Roger Mooking of Man Fire Food shares grilling advice


Roger Mooking of Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food shows how the flame enhances all types of foods. With his advice, the home cook can learn to tame the flame.

Man Fire Food and Roger Mooking highlight how people cook with fire on this Cooking Channel show. From the simple grill to the gigantic smoker, the flavor that a flame provides can be intense. Add to that cooking method a variety of spices, ingredients and expertise, that food can be a delicious experience. While not everyone can travel around to build a passion for cooking over an open flame, everyone can learn this cooking method.

During the summer, more people are heading outside to cook. From a gas grill to the Big Green Egg, everyone wants to cook with fire. While traditional fare like hamburgers and sausage are common, those foods aren’t the only choices that can be cooked on a grill. Beside proteins, home cooks can cook an entire meal on a grill. From vegetables to grilled fruit for dessert, everything can be cooked on an open flame.

Roger Mooking of Man Fire Food on Cooking Channel, photo provided by Roger Mooking

Anyone who has watched Man Fire Food, the dishes will make you wish for taste-o-vision. Even though those dishes are amazing, the home cook can improve her grilling game, too. With some practice and experimentation, the home cook can become a great griller.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Roger Mooking of Man Fire Food. The chef, restaurateur, author and television personality embraces all types of culinary experiences. From bold spices to specific cooking methods, Chef Mooking is willing to explore all types of food.

Since the majority of us are food fans, not professionally trained chefs, I asked Chef Mooking some questions about becoming a more confident home griller. Below is our conversation.

Food Network Kitchen’s Grilled Mojito-Lime Shrimp Skewers by Roger Mooking, photo provided by Food Network

Cristine Struble (CS): Most home cooks grill hamburgers, steak & chicken. What could be an easy yet approachable new protein to try on the grill?

Roger Mooking (RM) – I like to use Fish or Seafood like Cod or Shrimp, their textures both hold up well on the grill and are easy to make. You gotta try my Grilled Mojito Lime Shrimp Skewers and you can even turn them into Tacos, which everyone loves.

CS: While a grill offers a lot of flavor, which spices do you like to use when grilling?

RM – Some of my favourites are Coriander, Cumin and Turmeric. If you are intimidated by making your own spice blends and prefer to leave that to the experts, there are some good ones like Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple Seasoning. I have a recipe for Maple Brined Pork Chops that goes perfect with this spice pack as well. (Here’s the recipe for Smokehouse Maple-Brined Pork Chops.)

Roger Mooking’s Smokehouse Maple-Brined Pork Chops. photo provided by Roger Mooking

CS: What’s one big mistake that novice grillers do and how can they learn to avoid it?

RM: I see people cooking with too high a heat many times. High heat is good for thin cuts of meat or some veggies, or for reheating tortillas…but if you want to make sure your chicken cooks all the way through without burning you want to be very mindful of the temperature, how often (or how little) you flip what you are cooking, and the cooking time. Also, people often baste their meats with the bbq sauce / glazes way too early. These sauces tend to have a high sugar content and adding it too early will just caramelize those sugars too early and burn what you’re cooking, or burn onto the grill before your food is fully cooked.

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CS: What do you see as some new grilling trends?

RM: I am seeing more people getting into Sous Vide cooking in conjunction with their grilling. Sous Vide allows you to finish the partially cooked food over high heat in a short amount of time. This works great for all kinds of cuts of meat, corn on the cob and other veggies. I will batch Sous Vide a whole bunch of pre portioned steaks for instance and when I want to get that perfect medium rare, end to end, I fire up the grill to super high heat and flash it for about 30 seconds on both sides. Done. Perfect every time. Also, I’m noticing more variety of wood types available for sale, I love to start or finish with fruit or nut woods for a little extra unique flavour to my grilled foods.

CS: What’s the craziest food that you ever grilled or have seen grilled?

RM: Aside from a whole cow on a steel contraption weighing several thousand pounds? You gotta check out my Juicy Lucy Burger that’s big enough to feed a family of 6 and is oozing with cheese once you cut into it. It’s a tasty one too. (Want to try this recipe, here is his Giant Bacon-Cheddar Juicy Lucy Burger recipe)

Roger Mooking’s Giant Bacon-Cheddar Juicy Lucy Burger. photo provided by Roger Mooking

The tips and tricks that Chef Mooking shared are helpful for both the seasoned griller and the newbie. Grilling well is all about practice. From different foods to various spices, experimentation can help anyone become a better griller as well as determine the flavors that she loves.

Thank you to Roger Mooking of Man Fire Food for taking the time to share his grilling advice. I will be grilling some Grilled Mojito Lime Shrimp Skewers this weekend. With my cocktail in one hand and my tongs in another, summer grilling weekends are perfection.

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Are you ready to light the flame? What is your next meal on the grill? Share a picture with us using the tag #FoodSided.