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‘Man Fire Food’ finds awesome ‘Fireplace Feasts’ on Cooking Channel

On tonight’s episode of “Man Fire Food,” Roger Mooking, chef, musician and lover of all things smoky and delicious, went to New England in the episode titled “Fireplace Feasts.”

Roger and Bo Salem preparing prime rib roasts
"Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, used with permission."

Sitting in front of a fireplace is so warm and cozy, but Roger finds a few places that are not only cozy, but serve the best fireplace foods in Maine. At Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York, Maine, a classic New England clambake of lobsters, mussels, clams, corn and potatoes is steamed to perfection in a massive outdoor fireplace. Kevin Tacy, the man behind the food and fireplace at Foster’s knows the secret of getting the best flavor from the seafood by using steam made from seawater, a base of seaweed, and then in order of how quickly they cook, potatoes and onions wrapped in cheesecloth bags holding 25 of each. The corn husks go nest, making a great base for the lobsters who go in tail first. Steamer clams and mussels also go in cheesecloth bags last, allowing their delicious liquor to go down to the bottom and up again in the steam. This feast is then enclosed in a steel box on all sides, the wood is made from hardwood, with a base of pallets that burn hot and keep the fire going. When it was done to perfection, the clams and mussels were open, the lobsters were flaming red, and all 25 people were well fed.

During the winter months; from September to April, family-run restaurant Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, roasts racks of ribs in front of a scorching indoor fireplace at least two or three times a week. Roger met with the fireplace king and owner, Bo Salem, who has an indoor fireplace with a rotisserie that looks like it came from an Edgar Allen Poe novel. Roger helped Bo spear the beef roasts and secure them, so they do not spin, and then rubbed with a paste made from salt and several aromatic spices and herbs. Next, they built the fire which was ablaze and removed the stops from the rotisserie contraption that runs very slowly to fully roast the prime ribs. While they waited, they made mulled wine using whole spices to add a delicious flavor to the wine.

When the meat was done to perfection, about forty people got to chow down at the restaurant, Bo and Roger served every one of them and then had a feast of their own, but Roger could not help but grab a few scraps that fell off during carving on this episode of “Man Fire Food.”

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