How to make Pig Candy – + New Youtube Channel!!

New video! So excited to share this with everyone. I ♥ Bacon!! Bacon pig candy is just all sorts of awesome. SO much fun. Make sure you subscribe to the channel We have so much more to come. .

Grill to Perfection Chris Hart Andy Husbands with Andrea Pyenson Ken Goodman Photography

Diva Q Grill to Perfection

 

 

Andy Husbands and Chris Hart with Andrea Pyenson are back at it again with Grilled to Perfection. This is a simple straightforward grilling book. What is not simple are the recipes. They have included recipes to really elevate your backyard experience. I am a huge fan of these guys. I like their books because they truly actually test food. They obsess over food.  I own their other books Wicked Good Barbecue and Wicked Good Burgers.  I have used multiples of their recipes. In addition their techniques can really set you on a great course of grilling happiness.

There are a lot of grilling and BBQ books out there. The difference that sets these guys aside is their true love of food. Their involvement with the ingredients and their BBQ passion.

I read cookbooks like novels. I read them cover to cover before I will try recipes. This is easy on the eyes due to the excellent and consistently outstanding photography of Ken Goodman. I hate overly staged food shots. I can’t stand it when the food looks so perfect its plastic. That is about as appealing as eating cardboard to me. The photography from Ken truly captures food in its best light.  It is not overly staged. You just want to devour the pages with your eyes and feast on these beautiful recipes.

These recipes are easy to follow and will help you seriously take your grilling to new heights. I completely recommend you buy this book.

You need to try the recipe below for Slow-Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White Sauce – it will knock your socks off.

 

 

Diva Q Grill to perfection

 

Slow-Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White Sauce

The beauty of this recipe is crispy, golden brown skin, achieved by coating the chicken pieces with dry rub before grilling – and a little bit of technique. By cooking the chicken over low, direct heat you vastly reduce the risk of burning the skin. When using charcoal, it’s important to watch out for hot spots. If they occur, simply move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill.

Alabama White Sauce (aka Alabama White BBQ Sauce or just plain White BBQ Sauce) is a regional oddity that is virtually unknown outside of northern Alabama. Tangy and rich, with a kick of horseradish, it is typically paired with chicken but tastes great with just about anything you can think to pour it on or dip in it. We think it works particularly well with these chicken thighs.

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon/15 mL kosher salt
1 tablespoon/ 15 mL turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon/15 mL smoked or sweet paprika
2 teaspoons/10 mL coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 4 ounces/113g each
Alabama White Sauce (recipe follows)

Cooking Instructions
In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Build a low direct fire. Spread an even layer of unlit charcoal in the bottom of the grill. Fill a chimney one-third full with charcoal. Stuff two sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and light it. When the coals are fully engaged – you should see flames peeking over the top – pour them over the unlit charcoal. If using a gas grill, light the gas and adjust temperature on both sides to low.

While the fire is coming to temperature, place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the dry rub.

When you can hold your hands over the fire for no more than 8-10 seconds, clean the grill grate. Set the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the grates. Sprinkle the remainder of the dry rub on the chicken. Cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes, checking periodically to avoid excessive charring on the skin. Rotate thighs over the fire if there are hot spots. If using a charcoal grill, adjust the vents to maintain a temperature of 300oF/149oC.

Flip chicken and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 170oF/77oC, about 15-20 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slather with Alabama White Sauce and serve.

Alabama White Sauce

Makes 2 cups/475 mL

Ingredients
1 cup/240 mL mayonnaise (we prefer Kewpie)
1/2 cup/120 mL apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup/60 mL light corn syrup
1 tablespoon/15 mL prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon/15 mL fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Cooking Instructions
Whisk all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and set aside until ready to use; or transfer to an air-tight jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

 

Full disclaimer: I was provided a book to review for free – however in no way was I compensated or provided any remuneration for this blog post.  I truly think you need to own this book.

Bacon Wrapped Double Hot Dog – From my kids :-)

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Filled Grilled Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Kids BBQ,

My two youngest kids entered their very first Kids Q contest last year. It was at Roc City Ribfest. This contest has it all – a World Bacon Championship, a KCBS contest, A Charity Rib Contest and a Kids Q Contest. It is one of my favorite contests and I never miss it.

I think anyone who does Competition BBQ gets a anxious at awards. All that hard focused work and waiting to hear your name called. However I have never ever been so nervous and on the edge of my seat as I have been waiting to see how our kids did. Glad to say they came in 3rd and they and all of us were so proud.

Award Winning Kids Q

They asked over the March Break if they could do a guest blog post … so here it is. With a couple of videos…

This is Ella & Gabe’s recipe for Bacon Wrapped Double Dogs.  They look forward to seeing your comments.

We started making the video with both of them…. ummm well lets say Gabe Tapped out after his funnybone took over.

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Double Dogs

Serves 6 o3 Super hungry people who each two each.

  • 12 all beef wieners
  • 18 pieces of thinly cut bacon
  • 6 slices of cheddar (length and width of open sliced wiener  and 1/8″ thick)
  • 6 hot dog buns toasted

Slice the wieners in half lengthwise careful not to cut all the way through. They should open like a book.

Open one of the sliced wieners and top with a slice of cheddar and additional wiener.

Wrap tightly with 1 to 1 1/2 slices of bacon.

Grill indirect at 275F for 15 minutes then flip to opposite side. Grill an additional 15 minutes. You may want to grill direct in the last couple of minutes or until the bacon is crispy and done to your liking. Serve them on a toasted hot dog bun.

Add condiments (Ella eats it with Ketchup- Gabe likes mustard & ketchup) and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Youtube Channel + New Trailer for BBQ Crawl Season 2

Well it was time for me to create a brand new Youtube Channel. Very excited to share it with you all. I am planning on lots of content uploads this year with how to videos, goofy vids I shoot on my BBQ adventure and so much more.
Please make sure to subscribe and check out this brand new Trailer for Season 2 of BBQ Crawl that will premiere April 1 on the Travel & Escape Channel

BBQ Crawl Season 2 – Promo trailer! Starts April 1st on Travel & Escape in Canada

Here is the new Promotional Trailer for Season 2 BBQ Crawl! So much fun!
It all starts April 1 on Travel & Escape in Canada.

All you need is Love & BBQ.

All you need is love & BBQ, Diva Q Love, Diva Q Valentine, February 14

Smoked Sweet Potato & Leek Soup with Bacon

Smoked Sweet Potato Leek Soup with Bacon

When it is snowing and blowing I like big bowls of soups and chili. This soup is really easy to make. My recipe doesn’t have any cream but feel free to add up to a cup for a richer soup. The most lengthy part of this recipe is the smoking of the sweet potatoes.  Smoking sweet potatoes brings out their sugars, and a really nice nutty flavor.

I smoke them at 275F indirect with hickory, maple or apple. The time can really vary from 3-5 hours depending on their size. Make sure to pierce them multiples of times with a fork or a tip of the knife prior to placing them in the smoker. If you are going to get a nice fire going – you may as well use the whole grill space. I do large batches of sweet potatoes in the smoker then freeze for later use.  I like the texture of the sweet potatoes to be really soft. The fork should have no resistance when I poke the potato. When I freeze them I leave them in their jackets then wrap in plastic wrap individually then into a large ziploc bag. Then its easier to pull them out for a mash, a soup, ravioli or even in a sauce.

For the Soup:

  • 3 medium smoked sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 large (1 pound) large leeks chopped & rinsed well
  • 1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • 1/4 lb bacon cooked then crumbled
  • Chopped chives
  • Nonni’s Focaccia Croutons Parmesan with Garlic (Available at Sams or Costco)

 

In a large pot add the leeks, onions, celery, a pinch of salt and the bacon fat. Sweat the veggies for at least 15-20 minutes until they just begin to soften. Add the sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme and chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the leeks are completely soft. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Taste the soup then add salt & pepper to your liking. Serve garnished with chives, croutons and bacon. Serve hot or cold.

 

 

Superbowl Snacks – All the recipes you need to host one heck of a party.

Just like the coaches in the NFL you need a game plan for the Superbowl!

 

Superbowl Buffet, Gameday Set up, party planning, How to throw a superbowl party

 

 

For us that means having different areas of our house set up for distinct areas:

Smokin' Cocktail

1. Beverage center- It doesn’t have to be fancy make sure you have plenty of ice, beer, whisky (good luck shots always) and of course some non alcoholic sodas and water for designated drivers. We also usually have one designated cocktail that can be made in large batches. Smokin’ Caesars always go over well.

Recommended Recipes:

Diva Q Smokin’ Caeser 

Greek Souvlaki, Greek Kabob

The crispy bits are always my fav

2.Things on Sticks- Quick appetizers items as well. Grilled sausages on sticks, shrimp on sticks, or even abts.

Recommended Recipes:

Chicken Legs

3. The Main Event- More serious noshes go on this table – Big Sturdy disposable plates (this is not the time to be frugal with dollar store cheapos), BIG napkins, wet naps and cutlery first. Then hit up some greenery. A sturdy salad. Pick something hearty like asparagus, spinach or kale that won’t wilt through the first few minutes after serving. Its a long game. Then move on to the ribs, the main meats and any starches like tater tots or hashbrown casserole. Large sammies loaded up and sliced would be great located here as well. Just make sure you put the extra sauces at the end of the table so the traffic flow of munchin people is not interrupted. 

Pulled pork nachos

4. Nacho bar, Mini beef slider bar - One year we did a mashed potato bar that went over well too.  This stuff takes time to assemble and layer in the toppings and condiments. Make sure you give this table area lots of space people will be crowding around.

Diva Q Pig Candy

MMMMM Bacon

Once the game is winding down it may be time to bring out some sweet finishes:

Recommended Recipes:

Crown Maple Pig Candy 

Regular Pig Candy

Blueberry Lemon Biscuit cobbler 

Depending on how many people are coming over you need to adjust your menu. Sometimes staggering and staging different items through the game works well too. Many of these items can be prepared well in advance. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen or the backyard for the whole game.

Make sure to use the search button here on the site or the recipe tab at the top for even more tasty tidbits to get you all through the game.

Food Safety:

One final note. It is a long game. A very long Game. You need to be FOOD Safe. Check out these tips from the USDA on making sure you keep your guests safe

Make sure your guests travel home safely. Ensure you have cash on hand if needed for cabs or designated drivers. Cocktail responsibly, get your snack on and of course enjoy the big Game!!

 

 

 

 

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

Every once in a while Ill see something on Instagram, Facebook, or twitter that I just need to make.  In fact sometimes its almost midnight and I can’t sleep then this happens:

Boston Cream Whoopie Pie Diva Q

 

Just to be clear I didn’t come up with the Boston Cream Whoopie Pie concept. The recipe however is one that I compiled completely on my own. A friend of mine Ron Lewen had a great dinner at Real Urban BBQ. He posted his dessert picture. Darnit all I was obsessed. . . . I just had to come up with a version.

If you are in the area I would suggest you go to Real Urban BBQ. I have always wanted to go and I hear the food is fantastic.

Real Urban BBQ You can make these on a parchment lined baking sheet and try to get your tops to match the bottoms or you could just use one of these muffin top pans. 

 

Boston Cream Whoopie Pie Diva Q

For the Cakes: 

  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour sifted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 2 teaspoons banana or vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F

Sift the sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the flour has a rough crumbly texture.
Whisk the eggs, canola oil,  milk and extract in a separate bowl.  Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric or stand mixture for a few minutes until its pale and thickened.

Butter then flour your muffin pan generously so the cakes do not stick.

Bake 10-20 minutes (depends on how large your tops are) until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes clean. Ours took about 15 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool on a bakers rack.

This recipe will be enough to make 12 muffin tops (6 total – very large whoopie pies)

For the Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. In a small heavy bottomed pot heat the milk and vanilla until just below a simmer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Place butter in a bowl and add a strainer on top of it.
  4. Slowly whisk the hot milk into egg mixture and then return it all to the pot. Whisk this constantly (dont stop!!) over medium heat until thick and glossy, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture immediately through the strainer, whisking it through if needed, and stir in the butter.
  6. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard. Chill until ready to use.

For the Ganache:

  • 4oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  1. Place the chocolate chips, canola oil and corn syrup into a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Pour over the chocolate chips, let it rest for a minute then whisk until smooth.
  4. Cool for 5-10 minutes before use.

Assembly:

Place the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a large tip. Pipe equal amounts of pastry cream onto 6 of the cakes. Top with an additional cake and press down gently. Place the whoopie pies on a baking rack onto a baking tray. Using a large spoon pour ganache over half of each cake. Chill cakes until the ganache has set.  Serve to happy happy people.

Boston Cream Whoopie Pie Diva Q

 

Roasted Pepper Starburst Salad – beating the winter blahs


Starburst salad, roasted pepper salad, Diva Q
So Christmas is done. New Years done.

It is the blah time of year people. Blah. Blah to the icky roads, blah to the I am over winter already just blah. This is the perfect time to make something sunny & bright.

Blah

This tasty salad will perk up your taste buds and your mood.

Start with picking the biggest and brightest peppers you can find.

Here is my step by step on how to make roasted peppers. 

After you have roasted your peppers cut them into long strips.  Arrange them in a starburst pattern on a large plate alternating colors. No you don’t have to. You could just throw it all in a bowl and be done with it……  but c’mon it just makes it look pretty….. go with it.

Make sure to assemble the dressing in a small mason jar. There will be plenty leftover for another salad.

Sprinkle on some finely minced red onion, crumble on some feta, a few chopped scallions or herbs, then drizzle on the dressing. Seriously easy stuff.

Packed with flavor its a family favorite at our house. Its a blah buster. Enjoy.

 Roasted Pepper Starburst Salad

  • 4 large peppers roasted & cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons assorted chopped herbs (thyme, parsley, chives, dill)
  • herb dressing (recipe below)

 

Herb Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons  dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Assemble all dressing ingredients into a small mason jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously. Refrigerate any unused dressing.

 

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