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 Northern California for two spectacular wood-fired Mediterranean seafood feasts. In Napa Valley, the Steltzner family is famous for their wines and their towering outdoor oven called the Infiernillo. Roger helps encase whole fish, potatoes and onions in salt before they're baked in the enormous oven. In Tomales Bay, caterer Tom Meckfessel prepares a delicious surf-and-turf Spanish-inspired paella over a wood fire right on the water. Roger harvests local clams for the paella with John Finger, owner of Hog Island Oyster Farm.
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 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 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 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 travels across Massachusetts to meet two chefs who are putting a brand new spin on fire-roasted, rotisserie chicken. In Great Barrington, Roger visits The Meat Market, where their mobile kitchen is a collection of metal contraptions fueled by wood burning fires, but the one that captures Roger's attention suspends a flock of chickens around a barrel of fire. On Martha's Vineyard, Roger visits Beetlebung Farm where a young farmer serves a New England feast inside a greenhouse.
Roger Mooking visits two chefs from Texas who love to play with smoke and fire in their restaurants and in their backyards. By day, Tom Spaulding serves classic Texas-style barbecue at his restaurant Live Oak. But for special occasions, Tom builds a grill out of cinder blocks and a metal sheet and grate for a South American parilla-style spread. At Chicken Scratch restaurant in Dallas, Tim Byres spins spice-rubbed chickens from his unique wood-burning rotisserie. But in the middle of his vegetable garden, Tim has dug a deep hole and lined it with bricks to make delicious Mexican Lamb Barbacoa inside and Pork Carnitas on top.
Roger Mooking explores cowboy cooking deep in the heart of Texas, where Sandra Julian preserves the tradition of cowboy cuisine in her rustic chuck wagon. She cooks up her famous chicken fried steak over an open fire and bakes peach cobbler in a cast iron Dutch oven. In California, the Righetti family continues to fan the flames of Santa Maria-style barbecue in their restaurant and in their backyard. Metal skewers lined with thirty pounds of spiced rubbed-top sirloins are grilled to juicy perfection and served with traditional pinquito bean salad and strawberry pies.
In Lexington, Texas, folks line up early on Saturday mornings for Snow's BBQ. 77-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz is a custodian worker at a local school during the week, but a serious pit master on Friday nights. Roger Mooking clocks in a night shift to help this pitmaster, her son and the owner prepare hundreds of pounds of brisket, ribs, pork and chicken. In Pacifica, Calif., Hawaiian-style barbecue is prepared right on the coast. Roger helps pit master Darin Petersen wrap a whole pig in taro and ti leaves and lowers it into a deep pit to cook low and slow over a bed of hot lava rocks.
Smokers and grills come in all shapes and sizes, but Roger Mooking found two extreme examples. In Grain Valley, Miss., mechanic Bill Rousseau transformed a retired Cessna airplane into a smoker and transports this impressive rig to a local airport and smokes pork butts and ribs and serves them with grilled chicken for guests, including skydivers who "drop in." In Ridgecrest, Calif., Ed McBride Sr. and Ed McBride Jr. weld salvaged metal into pieces of art, including dragons that are working barbecues. They cook up juicy rib eye roasts in the belly of this metal beast.
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.
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 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.
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 visits New England for two unique food traditions that celebrate family, friends and the community. On the first Saturday of June, the Rotary Club of Essex in Connecticut roasts three hundred pounds of fish that are nailed onto oak boards with strips of salt pork and cooked around a ring of coals for the annual Shad Bake. In Western Massachusetts, Roger meets Neftali Duran who dug a giant hole in his backyard and lined it with stones and bricks to cook goat barbacoa, a classic dish from his hometown Oaxaca, Mexico. Whole cuts of goat are rubbed down with spicy Mexican flavors, wrapped in avocado and maguey leaves and steamed over a pot filled with cracked corn and water to create a side dish called Masita.
In Maine, the love for lobsters runs deep. Roger Mooking visits two places where piles of lobsters are cooked in the coolest wood-fired cookers. In Searsport, a campground is home to a magnificent outdoor kitchen where the Maine event is a feast of lobsters, steamers, mussels and corn cooked in seaweed. In Trenton, a family-run lobster pound boils thousands of pounds of lobsters in pots of boiling seawater set over a wood fire. Roger gets a lesson in cracking lobsters like a true Mainer and helps prepare a classic lobster salad sandwich.
Roger Mooking's search for fire and food takes him to Jamaica where Roger makes a beeline for Scotchie's Too, a restaurant famous for cooking jerk over logs set over pits filled with coals. Roger also meets up with local fisherman Dennis Abrahams at Alligator Pond, a beach where boats pull in after fishing to sell their goods. Dennis and Roger start a campfire right on the beach and grill the catch of the day.
Roger Mooking tames the flames in outdoor kitchens fueled by wood-burning fires. In Solvang, Calif., the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is home to 10,000 acres of land with horses, cattle and a bevy of fiery cooking contraptions. Roger helps fire up a meal of juicy beef ribs and grilled chickens for their weekly ranch cookout. In San Diego, Roger visits the outdoor kitchen of caterer Clyde Van Arsdall of 3 Squares Gourmet to slow-roast herb and citrus-stuffed turkeys on the spit while vegetables roast in the oven. Then it all comes together for a hearty soup that's cooked in an antique cauldron rigged above scorching hot coals.
Roger Mooking visits two Southern California barbecue joints that serve smoked meat specialties on weekends only. First, he meets a husband and wife team running a pop-up restaurant called Moo's Craft Barbecue in their own backyard. He helps load their 2,000-pound smoker with Texas brisket and pork butt for tasty tacos and samples their signature side dishes, Mexican street corn and coleslaw kicked up a notch with tequila. Then Roger finds Calabasas Custom Catering in the parking lot at Jim's Fallbrook Market. He helps caterer Paul Varenchik fire up a big Santa Maria grill to cook beef tri-tip, chickens and baby back ribs, and the waiting customers complete their barbecue plates with crusty garlic bread, macaroni salad and potato salad.
Roger Mooking meets Chef Thomas McNaughton of San Francisco restaurant flour + water at a farm in Healdsburg, Calif., for a live-fire feast of epic proportions. They affix a whole pig to a metal cross to cook over hot coals for several hours, basted often with a mixture of butter, herbs, warm spices and citrus. The pig roast drippings fall into a potato-filled cast iron pan set over the hot coals, and whole onions and squash are nestled directly in the embers. To complete this feast, Roger and Thomas suspend chickens over a fire to roast. But these aren't just any chickens -- they're black-skinned chickens with a slightly gamier flavor. It's a fiery feast Roger won't soon forget.
The best place to celebrate the foods of summer is The Place, located in Guilford, Conn. The kitchen for this roadside eatery is an outdoor grill, fueled by slabs of local wood. Brothers Vaughn and Gary Knowles take Roger Mooking to the lumberyard for wood and the docks for fresh-caught lobsters and clams for a breathtaking wood-fired New England seafood feast. In Olympia, Wash., the Nisqually Tribe teaches Roger two traditional ways of preparing seafood.
Three times a year, Mark Skudlarek fires his three-chamber kiln at Cambridge Pottery in Cambridge, Wis., borrowing some of the kiln's coals to place them in an outdoor wood-fired oven and in the grill for a celebratory feast, and Roger Mooking is there to taste the goods from the custom-designed earthenware bakers. In Deadwood, Ore., a couple turned a metal barrel into an everyday, outside oven. They invite Roger to pick produce from their bountiful garden and help prepare their favorite family recipes.
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.