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.
Today it's all about Roger Mooking's favorite animal, the pig. He's hamming it up at some of the country's best suppliers of pork. Roger heads to Edwards near historic Jamestown, Va., to visit Sam Edwards, a third-generation "ham master" who pays tribute to old world Europe with his cured, smoked and aged country hams. Roger also stops by Benton's delicious Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville, Tenn., where Allan Benton has turned the dry curing of ham and bacon into a culinary art.
Roger Mooking heads to North and South Carolina to visit a couple of old school restaurants that have upheld a long tradition of mouthwatering barbecue for several generations. At Sweatman's in Holly Hill, S.C., whole hogs are cooked low and slow and then pulled and chopped into juicy, meaty perfection. In North Carolina, Roger visits Stamey's Barbecue in Greensboro for their Lexington-style barbecue. Succulent pork shoulders are chopped and piled high on a bun, kissed with vinegar sauce and crowned with slaw.
Mexican food is a favorite of Roger Mooking because of its complex, earthy flavors and tradition of cooking over a wood fire. Roger meets Chef Johnny Hernandez in San Antonio, and cooks regional Mexican dishes in the ultimate outdoor kitchen.
Texas is famous for American barbecue, but today Roger Mooking is making his way through the Lone Star state for live-fire Latin American cooking and to savor the flavors of smoked European-style sausages. Class is in session at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio and Roger gets a lesson in preparing Mexican-style short ribs cooked in the ground. Elgin is a town famous for their German-style sausages and Roger visits Meyer's and helps prepare thousands of twice smoked sausages.
Roger Mooking searches the Gulf States for tasty artisanal foods kissed with smoke and fire that deliver big flavors. In Austin, a family roasts coffee the old fashioned way -- small batches over a roaring fire. Roger savors a cup and also learns how they use coffee in Texas barbecue. Then it's off to LaPlace, La., for amazing Andouille sausages, smoked sausages and tasso. Roger tastes these Louisiana treats in some New Orleans classics.
Roger Mooking heads to the heart of New Mexico where cooking with fire is taken to new culinary heights with mud and steel. Roger visits Comida de Campos in Embudo, a farm and cooking school where delicious feasts are cooked in cone-shaped clay ovens, where he helps cook pork shoulder. In Bosque, Roger fires up three steel discos and one large jara for two New Mexican pork dishes: carne adovada and carnitas.
Roger Mooking cruises through central California for two spectacular, meat-filled cookouts. This area is home to many vineyards, but Paso de Record Vineyard in San Miguel has piqued Roger's interest. The vineyard hosts wine release parties for its customers and serves barbecue prepared in a deep pit built in the picture-perfect property. In Santa Barbara, Roger visits a local caterer famous for creating an Argentine Asado.
Roger Mooking visits the West Coast for two unique wood-fired roasts. Roger heads to Sloughhouse to visit Passmore Ranch, a freshwater, sustainable fish farm, where Roger is challenged to catch a 6ft white sturgeon-by hand! The catch of the day is then stuffed with aromatics and roasted over a large bed of coals. Roger is on the hunt for Santa Maria-style barbecue and heads to the Santa Maria Elks Lodge. In the legendary BBQ Room, Roger helps build a fire in the massive pit and seasons and skewers big hunks of beef.
Roger Mooking visits the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School in Masardis, Maine, where owner and wilderness guide Tim Smith teaches him how to create a rustic outdoor kitchen. They build a pyramid cooker out of logs and string, and use it to roast whole chickens and fresh-caught Brook Trout. With the help of a reflector oven, they complete their feast with Sourdough Biscuits.
Everyone loves sitting in front of a fireplace, but Roger Mooking loves cooking in one: He visits two places in New England that host delicious fireplace feasts. During the winter months, family-run restaurant Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, Mass., roasts racks of ribs in front of a scorching indoor fireplace. At Foster's Clambake in York, Maine, a classic New England clambake of lobsters, mussels, clams, corn and potatoes is steamed to perfection in a massive outdoor fireplace.
Roger Mooking meets two people in New England who love to play with fire. In Plymouth, Mass., the backyard of cookbook author and archeologist Paula Marcoux is filled with cooking contraptions inspired by her travels. Roger and Paula build a fire for the German Schwenker Grill and Paula also teaches Roger how to steam mussels with dry pine needles and a hot coal. Roger then visits Brookside Barn and Farm in Uxbridge, Mass., where owner David Adamson rents out do-it-yourself pig roasts kits for anyone interested in a delicious backyard feast.
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.