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Man Fire Food

About the show

In Man Fire Food, Roger Mooking’s American odyssey continues throughout September as the King of Braai travels the length and breadth of the US in search of the best chefs that cook with fire. From small campfires to creative custom-made grills and smokers, he meets with home cooks, pitmasters and chefs in outdoor kitchens across the country, who share their culinary secrets while cooking up a storm.


Presented by: Roger Mooking

Roger Mooking is an award-winning musician, chef, restaurateur and host of several food shows, including Heat Seekers, where he discovers the spiciest food across the US.

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Q&A with Man Fire Food host, Roger Mooking

What are your top tips to braaing like a Man Fire Food pro?


It is very important to understand the differences between high direct-heat cooking over open flames, indirect lower-heat cooking, smoking, coals vs. flames and how and when to marinate or glaze what you are cooking.  Truthfully, I can write an entire encyclopedia around these few topics alone.  There are also a wide range of woods that are suitable for cooking with but I have found that fruit or nut woods make a particularly flavourful end product.  Also, always keep a hose or fire extinguisher close by… you never know! What I have realized after going to so many cookouts is that often the cooking of the food is a side benefit to just hanging out with your people for hours on end, drinking your favourite bevvie and having some food ready just when you need it most.  So my pro tip is to never come empty handed to a BBQ. 


What is your pet-hate when going to someone for a braai?


When I’m invited as a guest and they end up pushing the tongs in my hand to work the grill.  My friends know that I will gravitate there naturally and end up cooking anyhow, but…

Or running out of food, that is never a good thing.  Ever.  Err on the side of caution and hand out doggy bags after the party for everyone to take home extra food. 


What is the most scandalous thing you can do when Braaing? (Here in South Africa, we’d say cooking on a gas BBQ!)


I prefer not to answer this question for fear of incriminating myself. He he he…


At the moment in South Africa we’re going through a big smoking trend in BBQ’ing, what do you think is the next big thing?


Well, humans have been smoking meats and cooking over fire since we've discovered how to sharpen stones to hunt.  Wood-fired cooking has been experiencing a resurgence in restaurants in major cities over the last couple years and is definitely still growing, so I’m not surprised about that trend in South Africa.  But to answer your question more directly, and since everything old is new again, maybe the next big trend will be Smoked Tyrannosaurus Rex with molten lava infused something, something. 


Your tips for braaing chicken like a boss?


Preheat the grill well, let the roaring flames die down to coals.  Lightly marinade the chicken with what you like and put it over direct medium-heat coals.  Don't move it around, just leave it alone.  Let it do its thing until the sear on the chicken allows it to pull away from the grill easily, flip it and repeat.  If you want, towards the end of cooking add a glaze of your liking and let it finish cooking.  The key is to stop fiddling and let the fire do its work; you don't have to cook the meat, the fire will do that for you. Just make sure you have a bevvie in your hand to while away the time. 


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