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‘Man Fire Food’ savors ‘Carolina ‘cue’ on Cooking Channel

Roger Mooking host of Man Fire Food manning the pigs at Sweatman's
Roger Mooking host of Man Fire Food manning the pigs at Sweatman's
"Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, used with permission."

On tonight’s episode of “Man Fire Food,” Roger Mooking, chef, musician and lover of all things smoky and delicious, went to both North and South Carolina in this episode titled “Carolina ‘cue.”

At Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, N.C., Roger met up with Chip Stamey, where they have ten pits where they cook pork shoulders exclusively. Each pit holds 20 shoulders Lexington style, which is over hardwood coals in a single furnace, that heats all the pits. They continuously load wood all day long during the cooking process. They ignite the fire from the inside with cardboard, then outside the pit; they load the hickory, then shovel it under the pits once the coals are glowing.

After the pork was cooked on one side, the next job was to turn them onto the fat side. They cooked for four more hours, and then they pulled the meat. When off the bone, Chip took his cleaver and chopped the meat. Next the two guys sat down to have a famous Stamey sandwich. Roger started with a burger bun, then a pile of meat, the Lexington sauce followed by the Lexington slaw.

Next, Roger went to Sweatman’s in Holly Hill, S.C., where he met with Mark Behr. Sweatman’s is famous for their whole hogs, they fire over hot coals all night long, and their famous barbeque sauces. Although Mark owns the place, he is not the pitmaster. He leaves that job to Douglas, who has been with Sweatman’s for over thirty years. They went out back and met with Douglas, who is a legend in these parts. The oven is made from a thousand gallon drum. They use several kinds of wood, oak, live oak, hickory and pecan. Roger helped throw the wood in the pit to make the fire. They put the whole hogs with skin side up, on the grill as they checked on the fire. Once they were done on one side, they turned the pigs over onto the skin side.

They poured a mustard based barbeque sauce on the side that was done; it was a bright yellow sauce, indigenous to South Carolina. After the pigs were done, the skin was made into cracklings and because Sweatman’s is only open on Friday and Saturday, the place was packed with people. Roger got to try the delicious fruits of their labor, and the smile never left his face on this episode of “Man Fire Food.”