Posts Tagged ‘BBQ Lady’

Schinkels Gourmet Meats

Along with my love of BBQ and food in general I have a serious affinity for butchers shops. I have my own here in Barrie- Hovey’s Gourmet Meats and I believe everyone needs a good butcher. Last year I had the opportunity to do a Traeger demo at an incredible butcher store Schinkels Gourmet Meats in Chatham Ontario. Due to some technical difficulties (ok I admit it I lost the pictures) I haven’t posted before now but here are some pictures of this terrific butcher store. If you are ever in the area I suggest you stop in and pick up some of their great products.Additionally they have some of the nicest and most helpful staff you will ever encounter.

They have terrific meat counters that are full service

Great selections of lots of cheeses

Lots of spice mixtures and also BBQ sauces

Plus their owner is an all around great guy who really knows his stuff:

Stop in if you are in the area!

Schinkels’ Gourmet Meats
145 Richmond St.,
Chatham, Ontario.
Canada
N7M 1P1

Ph: (519) 351-2117
Fax: (519) 436-0961

Bruised egos, lots of fun and getting off the bitter bus- Little Rock Arkansas

Thats quite the title for the post.

Well we are home. Coming home after one hell of a weekend away in Little Rock Arkansas. It was an interesting ride for sure. We always enjoy traveling through the US. On the way down we stopped a few times but overall nothing to exciting.

* Tuffy’s new Jambo. Looked awesome even has some really sharp flames on the sides.

One of the best parts of this weekend was my Sister in Smoke Angie Quaale flew in to hang with us for the weekend. She is a terrific friend and I really appreciated her help on the weekend. It was the first time ever I have let anyone help trim my meats. She did a great job trimming out the chicken.

Everything was going really smoothly on the weekend cook.  The one challenge I faced was the ribs. I could not get the same ribs I had been working with for the last couple of years. One text to my friend Kelly and a couple of stops at various stores and I had 12 racks to choose from.  I was pleased with the way they turned out. Apparently that was not to be when it came to the scoring.

Got to visit with some great friends I don’t see nearly often enough. One of the highlights had to be finally meeting Harry Soo in person. He is an awesome guy. I would highly recommend if you ever get the chance go meet him. I saw him be gracious to hundreds of fans through out the weekend. Always smiling.

We also got to visit with a few folks from around the competition. With a competition this size it wasn’t nearly enough time to get to everyone thats just one of the downfalls.

We got through the night with no problem. My excellent fire master husband Vlado kept everything running really smoothly while I caught a few hours on my favorite army cot.

Butts and briskets came off and I was really enthusiastic for the briskets. They looked good. They smelled good. I could hope. The butts had excellent color. One of the best colors I have had in a long time. A beautiful deep mahogany.The chicken went on with no problems as did the ribs. Everything came off and we wished it well as it went to the judges.

We got everything cleaned up packed away and all we had to worry about was the awards. We heard so many of our friends names called and it was excellent. We didn’t get a call in Chicken, Ribs and pork. Was I ever bummed at that point. Considering those were in my opinion the best I did that weekend it was a sucky point for me personally. However when the brisket came around I got one hell of a shock a 30th call in brisket. That was awesome!!!

Overall Pellet Envy got the GC, Cool Smoke got the RGC and the Slabs.com got 3rd place. Congratulations to them all it was certainly a fun ride for the weekend!!!

For us we came in 75/230 places. We took a 45 in pork, 67 in Chicken 30th in brisket and a jaw dropping are you freaking kidding me a 193rd in ribs. I am trying to get off the bitter bus on the ribs score. Seriously. ACK.

Not sure what happened. Thats sums it up. I have looked at the video and the rib box and I really don’t think I could have done anything better. It is what it is. Oh well.

Overall it was a great experience!!! Now to catch up on some sleep.

** and here is a little blind bbq gossip item. What BBQ person had their ego bruised when they realized in their opinion they were not put in a prominent enough position within the RV park at Little Rock??  They pulled the ” Don’t you know who I am card??”  This person was told they could go home if they didn’t like it. LOL cracked me right up.

Waking up in Memphis.

Well we woke up in Memphis this morning. Thankfully without a hangover from last night.

Yesterday we started driving from Barrie Ontario Canada and we pulled up here in Memphis about 25 hours after we started. Now its only a couple more hours till we get to Little Rock Arkansas.

Yesterday being St. Patrick’s Day it was fun to see the festivities at Silky O’ Sullivan’s on Beale St. It was a lot of fun to watch the festivities.Then we headed back to Pig On Beale. Still terrific food, fun staff, and great atmosphere.  If you go to Memphis make sure you go eat there.

My husband really wanted some Memphis BBQ since he didn’t come on the trip last month. I was craving a steak. Had to cave to his request. Really it wasn’t much of a cave. Vlad is one of the most incredible people on the planet. He goes out of his way to do everything he can to support my BBQ habit/obsession/career.  He really enjoyed his BBQ feast. Plus he had enough leftovers to do at least 2 more meals today LOL.

One of the highlights of this trip besides seeing everyone will be seeing  My Sister in Smoke Angie Quaale.  She is flying in today from BC to hang with us this weekend. That is awesome. So happy she is coming. Last year my friend Tim Brown from Can’t Stop Grilling came with us. His team is the only other Canadian team that will be in Little Rock this year. I plan on doing everything I can to beat him.

So we are off to do the final leg of our journey to compete in Little Rock Arkansas. There are 225 teams that are competing for $100,000.00 in prizes. I sure hope the Olympic Own the Podium program applies to Competitive BBQ’ers as well. I believe. LOL I can barely type that without cracking up. OK in reality I believe that I will do my best. I believe that- if I can- out of this entire trip – be proud of my turn in boxes, and get a call that would be cool. But I can dream. Hell yeah. I can dream.

Its Tuesday!! That means tonight BBQ Central Show Chicken Round table

Every Tuesday you can listen in on the BBQ Central Radio show part of the BCRN (BBQ Central Radio Network) . This weeks episode is a round table discussion with three of the top Chicken Cooks on the KCBS circuit:

Kelly Wertz – 4 Legs Up BBQ, previous winner of the Jack Daniels Invitational and in 2009 ranked #4 overall in Chicken and #6 Overall on the KCBS TOY Listings.

Joe Amore – Smokey Mountain Smokers, ranked #5 overall in Chicken and # 19 overall in the KCBS TOY listings. They also manufacture one of my favorite products disposable cutting boards.

Troy Black - Learn2Q.com, ranked #7 overall in Chicken and #15 overall in the KCBS TOY Listings. He also has a brand new DVD out Real BBQ Know How

Also tonight on the BBQ Central Show Mike Lake President of KCBS will be on at approx 10:05pm EST on the after dark segment of the show

It should be a great show! Make sure you tune in tonight at 9pm EST.

Competition season prep has begun

After reading Startin the Fire last night I decided this year I am going to try to eliminate as much prep as possible on Thursdays/Fridays before a competition.

I started with my brines. I have portioned them all for as many contests I believe we are going to be doing for the year. additionally I then portioned out my injections into baggies as well. I am too cheap to use a foodsaver for this. SO baggies it is.

I am going to try to work through and prep as many of these types of items as I can over the next couple of weeks in prep for the season.

This Friday Ideal Home & Garden Show with Chadwicks & Hacks

This Friday I’ll be at the Chadwick & Hacks booth at the Ideal Home & Garden Show in Hamilton Ontario as well as I’ll be on stage doing a BBQ presentation from 5-540pm. Hope to see you there!


Diva Q on – Celebrity Grill Podcast Available today on iTunes

J.M. From Celebrity Grill has me on his latest Podcast available on iTunes.

Also be sure to check out his website.

Lots of Fun!! Anytime to talk about BBQ is a good time. Check it out!!

Remember Life is too short for bad BBQ ®

AmberQue – Oh my goodness go and get some

While in Memphis I had the distinct pleasure to finally have some AmberQue. What is AmberQue?? Well I think it will be the next big sauce on the market. I was happy that my friend Joe McManus of Joey Mac’s Smoke Stax came out with it. Joey’s team won the American Royal 2008 Invitational BBQ Competition.  I think a lot of people are looking for a different flavor other that the traditional tomato based sauces. I really wish mustard sauces were more popular on the competition circuit. I would be using this one in a heartbeat straight out of the bottle.

It has a great blend of tangy sweet and spice. There were a few of us that tried this sauce and all of us thought it was excellent. We tried it on sausage, pulled pork, brisket and pork loin. It rocked on everything. I can’t wait to try it on ribs next.  So this is my plug for it. This is not a paid endorsement at all. I just really really liked it a LOT. If you can get your hands on it you should. I mean seriously get to Hawgeyes and get some. you will not be disappointed at all.

My Memphis experience…..

**Picture Courtesy of 4 Legs up BBQ

I have had the Memphis BBQ experience I was looking for. The NBBQA conference is done for another year but those memories will certainly last a long time. In 4 days I ate lived and breathed BBQ with a few hundred other enthusiasts. However there was a core group of us again that went out on our own to seek out those unique Q & food experiences that are best experienced within a smaller group of friends.

Our group Dave from Sweet baby Rays, Rays Nephew Duce Raymond , Ron Nunes BBQ Organizer,   Kelly & Roni from 4 Legs Up, Chris Jones from Colins Creek Barbecue, Joey McManus from Joey Mac’s Smoke Stax, Tim Clendenning from Windy City Smokers, Woody Steve Wasson & Brenda Grubb from Woody’s Smoke Shack  all set out to experience some authentic Memphis Q and food.  I felt once again blessed to be with such great people.

Cozy Corner

We set out to a place I have been waiting to eat at since I read about it in Peace Love & BBQ – Cozy Corner.   It’s in a less savoury part of Memphis where the  windows of derelict buildings are smashed out everywhere, a bit of desperation has set itself on the people and the poverty is overwhelming.  However when you pull up to this battered restaurant- you are greeted with nothing but pure Love & Sunshine by the owner Desiree.   This woman is a true light within this downtrodden area.  She puts her beliefs  in God on Display throughout the restaurant from the bibles next to the register and the menu board which proclaims they would not accept any tips and thanks God.

When I spoke with her she was warm and lovely readily giving anyone and everyone that walked through the doors a hug a word of encouragement and true sincere expressions of care and concern.  The restaurant itself was a relic in itself. The stained blue Berber carpet, missing ceiling tiles and flimsy wall panelling really does the place no justice.  However you don’t need decor to have great BBQ. I have seen this time and time again. Cozy Corner is one of those places.

**Photo courtesy of 4 Legs Up BBQ

We decided as we usually have in the past to get one of everything on the menu.  This is really easy when you are traveling with a pack of 11.  When we received the tray I was shocked to see the huge amounts of sauce on the Cornish hen, the ribs and the pork in addition to the smoked bologna sandwich.  I am not a big fan of sauce and this looked as coated as an oil slick.

Photo courtesy of 4 Legs Up BBQ

Everything at this place was wonderful. The hen was tender sweet tangy and spicy- I savoured the tiny little drum stick I had then the breast meat – intensely flavoured and spicier than the rest. My rib was perfectly cooked coming off the bone with just an easy tug of teeth once again surprisingly not overwhelmed by the sauce. The bologna cut into almost an inch thick slab was a throwback to my childhood. It was layered with sauce and coleslaw on a typical hamburger bun. It was awesome. The coleslaw and sauce really added to the overall flavour of the bologna sandwich.  I could imagine coming here with my children just for that Sammie alone.

Photo courtesy of 4 Legs Up BBQ

Everyone that serves you or interacts with you in this iconic place-smiles. They thank you profusely. It is a wonderful experience to feel appreciated. They get it here. You can certainly understand why they are still there. It is perfect with all of its “imperfections”  Most of all what makes it perfect is the combination of Desiree’s continuance of this wonderful BBQ joint and the warm fuzzy feeling you leave with  it.


Rendezvous

We stopped at Rendezvous in the downtown core as well. It’s down an alley way near the Peabody in the same location it has been in for -well forever it seems. In 1948, Charlie Vergos cleaned out a basement below his diner, discovered a coal chute, and started a legend.  Charlie’s kids run things now, and their kids are coming along, and their kids will follow.

The alley is full of dumpsters, trash and the smell of charcoal. Seedy would be one way to describe it. However as you stand there you see people from all walks of life heading into Rendezvous:  Ladies dressed to the nines with their Manolo Blahnik boots and Louis Vuitton purses, men in their sharp Ralph Lauren suits  and Brooks Brothers, everyday people in their Nikes and hoodies attire all carefully treading around the dumpsters to get to this place.  Not only people walking in but there is a constant flurry of vehicles driving up and dropping people off.

Now imagine yourself walking into an antique store jumbled full of treasures and timeless classics, full glass showcases containing lots of kitschy fun stuff. The floor is mottled and cracked there are people everywhere sitting at tables eating BBQ. Then take a walk to one of their antiquated back rooms full of signs and pictures from all over the world and you know you have arrived at Rendezvous.

Our party once again tried everything we could possibly partake in on the menu while still allowing us to remain upright without going into a protein coma.  We ordered a sample platter of all of their meats plus a couple of sides. However before I go into more detail on this I will have to tell you about my most favorite part about Rendezvous and that would be our server. To call him a server seems a bit of a disservice he is a Legend here at Rendezvous himself. Big Jack Dyson is a flurry of Southern comebacks and full on court press hospitality. He will have you laughing and feeling comfy in an instant. He has been at Rendezvous since 1969.  They don’t have a lot of staff turnover issues at Rendezvous.

Photo courtesy of 4 Legs Up BBQ

Big Jack brought us out some of their gumbo to try on the house. It was an interesting medley of flavours for sure. He also brought us some lamb ribs that were gamier than most I have tried. These were not what I was used to but it was just fine. The food overall at Rendezvous is not something I would go back for to be honest. I didn’t like their ribs or the pulled pork at all.  I was really looking forward to some dry ribs but these were not it. They were just not my thing. I don’t think many in our party liked them at all.  I don’t think you go to Rendezvous for the food. You go for the experience. I would go again for the experience. It should not be missed. The ambiance and the cold beer were a great combo. However next time I think I would just stick with their ham & cheese plate.

Pig on Beale-Pork with an Attitude


From their website:

With the 1950s decor of checkerboard floors, formica tables and vintage movie posters mixes with live rockabilly, honky tonk or bluegrass music, a down-home happenin’ hoopla should come as no surprise. The Pig on Beale’s jukebox could easily be the best on Beale Street, with an eclectic mix of Memphis

music like the older Furry Lewis and Elvis to the Delta Blues of the Eric Hughes Band. The bar hosts live Blues and Americana music Thursday through Sunday from area Americana bands.

What they don’t tell you on their homepage (they do in the about section though) is that their food rocks. I mean rocks out like being at the best concert of your life with the love of your life.. For me sharing their food with some incredibly dear BBQ people was an event I will cherish.

The food is top notch. Once again I have found competition quality BBQ at a restaurant. There are only 3 BBQ joints (Pig on Beale, Bub-Ba-Q, Q Restaurant) I have been to that I would be happy to serve their food in a turn in box and be proud to call it my own. From the creaminess of their potato salad to the wickedly good onion rings to the hickory kissed ribs and pulled pork perfection, great wings and the tender chicken the Beale Street BBQ super feast is awesome.  Even that description doesn’t seem good enough to me.

What impressed me even more is that we were there during the down times. Not even close to lunch or dinner but right in between. Having top quality food at an off time is impressive. It was quiet when we were there with only 1 or 2 other patrons. They have most obviously taken great care to ensure what they serve is their very best at all times. Our server was great too. Very polite to all of us making sure we were well attended to.

Later on at the convention I ran into John the owner. Now John stands heads above me and he is a solid young man. Think the Stone Cold Steve Austin version of BBQ and you have a good picture of what he looks like. John actually owns both Pig on Beale and natural Born Grillers. They compete as well. Actually they win a LOT too with many of their impressive trophies in the windows of Pig On Beale. Their website lists their many competition accolades.  I was sorry we didn’t have the time to make it out to their Southaven location.

My advice to anyone would be that going to Memphis and not eating BBQ at Pig on Beale would be akin to missing your first Anniversary, your kids birth or your own wedding – it’s just something that should never ever be missed.  It was that good.

Gus’s Fried Chicken


Now off to another joint we went just down a few blocks and around a corner. This was the second time in three days that I had eaten there. That should pretty much tell you something right there. I had extolled the virtues of Gus’s fried chicken to our group and we all decided to give it a go.

We had the deep fried pickled fried green tomatoes and a whole lotta chicken and fries. Once again it did not disappoint.  Lip smacking finger licking can I get another piece even if I have just eaten at 3 other BBQQ joints chicken kind of food. I think to tell an outstanding place from a good one it is just this when you are so stuffed you can barely move but all you want to do is eat more you know you are in a place of greatness. I think that applies to both BBQ and chicken.

Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ


On the day I was leaving my friends Chris Jones and Tim Clendenning all headed to the airport together.  As we wandered around waiting for our flight we decided to have breakfast. Well of course that would mean having more BBQ. You just can’t ever get enough. So we headed to Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que.  This was about 830am.

Gotta love Memphis where you can get BBQ at any time of the day or night. We ordered up BBQ Nachos, Pulled pork and BBQ Bologna. It was all great. Just really good decent BBQ that had good flavour, good texture, and nice sauce. The BBQ Bologna had a great char on it as well that was yummy.

The Pulled Pork Sammie had to have at least a ½ lb of pork on it. Extremely generous. We did also get the BBQ spaghetti I will say this it’s not my thing. Just no. Just not going to ever order BBQ spaghetti again. Overall the food was really good. We even got to talk with Harold Neely. He wanted to pick up our check but Chris had already paid. Good people to talk with for sure. If you are in the Memphis airport stop by and eat. You will not be disappointed.

Well I could go on and tell you some really juicy stories about Myron ”Damn” Mixon, or some of the other folks fables and tall tales or even my own new associations with some fine folks but I think I will take a lot of those stores and keep them to myself. While in Memphis I walked by a poster and it said this: What happens in Vegas started in Memphis.   I tend to agree with this sentiment. For the days I was there I was educated, libated and satiated with BBQ and food. We will leave it at that.

However as I end this rather long winded (and really if you have read the blog at any time you will know I tend to be a wee bit long winded) I have to tell you a story about our trip to Gus’s and this goes towards the kindness and the type of people I am real proud to associate with. As we were walking in Memphis within our tight knit little group a homeless man approached my friends and asked for money. He ended up being invited to eat with us. None of us would ever like to see anyone go hungry. None of us would have wanted for this man to go without something to eat. So we had our meal with this man who was quite articulate and certainly added a deeper meaning to our meal. That is the breaking of bread with your fellow man is always a good thing. That we should always look out for each other.   That we should take care of each other.  That food whether it be BBQ in Memphis a hot dog in New York  or even poutine in Toronto has the capacity to bring us all together.  That is my Memphis story.

** A note of thanks to Kelly & Roni Wertz from 4 Legs up BBQ for some of the excellent pictures of the Memphis adventure.

NBBQA Conference BBQ Bus tour

We had a fun time going to a few restaurants here in Memphis and area.

The places we went were Germantown  Commissary, Central BBQ, Whole Hog Cafe, Old School Bar-B-Q

Each of the restaurants had some decent food however overall I would have to recommend the Germantown Commissary as my favorite hands down. They also had some of the very best pies I have ever eaten. If you are in the area make sure you stop in.

Today I am off to another bunch of BBQ restaurants. I am really looking forward to them!!

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