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 visits an old-school barbecue institution serving chopped pork in South Carolina and a popular restaurant serving Hill County barbecue classics in Texas. First, he heads to Price's BBQ in Gilbert, S.C., 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 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.
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 is in Lockhart, Texas, to meet the team responsible for designing and crafting a monster rig that offers seven different cooking contraptions. Brothers Matt and Caleb Johnson create smokers for chefs and pitmasters across the country through their company Mill Scale Metalworks. They collaborated with local chef Arturo Ramon II of Blanco River Meat Co. on an impressive rig, and Roger helps Arturo roast whole young goats on asado crosses, hang sweet tea-brined Cornish hens and steam whole red snappers stuffed with aromatics.
Roger Mooking visits the Louisiana bayou for barbecue, brunch and a crawfish boil. In Prairieville, La., he helps a husband-and-wife team of caterers prepare baby back ribs, brisket and 200 pounds of live crawfish. Then Roger heads to Baton Rouge, La., to meet a caterer serving barbecue breakfast sandwiches at a local eatery. They season pork butts and beef cheeks for smoking and then pile the meat onto biscuits with fried eggs, cheese and bacon.
From live-fire cooking to low-and-slow barbecue, Roger Mooking meets up with two couples making fiery feasts and creating sparks in California. He starts with Danny and Nicoletta Herlihy, whose company Do or Dine Catering specializes in Mediterranean farm-to-table feasts cooked with a live fire. Roger helps them hang legs of lamb and cook vegetables on a large, hot plancha for an event at an olive oil company. Then Roger meets up with Matt and Nina Horn of Horn Barbecue, an underground craft barbecue business with Southern influences. Roger helps pitmaster Matt season and smoke lamb shoulders for sandwiches that are served with a side of Nina's Pit Beans.
Roger Mooking drops in at two backyard cookouts where the smoke is thick and the fires are hot. He helps guest chef Jeremy Conner prepare a fish roast at renowned bed and breakfast Maison Madeleine in Breaux Bridge, La. They spear marinated whole red fish and pompano on sugar cane poles and arrange them around fire pits. In Bakersfield, Calif., Roger joins pitmaster Fred Reclusado in his outdoor kitchen to make ribs al pastor and fry tilapia.
Roger Mooking is in Louisiana, where smoked meat makes an appearance in many classic Cajun dishes. He meets Chef Nathanial Zimet, who serves North Carolina-style smoked whole hog in po' boy sandwiches at Bourree in New Orleans. Roger helps Nathanial season and smoke a whole hog, and they also prepare Smoked Buffalo Chicken Wings. At Paul's Meat Market and Grocery in Ville Platte, La., Roger helps owner Paul Fontenot fill his outdoor smokehouse with several different kinds of sausages, tasso, pork belly, turkey wings and drumsticks. Paul also shares a family recipe for Cajun Brown Gravy.
Roger Mooking cruises the Florida coastline for two fiery cookouts that bring the heat. First, he visits Chef Marcel Vizcarra, owner of modern Peruvian eatery Llama Restaurant in St. Augustine, Fla., to check out an ancient, Peruvian-style pit roast called pachamanca. Marcel invites Roger to his home, and they fire up his custom-built, above-ground pit for tubers, fava beans, lamb, chicken and pork all rubbed down with a flavorful marinade and layered in with plantain leaves. Marcel and Roger also prepare Peruvian arapaima fish fillets by wrapping them in plantain leaves and grilling them over an open fire. Roger then heads to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Georgia Pig BBQ, a legendary old-school, open-pit barbecue restaurant that has been around since 1953. The star of the menu is smoked meat cooked in the dining room's pit, and owner and pitmaster Luke Moorman shows Roger the dish that earned them rave reviews: a Bar-B-Q Chopped Pork Sandwich doused in a delicious mustard barbecue sauce.
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.
The smoke signals of fiery feasts lure Roger Mooking to the Southwest, where his first stop is West Alley BBQ and Smokehouse in Chandler, Ariz. The hot spot specializes in Tennessee-style barbecue, and Roger helps founder Bardo Brantley and Pit Boss Robert "Jim Dandy" Spann load brick pits with over 300 pounds of pork. The pork butts are piled high in their signature sandwich, The Big Jim Dandy, and their fan-favorite ribs are tossed in a barbecue sauce with a heavy hit of cayenne. For his second stop, Roger gets lucky in Las Vegas, where he meets Chef Justin Kingsley Hall of The Kitchen at Atomic. His portable rig known as "The Swing Set" is anything but child's play. To build this winning jackpot of meat, Roger and Justin suspend Mediterranean spice-rubbed legs of lambs, nestle butternut squash into a bed of coals and grill carrots in a swinging basket.
Roger Mooking meets two barbecue brainiacs who have mastered the art of marrying heat and meat to turn out top-notch barbecue. Pitmaster Christopher Prieto teaches students the science of smoking and seasoning meats at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale, N.C. Roger helps Prieto season a whole hog with Puerto Rican flavors, and then they smoke it in a North Carolina-style pit using coals made from pecan, hickory and cherry woods. In Glen Allen, Va., Roger meets Tuffy Stone, a classically trained French chef, cookbook author, champion pitmaster and the owner of local barbecue chain Q Barbeque. When Tuffy's not tinkering in the kitchen, he's busy building rigs from scratch, and Roger helps fire up his latest contraption with hickory coals and then hang whole spiced and buttered chickens.
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.
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.