the heart of wine country.
Roger Mooking visits two restaurants in the Lone Star State that turn traditional Texas-style barbecue into crafty culinary creations. In Fort Worth, he meets pitmaster Travis Heim and his wife, Emma, the power couple behind the popular restaurant Heim Barbecue. Roger and Travis fill a giant steel rotisserie smoker with slabs of briskets. Then, in the kitchen, Emma and Roger build the Heimburger -- two beef patties mixed with brisket trimmings and topped with molten cheese and bacon burnt end bourbon jam. In Tomball, Roger visits one-of-a-kind spot Tejas Chocolate and Barbecue. Owners Michelle Holland and her brothers Scott and Greg Moore fire-roast cocoa beans for chocolate bars and confections and smoke beef, chicken and pork in a 3,000-pound propane tank smoker for classic Texas barbecue. The "three chocolatiers" show Roger how to make their signature mole sauce with their craft bean-to-bar chocolate.
Roger Mooking meets San Francisco-based chef Thomas McNaughton at a farm in Healdsburg, Calif., for a live-fire feast of epic proportions. They affix a whole pig to a metal cross to cook over hot coals for several hours, basted often with a mixture of butter, herbs, warm spices and citrus. The pig roast drippings fall into a potato-filled cast iron pan set over the hot coals, and whole onions and squash are nestled directly in the embers. To complete this feast, Roger and Thomas suspend chickens over a fire to roast. But these aren't just any chickens -- they're black-skinned chickens with a slightly gamier flavor. It's a fiery feast Roger won't soon forget.
When it comes to finding great barbecue, Roger Mooking knows that it's not just the small towns that dish out big flavors. He heads to Bludso's Bar and Que in Los Angeles, where owner Kevin Bludso brings meat and heat to Tinseltown in a big way. Using the cooking techniques his Texas grandmother taught him, Kevin loads up his massive smoker with brisket, pork ribs and chicken to cook low and slow in oak and pecan smoke. Kevin also shares his family's 70-year-old recipe for mac and cheese with Roger. In San Antonio, another big city stepping up its barbecue game, Roger meets with Emilio and Christi Soliz, who have turned a small house into a restaurant blending Texas-style barbecue with Tex-Mex flavors. They stuff slow-smoked brisket into torta sandwiches with crema and avocado, while fall-apart pork butt is piled onto corn tortillas with cilantro and salsa.
Roger Mooking visits an old-school barbecue institution serving chopped pork in South Carolina and a popular restaurant serving Hill Country barbecue classics in Texas. First, he heads to Price's BBQ in Gilbert, South Carolina, which opened back in 1964 and is still run by the Price family. Roger helps fill a massive 20-foot brick and concrete pit with hams, pork shoulders and pork butts to smoke low and slow over hickory and oak coals. Before the pork comes out of the pit, it gets seasoned with Price's time-honored tangy mustard-based barbecue sauce, and Roger learns how to make the family's famed barbecue hash over buttery white rice. In Coppell, Texas, Roger visits Hard Eight BBQ for classic Hill Country barbecue that includes cooking beef, chicken and pork directly over hot coals in rectangular pits. Roger helps owner Chad Decker fill up two pits with pork ribs, half chickens, briskets and jalapeno sausages.
Roger Mooking is firing up three different rigs to cook a whole hog, racks of ribs and bushels of oysters for the ultimate South Carolina-style surf and turf. He meets up with pitmaster Aaron Siegel and Chef Taylor Garrigan, the culinary masterminds behind Home Team BBQ restaurant in Charleston, S.C. Roger and Taylor light up a burn barrel to make mountains of coals for the pig cooker, which will roast a whole 150-pound hog. During the cook, the hog is mopped with spicy vinegar. Roger helps Aaron smoke 30 racks of pork ribs in an offset smoker and steam clusters of locally harvested oysters in a custom rig. It's a magnificent low-country feast featuring a typical pig pickin' and a classic oyster roast.
Roger Mooking is in the Peach State visiting two self-taught pitmasters who smoke tasty Texas-style barbecue. In Atlanta, Roger hits up Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, which is owned by twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox. Roger and Jonathan load up a 1,000-pound rotisserie smoker with briskets and house-made pork and beef bologna. After the meat is cooked, Justin shows Roger how to create their two signature sandwiches: the Texacutioner and the Bologna and Cheese. In Augusta, Ga., criminal investigator Chris Campbell trades his badge for a propane torch on the weekends, when he works as a caterer who serves killer barbecue at Campbell's BBQ Co. Roger and Chris fill up his custom-made mobile rig with seasoned briskets and pork butts. While the hunks of meat soak in the smoke and heat, they cook up a pot of Brunswick stew, a Georgia classic made with smoked beef, pork, chicken, vegetables and barbecue sauce.
Roger Mooking fires up two delicioso Latin-inspired feasts. In St. Augustine, Fla., Roger meets Nick Carrera, a grill master and grill maker behind Urban Asado. They roast whole lambs and vegetables on Nick's asado crosses and asado grills for an Argentinian cookout. In Smyrna, Ga., Roger hangs out with Chef Andre Gomez, the owner of Porch Light Latin Kitchen, who cooks up Puerto Rican classics in his backyard when he's off the clock. Roger and Andre build a rustic cinder block pit to roast a whole pig. While the meat cooks, they make empanadas by encasing shredded braised pork cheeks in a dough made from green plantains, and they shallow-fry them in a pan of oil set over a bed of hot coals.
Roger Mooking is fanning the flames of a fiery surf-and-turf extravaganza in the Sunshine State. He starts at Mrs. Peters Smokehouse, a smoked fish institution that has been thriving in Jensen Beach, Fla., since 1958. Roger and owner Tommy Lopresto fire up a giant 100-year-old oven to smoke hundreds of pounds of fish, some of which will be used in a special seafood chowder. In Loxahatchee, Fla., Roger meets husband-and-wife operators of Swank Specialty Produce, Darrin and Jodi Swank. The Swanks grow vegetables, greens, fruits and flowers and raise livestock, too. Several times a year, they host events at their farm and invite chefs and local restaurateurs to cook in their wood-fired outdoor kitchen. Roger works with local chef Dak Kerprich of Jewell Bistro to slow-roast three dozen chickens on two massive asado crosses. They also fire up a grill to cook flatbread and char a colorful blend of sweet peppers.