Roger Mooking gets schooled by two pit masters changing the barbecue game in Charleston, S.C. Carolina-style barbecue is all about pork and Rodney Scott is the whole hog boss. Roger checks out Rodney's impressive new pit room where whole hogs get cooked low and slow. Rodney then hits the hogs with his secret "
Roger Mooking heads to the Liberty Kitchen in Houston, Texas, where Chef Lance Fegen has built a monster wood-fired Argentinian grill. Roger and Lance prepare a traditional Balinese pig roast by spit-roasting it over bold mesquite coals and coconut shells. They complete their tropical feast with Mexican pork asado tacos made on an edible rig. Next Roger heads to Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, N.C., where Executive Chef Nate Sloan hooks Roger up with a fire-roasted farm feast. They prepare porchetta, stuffing the center cut of a pig with spicy Italian sausage and lush kale pesto, roll it up into cylinder, and spin it on a rotisserie over a bed of hot coals. They also roast spring onions and place them over heirloom grits cooked in a coal-fueled cauldron.
Barbecue is in the blood at two family-run institutions where the dedication for perfecting smoked meats spans decades. Burns Original BBQ in Houston, Texas, is the definition of a family business. Grandpa Roy Burns started cooking barbecue in 1973 on the side to help support his NINE children. Four decades later, over a dozen family members continue to keep the flames burning and the meat smoking. Roger is welcomed into the family and the pit room with open arms. He learns the ropes of East Texas style 'cue - tender chopped brisket, pork ribs that fall off the bone, and football-sized loaded bbq baked potatoes. Next, Roger heads to Poche's Market and Restaurant, which has been a one-stop shop for smoked meats in Breaux Bridge L.A. since 1962. Owner Floyd Poche gives Roger a sampling of their legendary 'cue. Pork ribs, pork steaks, sausages and whole chickens get rubbed down with spicy cajun seasoning before getting loaded into their 40 year old wood-fired smoker.
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 quest for lip-smacking smoked meat leads him back to the Lone Star State. In Houston, Texas, Grant Pinkerton is an award-winning pit master who recently opened up his first restaurant. His specialty is Central Texas barbecue, but he likes to think outside the firebox and cooks up one-of-kind cuts.. Roger and Grant season two whole goats with a spice blend that includes guajillo chile, cumin and red pepper. The tender meat gets hand-pulled and piled on tortillas and topped with all the fixings, and served with a side of Mexican street corn. Then Roger meets up with Chef Andrew Wiseheart of Austin, Texas. When Andrew isn't in his kitchen at Contigo Restaurant, he is playing with fire in the great outdoors with a one-of-a-kind rig. Roger and Andrew rub whole chickens with fruity green peppercorns and hang them to slowly spin over coals. To complete the meal, they stuff whole squash with a medley of hearty vegetables and farro to cook hot and fast by the flames.
Roger Mooking follows the smoke signals to two Texas restaurants. At Bin Tapas Bar in San Antonio, Texas, Roger and Chef Jason Dady cook a giant pan of paella flavored with Thai ingredients and cooked over a wood burning fire. In keeping with the Asian theme, Roger and Jason grill up chicken and eggplant marinated in lemongrass, ginger, Thai chilis and fresh herbs. Then Roger heads to Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden in Austin, Texas which has about 30 sausages on the menu and over 100 beers on tap. Locals crowd the beer garden when the restaurant does their monster feast - Smoke Out Saturday. Chef Ted Prater shows Roger how he roasts a Texas-sized goat in a Cajun microwave and makes vegetable skewers and antelope merguez sausages to complete the Mediterranean menu.