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.
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 visits two caterers in the South who specialize in live-fire cookouts. He starts in Chattanooga, Tenn., where Argentine grillmaster Mariano Cebrian has an incredible collection of portable rigs to create live-fire events through his catering operation, Panoram Asados. When he's off the clock, Mariano and his wife, Angelina, light up these creative rigs in their backyard and cook traditional Argentine meals for their family and friends. Roger and Mariano fire up the parilla, a large outdoor hearth, to roast whole cabbages and carrots and char steak empanadas. Large slabs of beef short ribs are attached to metal crosses to slowly cook over a bed of fiery hot coals. In Columbia, S.C., Roger meets Chef Kristian Niemi, who prepares farm-to-table feasts through Honey River Catering. Together they create two cooking stations out of a cinder block pit for a Southern-style surf-and-turf spread. They season and stuff a boneless whole hog with ground pork sausage, sweet peppers, fennel, cranberries and a medley of spices and aromatics to create porchetta that cooks low and slow over coals. On the side, they roast and steam a bounty of oysters with pecan wood smoke thanks to Krisitan's custom-made plancha.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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's in South Carolina for two spectacular low country cookouts. 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. 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. Roger meets Robert Barber, owner of the restaurant and the island, and together they build an impressive fire to cook a massive pile of local cluster oysters.
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 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.
Roger Mooking visits two Texas pitmasters who give breakfast a wake-up call by adding barbecue. Reid Guess' custom-built rigs and smoked meats are on full display at Guess Family Barbecue in Waco, Texas. Reid and Roger fire up a 1,000-gallon offset smoker and fill it with seasoned pork butts and tri-tip steaks. They pull the pork, add it to fluffy pancakes and top with whiskey butter and maple syrup. The steak is seared on hot coals, dressed with chimichurri sauce and served with fried eggs. Then Roger heads to Derek Allan's Texas Barbecue in Fort Worth, Texas, for the signature Brisket Kolaches. Helming the unique upright smokers is Derek Crudgington, an IT systems engineer and self-taught pitmaster. Derek and Roger smoke wagyu beef brisket and stuff the melt-in-your-mouth meat inside soft, pillowy dough with cheese and hashbrowns. They also smoke housemade wagyu beef sausages made from a blend of chuck and brisket and serve the legendary links in breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa.
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 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 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.
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 heads to the Aloha State, where Chef Lee Anne Wong fires up a custom-made stainless steel unit with local kiawe wood and prepares a tropical feast of beer-can chicken, slow-roasted fruits and vegetables and fresh mahi-mahi fillets wrapped in banana leaves. In Bellaire, Texas, Roger steps into the smoke at Blood Bros. BBQ, where brothers Robin and Terry Wong and their childhood friend Quy Hoang cook up classic Texas 'cue mixed with global flavors. Roger and Quy season and smoke brisket flaps and then cube, sauce and slow-cook the meat for addictive Brisket Burnt Ends. They stuff the delectable nuggets inside soft bao buns with strips of cucumber, scallions and pickled jicama. Smoked St. Louis-style pork ribs are slathered with a sweet-and-spicy Thai peanut butter glaze and finished with a sprinkling of hot chilies.
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.