Roger is on his way to San Antonio to go to school; that is, the Culinary Institute of America. Here he met up with Sergio Remolina to see how the open fire kitchens of Latin America operate. Roger will get a tour, without leaving the Institute; he will see how the kitchens operate in Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Patagonia and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
First, they built a base with rocks in the bottom of a deep oven. Then made a teepee with wood and used cardboard to start the fire. Sergio had short ribs marinating since the day before. It contained dried chilies, unrefined cane sugar, beer, tequila, onion, garlic and wrap it in agave leaves with nopales. After a grill was placed on the rocks and wood, and the fire reached about 500 degrees, Roger and Sergio carefully lowered the heavy pan into the pit. They covered it with a metal cover and some dirt so that no smoke could escape.
Next, they had to make another fire, because of a large gathering at the school of students and visitors. Starting with more cardboard and wood, they made the fire to roast a baby goat. This brought back memories of Roger’s childhood in Trinidad, where he just loved roti and goat with potatoes. They finished putting the goat on the spit and secured it with wires, then angled it just right so it would cook properly.
When the feast was prepared, they served the guests who loved every bit of the food. Finally, when everyone was fed, Roger had a cabrito taco made with the goat meat, guacamole, crackling and salsa verde on a corn tortilla.
When Roger was dismissed from school, he headed to Elgin, to Meyer’s, the sausage makers for four generations. Their product can be purchased around the country, but their restaurant is a winner. Roger met up with Gregg Meyer, the co-owner to help make their famous garlic sausage. Roger helped make the sausage, that used to be done by hand, but they perfected a way of doing it automatically. Their smokehouse holds about 4,500 pounds of sausage for their first smoking, which will cook them. John Altmiller, the general manager, showed Roger how they must maintain a constant temperature of 600 degrees using hickory sawdust, that must be watched constantly, so it does not get sucked back into the smokehouse. Then they are cooled down so the casings do not wrinkle. Roger got to put them back in for their second smoke, at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. This time, they went into a high tech smoker, that lit in no time. After that, Roger had nothing else to do, but head down to the restaurant and sample his work.
The size of the sample he received was enough to feed a small army, with brisket, three different kinds of sausage, including the garlic ones they just made. In addition, he had sides, of white bread, onions, pickles, beans and coleslaw, a great treat for a day’s work on this episode of “Man Fire Food.”