Monk: In addition to “BBQ Brawl” and “BBQ USA,” “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason” is another welcome barbecue/live fire cooking show in the current peak tv landscape. However, it differs from those shows in that its more of a travelogue show about live fire cooking in the Anthony Bourdain tradition mixed with a National Geographic show that teaches you while showing you something pretty through some gorgeous scenery and camerawork. Also, it’s worth mentioning that while Big Moe Cason is not a new face to the barbecue world and has appeared on earlier seasons of “BBQ Pitmasters,” he is a newer face to this kind of show that offers diversity and a different viewpoint and that is welcomed by me.
The first episode takes place in an around Charleston, SC where Moe meets with pitmasters Rodney Scott and John Lewis in addition to learning about the Gullah Geechee culture and food traditions to connect to his own heritage and culture. In particular, he admires Scott for his role as a black pitmaster and entrepreneur and notes that he doesn’t really see that in Iowa and the Midwest where he lives.
Through these interactions he gets inspiration for his dish that he served at last November’s Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival, a Gullah Geechee-inspired red rice dish with fresh caught crab and oysters and homemade beef sausage he collaborated on with John Lewis.
In episode two, he goes abroad to Colombia to learn their live fire traditions of cooking beef done by their cowboys, or llaneros, going back generations. He tries different foods and customs before again applying what he’s learned to the cooking of a large meal of veal llanero, fried piranha, grilled plantains, and yuca for a festival of llaneros by the end of the episode.
Through the first two episodes, the situations can be a little contrived in terms of filming Moe coming up with a menu through a series of filmed interactions before a big cook by the end of the episode. But in the end, “World of Flavor” is eminently watchable and Moe is a likable host between his big teddy bear exterior as well as his desire to learn about different cultures and apply it to his own cooking. I’m happy to follow along his journey across the world.
“World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason” airs Monday nights at 9pm ET on Nat Geo
Description: The Navy veteran and champion pitmaster Big Moe Cason sets out on an incredible journey to discover mouthwatering dishes cooked over an open flame. Cason dives for fresh conch in the Bahamas, roasts gator in Louisiana, connects with his roots in South Carolina, and wades into piranha-infested waters in Colombia. Moe explores the connections between American barbecue and cultures around the world along the way. While spanning the world, he serves up dishes that are sure to make the locals proud.