Man Fire Food (2012) - full transcript

Roger Mooking tours the U.S. in a search for the most innovative methods of cooking with fire.

The fire titans of Tennessee
are swinging for the fences

with two outrageous rigs

that can hang
with the best of them.

I start in Lebanon
for a feast of fowl.

Chef Trey Cioccia cooks
whole ducks

that are stuffed
with citrus and aromatics,

suspended around
a burning tower of coals

and cooked
until juicy perfection.

Duck, duck, cabbage.

Then I make my way to Nashville,

where a swing set
has been transformed

into a multilevel
cooking contraption.

Local butchers James Peisker
and Chris Carter cook rib roasts

hanging from chains and sear
sausages over a movable grill.

Make it swing, baby!
Look at that.

That's so cool!


In Nashville, Tennessee,
the food scene is

just as lively
as the music scene.

Chef Trey Cioccia is fanning
the flames at two restaurants

and breathing new life
into Southern classics.

Trey invited me
to Wedge Oak Farms in Lebanon,

which is a half an hour
outside of Nashville.

He's bringing his rigs,
building fires

and cooking
a farm-to-fire-to-table feast.

I'm bringing my appetite.

All right, Trey, man, this thing
is pretty cool.

I'm seeing all kinds of stuff,
places to hang stuff,

a kind of chimney
in here.

Walk me through
how this thing works.

CIOCCIA: This is our cauldron
with a burn barrel.

We're going to load wood
in the top.

It's going to
produce coals

to keep the bottom
of the cauldron hot,

evenly disperse
through your protein.

It's also going to heat
this barrel up right here, too

and allow radiant heat
to come out while we're cooking.

So if you're
hanging stuff here,

its proximity to this is going
to heat it, as well, to cook it.

Sure, and we can bring it
in or out.

That's why we have all these,
so if we need

to go closer,
we can bring closer.

If we need to come away,
we can come away.

You got some pots and pans
to cook on.

Very dynamic, man.
I love it.

Today, we're going to be
hanging some ducks.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.
You said, "Ducks"?


Duck is, like,
my favorite thing on Earth.

It has such a distinct
kind of sweet,

nutty flavor,
so rich and full.

The skin gets crispy
if you cook it proper.

We're definitely going to
cook it proper today, my man,

and then once we get closer
to the end,

down in these pans,
we going to make some succotash.

I love succotash.
It has lima beans.

It has corn in there, finish it
with a little cream and butter,

ooh, just so delicious,

so we're in good shape here
today, man.

How do we get started?

We going to
start a fire, baby.

We're going to get you
to get some cardboard,

and we're going to stuff
it inside this chimney here,

and then once
we get all that done,

we're going to start throwing
some of this kindle

on top of it.

What kind of of wood
we going to add to this
to really get it going?

We got some hickory.
It's indigenous to Tennessee.

It's what I learned
to smoke on.

I like this hickory because
it's a nice neutral wood.

It allows the flavor
of whatever you're cooking

to actually stand out,
and it's not too smoky.

All right.

We got our super chimney loaded,
got my favorite part of the day.

Light it up.


I can see what you mean
about emanating heat.

I already feel it.
-I feel it, too, man.

You smell
that hickory, man?

We already getting
some coals dropping.

Are we going to mess
with this burn barrel too?


So when we got our grills
over here and cooking our corn,

we got some coals
to shovel in there.

Basically, this burn barrel is
just a giant version of the one

that's on the contraption
over there.


Imagine my luck.
We get to start two fires today.


All right, them things
are raging pretty good.

How long before we got coals
we can cook with?

About an hour or so,
let them coals drop down,

so we can get in
and prep some food up.

All right,
so we got some oregano here,

some rosemary, some thyme
and, of course, orange,

which is
an all-time classic

favorite love affair
with duck, right?

Absolutely, man.

Have you done anything
to these ducks?

We took a little salt,
rubbed it inside the cavity.

That dries it out
a little bit,

kind of get more
kind of an age to it.

You're seasoning
from the inside out,

which really helps
with the flavor a lot.


That's why we're going
to get you to stuff

these things with
all these herbs and citrus.

It's going to be nice.

We're going to take the herbs,
break them up a little bit,

get those oils released,
take some citrus.

We're going to kind of shove
it up in that cavity,

so all that juice
and moisture

inside that duck
is going to hit that,

and it's just going
to try to --

pretty much make its own little
stock in its own little belly.

And do you like to season it
on the outside, as well?

Yeah, I like to just basic,
man, salt and pepper.

I'm going to
flip the bird over.

So I'm just going
to take these wires.

We're going to go across
the backside here

and then truss it here,
and we're going to do

this little
loop-around knot right here.

We're going to be able
to hang them flat,

be able to rotate them
up like this.


Can't help but notice you got
some purple cabbage over there.

Yeah, we've just seasoned
the cabbage

with a little olive oil,
salt and pepper,

keep it really simple.

Purple cabbage goes
really well with the duck,

so we're going to take that
and kind of fold

into that succotash
when we're done with them.

All right.
It's good to go, man.

Let's get it over the fire.
-Let's get it over there.


Those ducks look
amazing, man.

They look good.
Don't they, man?

Let's get those cabbages.

Let's do it.

So we're going to cook these
purple cabbages at the same time

as the duck,

and hopefully, we're going
to get a nice char outside

and nice soft, tender inside.

We're going to let those go for
about an 1 1/2 hours, 2 hours,

rotate it every 20 minutes
just to kind of get

that skin nice
and evenly cooked.

Is there anything you're going
to do to the duck

while you're spinning it around?

We going to baste it
a little bit.

I got a little mop
of some fresh herbs,

some maple,
and rice-wine vinegar,

so it's going to crisp it up,
make it look beautiful.

Man, I can already
smell this meal.

I'll be tasting it.

It's going to be good.

Coming up, this crispy
moist duck will be flying

onto the plate
and into my belly.


I'm out here
in Lebanon, Tennessee,

with my man,
Trey Cioccia.

Now, Lebanon is 30 minutes
outside of Nashville,

where my man, Trey,

has two restaurants
that feature wood-fire cooking,

but right now, we're at
Wedge Oak Farms.

These ducks right here
are looking delicious.

CIOCCIA: We've taken some
fresh herbs, some oregano,

some thyme, some rosemary,
broke them up a little bit,

some fresh citrus,
stuffed that cavity,

nice salt-and-pepper crust
on the outside.

We've basted them
two or three times.

It's got some maple.

It's got a little
rice-wine vinegar, some garlic.

Nice, and we put on these
purple cabbage at the same time,

and we're going to be using
that cabbage for a succotash,

which is basically
sauteed lima beans,

some corn, and what else
are you going to put in there?

We're going to put some
tomatoes, some fresh herbs,

a little bit of cream.

It's going to be good.
-All right, man.

So what have you done
to the grill back here?

So I took that
big old burn barrel,

got a couple loads of shovels
of coals down there,

spread them out
real nice,

threw a couple logs,
let them catch a little bit,

so when we put this down,
it's going to give it

a nice little kiss
on that corn.


-All right, already,
we're getting a good
sizzle on that corn.

How long
should that take?

We can probably --
About 15, 20 minutes, nice.

We just want it
to warm that corn up

because we're going to put it
back in those pans again anyways

and get those cooking.


So Trey, over there,

is just kind of shredding
up the purple cabbage,

and I'm just taking
the kernels off of the cobs,

and you can already see
a very vibrant-colored dish.

It's going to
taste delicious, too.


All right, man, well, it is
succotash time right now.

You know, we got this
cast-iron pan heating up.

It's smoking hot
over here.

We got lima beans.

We got cubed-up bacon
that you made, tomatoes.

We got cream, herbs, shallots,
salt, pepper.

So what do you want
to start with?

Let's start
with this bacon.

Just going to sweat it
a little bit.

So sweating, basically,

we don't want it to get
too brown and crunchy,

but we do want
to render down that fat

because that fat is going to
help cook the rest of the stuff.

-Shallots, let's do it.

Shallots are basically like
small onions,

slight garlicky flavor.

So I'm putting in the corn,
right into the fat.

I want that to kind of start

as soon as
it hits the pan.

Looks like it's time
for these beans, man.

You know, these lima beans
are one of my favorite beans.

They're a very
hearty bean.

It's a good size,
so it's something to chew on.

It's substantial, but also,
they're very tender and creamy.

What kind of herbs
you got here?

So we've just got
some regular Italian parsley

and some fresh thyme.

You know, immediately,
them herbs come to life, man.

The oils
come out of them.

It just livens it up.

I'm going to give you
some of this cream,

and we'll get this
in there.


So now, we're going to hit it
with these tomatoes.

Man, that smells incredible
right there.

Pass that cabbage.


All right, man, so
that succotash, perfect,

that looks
gorgeous, man.

It's ready.
It's vibrant.

It's colorful.
It's summertime, baby.


I'm telling you, man, these
birds are cooked perfectly.

Thank you, man.

Yo, y'all ready to eat?

ALL: Yeah!


Get in there, man.
Look at that succotash.

-That's awesome.
-Right, right?

[ Indistinct conversations ]


Man, I'm going straight
at this duck, man.

This looks delicious.


That right there is some
good duck, nice brown skin,

got a little crunch
to it.

I get the herbed flavor and
the orange flavor from inside.

I get the maple
and the smoke on top.

That is spectacular.

I feel you.
I feel good about it, man.

-That is --
-Nice, nice bite.

I think I outdid myself.

[ Laughs ]

Now, if that succotash
is anything like that duck,

it's going to be
a great, great day.

[ Clicks tongue ]

I'm really happy you added
the cabbage to that.

I was going to say.

It's got that crunch.
It's super nice.

The sweetness of the cabbage
really come out,

a little char
from the exterior

bits that are kind of
dancing through there.

The bacon is
incredible in that.

That is a really good
succotash, man.

I'm a fan of succotash, and that
one definitely makes the mark.

-It's a good bite.

You keep cooking like this,
you might just see me

with a little hut out
in the woods over there.

That's cool.
I'll put one next to you.

We'll just cook
in the middle.

That is ridiculous.

Coming up, I'm hanging out
with two butchers

who are giving new life
to an old swing set.

That meat is beautifully
seared on all sides.


I'm in Nashville, Tennessee,
meeting up with two butchers

who have some serious chops.

James Peisker and Chris Carter
are the owners of Porter Road.

It's a butcher shop that
sells meat from small farms.

They break down whole animals,
dry-age beef,

and make artisanal sausages.

They believe that to be
a good butcher,

you need to experiment
with different cuts

and different cooking methods.

So they'll take some
of the meats to Chris' house,

cook it over a live fire,

invite over some family
and friends for a feast.

That's the kind of quality
control I could get down with.


You know, I travel
all across the country,

and I'm kind of noticing
this wave of butcher shops.

When I was coming up, we used
to just go to the grocery store.

So what made you want to go back
to the old-fashioned ways?

We started as chefs,
and we know quality,

and we just couldn't find
good meat anywhere,

so we knew we had to
fix that issue first.

You're really getting just
a better quality thing, right?


Everything we do is
100% pasture-raised,

no antibiotics,
no hormones ever.

All of our beef is dry-aged
for a minimum of 14 days,

so that means even
our burger meat

is a 14-day-dry-aged burger,
which is going to be delicious,

amazing and something
like you've never had before.

I understand that you have
this kind of official,

unofficial test kitchen for the
butcher shop in your backyard,

which is pretty amazing.

It is a little
slice of heaven.

We recently pulled an
old swing set out of the woods,

turned it into
a meat cooker, too.

-It's a meat swing.
-Meat swing.

Yo. Let's go play with this
swing set, man.

MOOKING: While Chris mans
the butcher shop,

James and I will start
swinging some meat.

This is an actual, actual swing
set from a legit playground

where I would be pushing
my kids, right?

Absolutely, so this is
an old metal swing set.

The A-frame swing set is
going to give us a nice brace

to hold some heavy weight on it.

We have a 2-by-3-foot
swing grate right here.

We build the fire underneath
the entire thing

on those pavers.

And then we have the three sets
of chains right here --

one really low,
a medium, and a high.

Very low is
the sear level.

Very high is the resting
or the waiting.

So what are we
going to be cooking

on this setup here
today, man?

Today, we have a few rib roasts
that are going to go on there.

I love rib roast.

And then we have
some homemade sausages,

and then we're going to make
this really wonderful,

nice radicchio
salad. too.

We start by building
a fire?


So, Roger, I like to start
with a nice thin layer

of lump charcoal.


MOOKING: All right, man,
you've got some stuff here

that I've never
seen before.

What's this all about?

So this is our insulation
that we ship our meat in.

It's actually
made out of corn,

and because
of the shape of them,

they let air flow
very well

in between your charcoal.
-All right.

So basically, it's going to help
light this fire and keep it lit.


And then we'll put another
little layer of charcoal

right on top.

You know, James, my favorite
part of the day right now --

I get to light it up.


So now that we have
a little bit of fire,

we're going to start
adding some wood.

So we use
a local cherrywood.

The cherrywood is
a much more mild fruitwood.

The subtleness of the cherry
is important to us

because we are a butcher shop,
and we're all about the meat.

Totally makes sense, man.

You want to taste
that meat.


I got to tell you.

This is one of my all-time
favorite cuts of meat like this,

rib roast.
It's hearty.

It's cooking on the bone,
super flavorful,

and it can take quite
a lot of seasoning, yeah?

Yeah, it can,
but when you start

with a quality cut of meat
like we do...

-...we like to keep it

very simple --
just salt and pepper.


What kind of salt and what
kind of pepper we got here?

So we like to use kosher salt,
and we did a pepper blend,

so it's a mixture
of black pepper, red pepper,

pink pepper, and white pepper.

So the red pepper
is a little bit spicy.

The pink pepper normally
is reserved for fish or seafood

because it has a little bit
of a floral note,

and, of course,
everybody is familiar

with black
and white pepper.

Absolutely delicious,
wonderful, and classic.

We got to make sure
that we get this

as close to the fire
as possible

without burning to make sure
we sear the exterior

because that's going to add
a lot of flavor,

and then we can raise it up
and finish the cooking.


That meat is beautifully
seared on all sides.

I'm going to raise it up,
so it cooks

at a more
moderate temperature.


All right, so how much longer is
that going to take to cook?

About 2 more hours.

Now, you promised me
sausages and stuff.

Where is that?

Yeah, so Chris is on his way
back from the butcher shop.

He'll start
to man this meat,

and we can finish up
this dinner.

All right.
And don't forget the veggies.

This is going to
be delicious.

Coming up, this swing set
is not playing around

when it comes
to open-fire cooking.

That's looking great.

It's a really hot fire.


I'm out here with James Peisker
and Chris Carter

from Porter Road butcher,
here, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chris here has been
gracious enough

to let us take over
his beautiful backyard

and cook
on his swing set.

That is
an actual swing set.

We're hanging rib roasts,
and we've rubbed it with salt

and four kinds of peppercorns.
All right.

So that's cooking for
about an hour now.

How much longer does this
got to go?

About another hour.

I got to tell you, man,
it smells

right here, super beefy.

That fat is kind of coming down,
kissing up that cherrywood.

The aroma is great,
but they promised me sausages

and some vegetables,
so let's divide and conquer.

Chris and I are going
to deal with the beef,

and then my homie,
James, here,

is going to start
the sausage and the vegetables,

and maybe we'll jump in
and help him.

-Sounds good.
-All right.

Let's get it.

All right, we just got to
flip it and rotate it.

You got it.

Man, this rib roast is
looking ri-donk-ulous.


So how are we going to
prepare this radicchio?

We're just going to do a little
bit of grapeseed oil,

salt, black pepper,
char it up on the grill.

That's looking great.

It's a really hot fire.

All right, and we got
the chorizo and kielbasa.

What's in each of these?

The kielbasa is one
of my favorite.

We start with pasture-raised
pork right in Kentucky,

fresh garlic, fresh oregano,
salt and black pepper.

The chorizo, we get
the smokiness from the ancho,

get the spiciness
from the cayenne

and that little bit pepperiness
from the garlic.

I can basically see and taste
this whole meal coming together

right in front of me right now.

I got to tell you,
it's a special thing,

and why have a swing
if you don't swing the swing?

It's a playground.

Look at that!
That's so cool!

How you like to put this
radicchio salad together?

So we just simply chop up
the charred radicchio,

and then we mix it
with some nice shaved radishes,

some baby kale,
a little bit of red-wine vinegar

and some nice dollops
of yellow mustard.


Man, that rib roast is just
looking gorgeous,

cooked perfectly.

It's just such a special thing
when it's over an open fire.


What's up, man?
You got to get a little bit

of both of those sausages
right there.

[ Indistinct conversations ]


I'm going to go after
this rib roast first.

That outside crust is nice
from the sear

and all that seasoning
on there.

It turned out just perfect,
and I can taste how rich it is

because you dry-aged it.

It's such a deep,
beefy flavor.

It couldn't be more perfect.
I'm not going to lie.

Let's try the chorizo
because I love chorizo.

I taste the pork.

I taste all the spices
and just a little mild heat.

That's really,
really good.

I'm going in
on this kielbasa now, dog.

The snap on the sausage
is just perfect,

but I love that it's so robust
with the garlic, you know?

I love it.
-Appreciate it.

Yo, but I'm also a fan
of vegetables,

so let's see how
that radicchio turned out.



You know, the kale adds
a lot of body to it.

-I definitely get the mustard.

-Obviously I get the vinegar
in there,

and, yo, that radicchio,
that little bit of bitterness

is like the perfect
little hit

with the rest
of the stuff in here.

Yo, James, man, it's been great
cooking with you.

great cooking with you.

Thanks for sharing
your yard with us like this.

Absolutely, man.

It means
a lot to me, man,

when somebody does it
right like this.

It's good company.
We have fun.

It's a great day
at the office.


Envy your job, sir.