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.
Hawaii island Oahu is known as the "gathering place," and Roger Mooking is invited to two community gatherings abundant with local foods. On the east side of the island, local chef Mark "Gooch" Noguchi teaches Roger how to prepare a traditional Hawaiian imu. At the farmer's market located at Kapiolani Community College, Roger meets Scott Shibuya who smokes meats with guava and kiawe woods, in a smoker he built out of an Air Force cargo container, an airplane food cart and a computer fan.
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.
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 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 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.
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