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.
When it comes to finding great barbecue, Roger Mooking knows that it's not just the small towns that dish out big flavors. He heads to Bludso's Bar and Que in Los Angeles, where owner Kevin Bludso brings meat and heat to Tinseltown in a big way. Using the cooking techniques his Texas grandmother taught him, Kevin loads up his massive smoker with brisket, pork ribs and chicken to cook low and slow in oak and pecan smoke. Kevin also shares his family's 70-year-old recipe for mac and cheese with Roger. In San Antonio, another big city stepping up its barbecue game, Roger meets with Emilio and Christi Soliz, who have turned a small house into a restaurant blending Texas-style barbecue with Tex-Mex flavors. At King's Hwy Brew n Que, they stuff slow-smoked brisket into torta sandwiches with crema and avocado, while fall-apart pork butt is piled onto corn tortillas with cilantro and salsa.
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 "
Where there's fire, there's smoke, and some of the most flavorful meat on the market comes straight from incredible smoking operations. Roger Mooking joins the team at Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, a famous smokehouse shipping nationwide from Madisonville, Tenn., to help prepare huge hams for a three-day cold smoke before they're cured for up to two years. Then, he surfs on to Chicago's Calumet Fisheries, an 80-year-old seafood smokehouse, to load up salmon, trout, whitefish, sable and sturgeon. Finally, Roger heads to small town Mamou, La., to a big time smokehouse called T-Boyz. Roger and T-Boy go hog wild on over 500 pounds of Cajun smoked meats that are mixed in with an unbeatable combination of red beans and rice.
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 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 is going from the west coast to the east coast to check out crazy custom contraptions. First, he gets to play with a one-of-a-kind "meat swing set" in West Sacramento, Calif. Custom-built for Chef Beau Fairbairn, it can cook a whole animal or two, and still have room left over. Roger and Beau slow-cook a whole hog and an entire garden's worth of vegetables over a 12-foot-long wood fire. Then, Roger heads to school in farm country, New Jersey, where cooking-school founder, Ian Knauer, teaches open-fire cooking. Today's lessons: whole lamb roasted over a wood fire on a 5-foot hand-powered rotisserie, accompanied by salsa verde made with herbs from the farm and vegetables roasted in a wood-fired oven.
Roger Mooking attends the 100-year anniversary of the St. Mary Magdalene Church Picnic in Owensboro, Kentucky, where several thousand pounds of meat will cook over 100 feet of fire and smoke. Roger helps volunteers load and light three massive barbecue pits with wood planks, pallets and straw, then it's all hands on deck to prep, cook, flip and mop sauce for mutton, pork butts and chickens. Thousands attend this annual fundraiser, which even has a drive-through for folks who prefer to take their 'cue to go!
Chef Roger Mooking highlights the inventive ways Americans cook with fire. From small campfires to custom-made grills and smokers, he visits the home cooks, pitmasters and chefs who are fascinated by fire and food.
At Ned Ludd 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" with 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.
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 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.
In this special one-hour episode, host Roger Mooking looks back at some of his favorite grilling moments on Man Fire Food from locations both big and small.
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.
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 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.
Smokers and grills come in all shapes and sizes, but Roger Mooking has 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.
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 heads to Hoodoo Brown Barbeque in Ridgefield, CT, where owner Cody Sperry serves up monster-sized meaty masterpieces. Cody serves up "outlaw barbeque," a mashup of styles and traditions with smoke pork butts, pork ribs, pork belly and beef brisket. All that pork comes together in the Hogzilla, a towering sandwich with BBQ ranch dressing, fried green tomato and coleslaw. To wash it down, Roger and Hoodoo Brown Barbecue manager, Chris Sexton make a cocktail called, "The Bloody Trinity," which is topped with smoked meat! Finally, Roger makes his way to Nashville, where Vivek Surti, founder of the VEA Supper Club, cooks up a massive hanging whole rib roast crusted with spices and serves it with grilled broccoli salad and roasted sweet potatoes.
Roger Mooking makes two pit stops in the South for a little sizzle and a lot of smoke. He starts at Comfort Farms in Milledgeville, Ga., a nonprofit organization where retired veteran Jon Jackson helps fellow vets adjust to civilian life by teaching them how to farm, raise animals and cook. Jon often hosts cookouts to thank and feed his community, and Roger joins him to cook a whole mutton seasoned with garlicky rosemary paste and slow-roast cauliflower, broccoli, beets and onions. Roger then heads to Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer, Ala., for classic, open brick-pit barbecue. He learns the tricks of the trade from seasoned pitmaster Van Sykes, who has been stoking coals since he was 8 years old. They season 250 pounds of picnic pork with salt and load it into a 15-foot pit heated with hickory wood. The pork is then sliced, topped with just enough vinegar-based barbecue sauce and sandwiched inside a toasted bun with sliced pickles.
Roger Mooking meets two talented chefs who own two spectacular outdoor cooking rigs. In Miami, Chef Aaron Brooks celebrates Latin flavors with his unique coal-fueled contraption called the Cross Table. Roger and Aaron roast butterflied pork and simmer seafood paella. In Birmingham, Ala., Roger visits Chef Chris Hastings at his restaurant OvenBird. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired kitchen, but Chris's fascination for fire led him to create a one-of-a-kind portable oven. Roger and Chris cook up a meat lover's feast along with the season's best vegetables.
Roger Mooking heads to Napa Valley, Calif., for two unique pig roasts. In St. Helena, chef John Fink is famous for his portable Cuban Pig roasts. Over a custom built oven, a whole pig is butterflied and seasoned with mojo and slow-roasted over wood coals. In Calistoga, Roger meets Todd Spanier to feast on a whole pig that's stuffed with truffles and trumpet mushrooms, then roasted over a rotisserie that his grandfather constructed in the 1970s.
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.
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.
Like a moth to a flame, nothing grabs Roger Mooking's attention like a raging wood-burning fire. Roger heads to Bigmista's Barbecue & Sammich Shop in Long Beach, Calif., where Neil and Phyllis Strawder spread their smoked meat love. Roger and Neil load up the smoker with beef briskets and pork butts, then back in the kitchen, Roger and Phyllis roll up their sleeves and build unique barbecue sandwiches. In Door County, Wis., Roger is bowled over by the area's legendary fish boil. At the Old Post Office Restaurant, boil master Jeremy Klaubauf cooks local white fish, potatoes and onions in a cauldron by engulfing it in flames.
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.