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


  • 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


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.


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.


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.


Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Frozen cherries are on sale this week at one of my local grocery stores. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make this sauce again. It is a sweet with heat type of sauce. Like more heat ? Add more chipotles or reduce the amount for a sweeter sauce.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Diva Q  Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce Diva Q Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

I’ll be using this sauce on some ribs this weekend.  mmmmmm BBQ.

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce 

  • 3 cups Frozen Sweet Cherries
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Chipotles in Adobo sauce (*Adjust to your heat preference)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Place all ingredients into a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool then using a blender or food processor pulse until smooth. Great on pork.





Freezer Inventory & cutting down food waste

I try to plan out many of the meals I make for my family. Along with that comes the task of keeping our freezers, pantry and cold rooms organized. It cuts down on a lot of additional purchases that I just really don’t need. I am really committed to making a better effort this year to reduce food waste. I threw out too much food last year because I had forgotten it in the freezer. My husband would send me lists of what we had in the freezers:

Garage Stand Up Fridge:
3 Prime Rib Roasts
Box of bacon
1 half pan Mac n Cheeze
1 1/2 half pan pulled pork
1 large container spaghetti and meatballs
1 container macaroni dish
1 container meatballs
2 bags of Mom’s Pita
8 bags edamame

Garage Regular Fridge:

3 large bags of raw chicken breast
2 packages of raw chicken breast
1 5 lbs package raw drumsticks
24 hot dogs
4 lbs of butter
1 box cevaps
4 half pans pulled pork
1 half pan Mac n Cheeze

Chest Freezer
1 Canadian Brisket
2  SRF briskets
1 USDA Prime Brisket
2 Butts
1 8 lb Pork Loin Rib Half
8 racks Untrimmed spare ribs
2 racks trimmed spare ribs
3 racks of Baby Back Ribs
2 bags shrimp
1 bag of cooked drumsticks
1 bag pulled pork – needs to finish cooking
2 bags fries
3 bags cooked pork ribs
2 bags of cooked brisket
1 cooked whole chicken
4 bags cooked  UMO
1 frozen dinner
Spring roll pastry
1 bag Scrap bacon
1 bag cooked Moinks
12 hot dog buns
24 hamburger buns

The problem is that nothing was ever updated.  This list didn’t have our basement freezers (another 2) and I did not have any dates.

Plus I ended up with too many UMO = Unidentified Meat Objects.  You just never knew what you were getting with those.

So I have gone back to something I have used in the past our freezer inventory logs. Nothing special about this form but it is important to keep them maintained.  Ill be working on my cold room next.

Get Organized!, Get Organized, Freezer Inventory

Step 1 Take Everything out of every freezer.

Step 2 Group similar foods together. For us at our home this means putting all of our bbq meats – the briskets, ribs pork etc into one freezer. Ready made meals into another freezer and quick everyday foods in our bottom freezer of our kitchen fridge. 

Step 3 Write everything down on inventory sheets- one per freezer location. Hang this list beside your freezer on clipboard that you can hang and a pencil with eraser.  Or tape it to the freezer if no hanging spot is available.

Step 4 This is the hardest step for us and like everyone else we get busy. Maintain your lists.  Update them when you take something out or add more.

It just makes sense.  Easier budgeting, less waste and a lot less searching for that rib roast you thought you bought but can’t remember where you put it.


Download (PDF, 91KB)



Smashing Good Beef Tri-Tip

I love Beef. So many great cuts … so little time. I also love my mortar & pestle. Very soothing to smash the daylights out of some ingredients. Good for stress relief. 

We had this tri-tip for dinner tonight = super easy . I used my traeger grill tonight with Oak pellets. I like doing tri-tips on charcoal and gas grills as well however it’s cold out there and I opted for an easier route tonight.

If you are not familiar with Tri-Tip you really should be. It is an excellent cut of beef. Just make sure to cut across the grain and never over cook it.


Diva Q, Tri-Tip, beef Tri-Tip, Smashing Good, BBQ Tri-Tip, Smoked Tri-Tip


Smashing Good Beef Tri-Tip

2 beef tri-tip (2-3 lbs each)



¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons granulated onion

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried chives

1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 teaspoon mild chili powder


Assemble all of the marinade ingredients into a small food processor or mortar and pestle. Pulse or grind until fully mixed. Place your tri-tips in a ziploc bag and cover with marinade. Remove as much air as possible from bag and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  (I set my Traeger  to 275F)

Smoke until the internal temperature is 130F  (on a pellet grill this can be anywhere from 1 – 1.5 hours)

Remove from grill and rest tented with foil for 10 minutes.

Slice the beef thinly across the grain and serve with residual juices.


Diva Q, Tri-Tip, beef Tri-Tip, Smashing Good, BBQ Tri-Tip, Smoked Tri-Tip

Diva Q, Tri-Tip, beef Tri-Tip, Smashing Good, BBQ Tri-Tip, Smoked Tri-Tip



Char-Broil & the 2014 Grilling All-Stars


Diva Q Char-Broil All Star

Hey all. It is the start of the new year and what better way that to talk about a partnership I have with Char-Broil. For the last few years I have been associated with their company. I use a variety of grills and yes I even use a gas grill. I was very skeptical of any gas grills. However since I started using my infrared grill I truly love it. This post is not paid for by Char-Broil. It is an honest opinion from someone who never thought they would like a gas grill. So that in a nutshell is why I am partnered with them. I like the way the grill works. Period.

Char-Broil is a division of W.C. Bradley Co. and is one of the oldest and most respected outdoor cooking brands. More Char-Broil gas grills are distributed across the United States than any other brand. The company sells Char-Broil branded grills in the United States and Canada, throughout Latin America, and Australia. In addition to the Char-Broil label, the company manages and manufactures a portfolio of outdoor cooking brands including Oklahoma Joe’s®, New Braunfels Smoker Company® and Thermos®.

In addition to being associated with Char-Broil I get to hang out and be in the Company of some outstanding people…. the Char-Broil Grilling All-Stars. They are all incredibly talented and they make some amazing food. Not only that they are just really lovely humans. The kind you want to hang out with pop a cold one and fire up a grill with. Please give them a follow.

Char-Broil Live Webpage:
Catherine of South in My Mouth:
Chef Christo Gonzales of ChezWhat?:
Chris of NibbleMeThis:
Curt of LiveFire Online:
Danielle of Diva Q http:
David of A Bachelor & His Grill:
Jane of The Heritage Cook:
Julie of She Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book, by Julie Reinhardt:
Scott of

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