Roger Mooking's on the hunt for lip-smacking barbecue ribs. In Hattiesburg, Miss., 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. And 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.
Hawaii island Oahu is known as the "gathering place," and Roger Mooking is invited to two community gatherings abundant with local foods. On the east side of the island, local chef Mark "Gooch" Noguchi teaches Roger how to prepare a traditional Hawaiian imu. At the farmer's market located at Kapiolani Community College, Roger meets Scott Shibuya who smokes meats with guava and kiawe woods, in a smoker he built out of an Air Force cargo container, an airplane food cart and a computer fan.
Roger Mooking 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. Roger then 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.
Roger Mooking meets two chefs celebrating South American grilling styles in northern California. At Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, Chef Stephen Barber built a "live fire" cook area, for Argentinian Asado, where Roger and Stephen slow cook spring lamb. In Healdsburg, Roger and Mateo Granados, chef of Mateo's Cocina Latina, build an outdoor oven out of bricks and cinder blocks. Marinated whole ducks, pork loins and leg of lamb are placed onto large Brazilian skewers and cooked on top of the oven.
Roger meets a pit master with a PhD who cooks Carolina-style whole hog barbecue in Louisiana. Dr. Howard Conyers is an engineer for NASA by day, but a pit master at night, on weekends, and every moment in between. His family has been cooking whole hogs for generations and he is preserving a time-honored tradition, taking the pig out of the rig and right into the ground. Roger and Howard break out the heavy machinery and flex their muscles to dig out a pit, and build a raging fire in a towering burn barrel.
Roger Mooking's first visit to the 50th state promises big fires and big feasts. Right off of Nimitz Highway in Honolulu is family-run restaurant Koala Moa, famous for whole chickens roasted over fire. Roger and owner Chris Shimabukuro burn wood pallets and unopened bags of charcoal in a thirty-five foot rotisserie trailer and cook up over 100 seasoned chickens. At Ma'O Organic Farms in Wai-anae, Roger meets local chef Bob McGee who roasts half a cow over a custom-built metal grill.
Roger Mooking visits Faith's Farm in Bonfield, Ill., 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.
Roger Mooking heads to Hoodoo Brown Barbeque in Ridgefield, CT, where owner Cody Sperry serves up monster-sized meaty masterpieces. Cody serves up "outlaw barbeque," a mashup of styles and traditions with smoke pork butts, pork ribs, pork belly and beef brisket. All that pork comes together in the Hogzilla, a towering sandwich with BBQ ranch dressing, fried green tomato and coleslaw. To wash it down, Roger and Hoodoo Brown Barbecue manager, Chris Sexton make a cocktail called, "The Bloody Trinity," which is topped with smoked meat! Finally, Roger makes his way to Nashville, where Vivek Surti, founder of the VEA Supper Club, cooks up a massive hanging whole rib roast crusted with spices and serves it with grilled broccoli salad and roasted sweet potatoes.
Richard McCallister of Marksbury Farm Market invites Roger Mooking to his annual spring celebration in Lancaster, Ky. Richard and Roger season a flock of spring chickens and cook them in a contraption inspired by the grills in Uruguay. Roger contributes a dish to the party: corn on the cob seasoned with coconut oil and an exotic blend of spices. Richard's friend Jim Budros insists on preparing Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler for dessert and transports his 2000 pound wood-burning oven straight from Ohio.
In this special one-hour episode, host Roger Mooking looks back at some of his favorite grilling moments on Man Fire Food from locations both big and small.
Roger Mooking loves a great barbecue sandwich. He heads to The Barbecue Exchange for two sinfully delicious sandwiches -- one is called Heaven and the other Hell and both are packed with pulled pork and bacon. Then it's off to Papa KayJoe's BBQ in Centerville, Tenn., where pork, pickles, slaw and hot sauce are sandwiched between crispy corn cakes.
Roger Mooking heads to Texas and Louisiana to feast on classic Cajun cooking. In small town Mamou, La., there's a big time smokehouse filled with five hundred pounds of Southern smoked favorites. Roger helps owner T-Boy fill the room with sausages, tasso, ribs and jerky. A selection of smoked meats is then stirred into a pot of T-Boy's famous red beans and served over white rice. In College Station, Texas, a professor originally from Louisiana has transformed a shed into a smoker in order to make Cochon de Lait, a Cajun pig roast.
Roger Mooking meets up with two mastermind chefs who show off their radical rigs on opposite ends of the country. In Great Barrington, Mass. Roger puts the pedal to the metal on Jeremy Stanton's "Rotisserie Bike," a genius stationary bike that can turn up to 12 spits at once with nothing more than the force of two hamstrings. After prepping a whole hog, an 80 pound beef leg, and a basket of onions, Roger and Jeremy burn some calories while they take turns to keep the meat turning over three open fires. Then, Roger races off to San Francisco where he and Chef Sophina Uong of Mestiza Taqueria cook up a Filipino-Mexican feast on her lean mean chicken machine. Over 30 chickens are loaded onto bamboo sticks and leaned over an open fire.
Roger Mooking is going coast to coast for his cookouts, starting with Seattle chef Renee Erickson, who celebrates summer by smoking meats and seafood in wine barrels that have been transformed into smokers. Fresh lamb, Pacific oysters, spot prawns and Dungeness crabs are quickly cooked in these unique wine barrel smokers for a summertime feast at a beautiful farm just outside the city. In New England, nothing screams summer more than a traditional seafood boil prepared right on the beach. Roger visits Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Mass., and digs for the tastiest oysters and clams from the beach and builds the perfect pit for a delicious outdoor seafood boil.
At Ned Ludd An American Craft Kitchen restaurant in Portland, Ore., chef Jason French loves to prepare food in his wood-fired oven and outdoor smoker so much that he doesn't even have a gas stove. Jason takes Roger Mooking to Big Table Farm in Gaston where his friends built a smoker out of a sea buoy. Chickens and pork belly are smoked for a sunset feast in the middle of the farm. In Iowa City, chef Kurt Friese hosts "Lambapalooza," whole lamb cooked on a rotisserie he built in his backyard. Lamb from a local farm is stuffed with aromatics and cooked throughout the day and potatoes harvested that morning are baked directly in the coals.
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/owner Steve McHugh slow-roast a 230-pound hog in a large outdoor cinder block pit.
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.
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 Mooking is travelling cross-country celebrating the art of pit cooking. In Michigan, Roger meets up with Andy Shundlich of Epicure Catering, helping cook a classic Italian pig roast in his brick-lined pit. In Texas, Roger gets a lip-smacking lesson in short ribs, Latin-American deep pit BBQ-style. In Hawaii, Roger joins the local community in preparing a whole pig and salmon using a traditional underground oven called an imu. Finally, in Massachusetts, Roger checks out a beautiful backyard pit where he'll help prepare whole goat and all the fixings for the ultimate tacos.
Charleston, S.C., is one of America's top dining destinations, but for traditional whole hog barbecue and low-country oyster roasts, Roger Mooking leaves the city and heads into the country. In, Hemingway, Roger meets pit master Rodney Scott at Scott's Bar-B-Q, whose smoke-filled pit room can cook up to fourteen hogs. Then in fishing town McClellanville, Roger meets Oliver Thames who invented a unique oyster roaster, where local cluster oysters are piled over a metal sheet positioned over a firebox and blankets of wet burlap rest on top to help the oysters steam open.
Roger Mooking heads to Napa Valley, Calif., for two unique pig roasts. In St. Helena, chef John Fink is famous for his portable Cuban Pig roasts. Over a custom built oven, a whole pig is butterflied and seasoned with mojo and slow-roasted over wood coals. In Calistoga, Roger meets Todd Spanier to feast on a whole pig that's stuffed with truffles and trumpet mushrooms, then roasted over a rotisserie that his grandfather constructed in the 1970s.
Roger Mooking takes a trip to West Point, Texas, to meet Tink Pinkard. Tink is an outdoor guide, hunter, fisherman, caterer and all-around nice guy. Together they build a barbecue pit out of cinder blocks and prepare Italian porchetta. While the pig slowly roasts over coals, Tink teaches Roger how to fly-fish and takes him to a neighbor's longhorn ranch. It's a wild and delicious adventure that Roger won't soon forget.
Roger Mooking visits two legendary barbecue joints in Central Texas where just the right amount of smoke and heat transforms the meat into delicious eats. At Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas, they have eight pits for cooking, acres of wood for burning and hundreds of pounds of delicious barbecue for stick-to-your-ribs eating. At Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, third generation pit master Wayne Mueller gives Roger an experience of a lifetime.
Roger Mooking is in Southern California for two unbelievable backyard blowouts. Roger meets Chef Ben Ford in Tarzana for a unique California-style clambake, using an old wine barrel as the cooking vessel for clams, mussels, Dungeness crabs, artichokes, corn, potatoes and onions. 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 before covering it with dried avocado and fresh maguey leaves and cooking it in the pit overnight.
Roger Mooking's favorite way to devour smoked pork shoulder is in a sandwich. In Grand Rapids, Roger visits the Pit Stop, a barbecue take-out famous for their unconventional yet scrumptious sandwich featuring pork chili, pulled pork, cilantro cream and barbecue sauce 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, Ala. This barbecue institution has been serving their best-selling 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.
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