TV Review: “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason” Explores the History of Barbecue

The best grillers are pitmasters and summer is their season to shine. Spend the rest of your summer with Champion Pitmaster Big Moe Cason in the new National Geographic series World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason. “We’re gonna get fat and greasy,” exclaims the host of the series as he sets off to learn about how barbecue evolved and varies by location.

(National Geographic)

(National Geographic)

Over the course of four episodes, Big Moe Cason will leave Iowa behind to visit South Carolina, Louisiana, the Bahamas, and Colombia. In the season premiere, titled “South Carolina Soul,” Moe meets with local chefs in Charleston to participate in the Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival. Adapting his style to the area, he not only hunts for seafood but also learns about how West African cooking traditions inspired the foods of the area. There’s debate about whether or not barbecue can trace its roots directly to Charleston, but one thing they all can agree on is that it comes from the South.

Somewhat similar in its approach to Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason specifically tackles the history of barbecue and how it became localized in different areas. Throughout the four-episode season, viewers not only learn about the summer staple’s origins but also how it’s truly a melting pot food, just like most of American cuisine. The series also exemplifies the power of food to bring people of all walks of life together.

Taking a cue from Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, Big Moe Cason spends each episode learning about what makes barbecue unique in each region before trying his own expert hands at preparing a dish for locals. He’s not going head-to-head with anybody, but merely trying to see if he can satisfy picky palettes at each destination. With many of the destinations being coastal or islands, the series also touches on seafood and sustainability.

World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason will make you hungry, even if you just ate. With excellent cinematography and even better-looking food on almost constant display, the series just might have you planning a trip to visit some of the local restaurants highlighted. But if nothing else, you’ll walk away with a deeper appreciation for the history of a summertime classic.

New episodes of World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason air Mondays at 10/9c on Nat Geo.