Posts Tagged ‘bbq’

New BBQ Cookbook – America Grills!!

I love BBQ cook books. I love reviewing the recipes and many times being inspired by them.

Recently on a trip to South Carolina I got to meet in person Barry “CB” Martin.  We have talked back and forth on twitter & facebook many times and on the phone but never in person. He is the contributing editor for this cookbook.

Barry exudes a lot of passion for all things BBQ and grilling – it really comes through in this book as well ! This is a happy book.  This book makes you want to go out and grill something ASAP. Lots of really useful information packed into this well laid out BBQ cookbook!

 

Right from the beginning the book outlines all different methods and does a fine job of it -

Beautiful pictures and 222 recipes follow all gloriously detailed!

In no way is this book pretentious. It is an easy book to read to look at and to enjoy. One of the best things about this book is that it makes you want to head to the store buy the recipes and BBQ.. That’s why I would highly recommend this book for anyone – It would be a great gift too!

The book is available from Amazon

You can find Barry on twitter and Char-broil on facebook

Inaugural Sam’s Club Contest Gilbert Arizona

This past weekend the Inaugural Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour kicked off in Gilbert Arizona !

30 teams and 30 judges got down to business in rainy drizzly weather….Sanctioned by the KCBS!!

Here is an excellent video from:

One of the best things about BBQTV videos is to hear the judges commentary on the BBQ that was presented to them.  You can learn a lot from watching their videos- all 577 of them!!

After the boxes were turned in & the results tallied the Grand Champion was … Darren & Sherry Warth from Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ !!

Reserve Grand Champion was Jennifer Duncan from Smoked to the Bone..

The Top 7 teams overall from this contest will be continuing on to the next tier in Las Vegas on May6th & 7th 2011:

Overall:
1 Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ
2 Smoked to the Bone
3 Rhythm ‘n Que
4 Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ
5 I.A.B. 30 BBQ
6 McFrankenboo BBQ
7 Loot N’ Booty BBQ

 

Congratulations to all the teams that participated!

Bucky’s BBQ Greenville SC- a story of Endurance, Faith and BBQ success

On our BBQ tour of local places in Greenville SC we were told we should not miss Bucky’s BBQ. Not only for the food but to hear the story behind it and the owner Wayne Preston. I took a short video about his story and in the background you can hear the chopping of pork….Wayne talks a lot about his family and we had a great time there. We enjoyed our meal a whole lot here.

 

 


Wayne’s son Zack and his son in law chopping pork.

 

Some serious dedication. Wayne’s tattoo.

Their kitchens were beyond spotless.

Outside they have their pits. All of them use hickory wood. The chicken was just coming off as we got there.

Their tables tell their story.

We really enjoyed our meal there. Lots of flavor and the sauces were excellent. One of the funniest moments was when I walked in with Jason, Melissa, Chris and Phyllis the first thing Wayne said to me was what are you going to say about our BBQ.  LOL Wayne follows me on twitter and facebook and had been following us through the day on our adventure. Well Wayne if you are reading this let me tell you – your BBQ was really fine. My favorite was the chicken. SO moist and delicious. Thanks for the hospitality. You are your entire family were excellent hosts.

Bucky’s BBQ has multiples of locations we went to the one on Roper Mountain Road.

Phone
(864) 329-0054

Address
1700 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville, SC‎

Hours
Monday – Tuesday 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday – Closed

Bucky’s Facebook Account

The Beast Restaurant… and for the first time ever Lamb Ribs.

I have been meaning to get to Beast for a while now.  Just never enough to time….. I had heard from a few friends in TO that the food was really good . This past weekend I finally got to try some items.  Once again Angie Quaale from Well Seasoned accompanied me.

We stopped  in for a glass of wine and a few appetizers before we headed out for a late dinner at Parts & Labour

The building is really charming and with lovely plastered walls, planked flooring and cozy seating.More like you are going to someones home for dinner than a restaurant.  Its just a really nice place to eat and the chandeliers are gorgeous but not so pretentious you would feel uncomfortable  coming in more casual clothing.

We decided on our wine and then moved on to selecting some appetizers to share -

Cassoulet duck confit, chorizo sausage, poached duck egg


The beautiful succulent pieces of duck, the to-die-for chorizo, beans that held their shape yet yielded to a bite…  and a perfectly poached duck egg made this dish elegant, rustic and hearty all at once.  The only criticism I could make was it was just a bit heavily seasoned with salt for our tastes… That note aside this is a dish you want to delve into- curling up beside a fireplace with it……. Like your favorite cardigan or sweater you want to just keep going back to it.

beast charcuterie

I love cured meats. I love the smoky overtones the different textures and tastes a good charcuterie platter should come with. I am spoiled so many of my friends on the BBQ circuit cure their own meats and have shared their bounty with us.  Going to restaurants lately I have been very disappointed with some of the charcuterie I have had, until this arrived:

1.Rabbit and Carrot Terrine 2. Pate de Campagne 3. Mortadella 4. Duck Bresaola 5. Foie Gras “Pastrami” pickled veg, mustard & honeycomb -parker house rolls, absolutely everything was delicious. We could have spent all night with this gorgeous pig platter of food slowly savoring each item.

I would also like to note they make the parker house rolls and mini baguettes with red bran (I could eat a dozen of these they are soo yummy and the texture ROCKS)  in house and they are just perfect accompaniments to this dish.

lamb ribs carolina bbq sauce & hushpuppies


So here is the hard part. I don’t like lamb in any form at all. I have had countless chefs and BBQ cooks and friends have me try their lamb in every which way possible. I still don’t like it. Until now.

Lamb ribs are something I have never had before. These were succulent and properly cooked.  The outside crust was incredible. The sauce very lightly applied.  I wish I had the rub recipe. The meats texture and flavor was incredible. Different than any other lamb I have ever had. The fatty layer underneath is simply indulgent very rich….. Delicious. ….I was shocked by how much I enjoyed them. The coleslaw was vinegary and crisp & did a great of balancing the fattiness of the ribs.

Last but not least the hushpuppies. I have such a fondness for hushpuppies. I am an absolute hush puppy lovin’ lady- These were little balls of pure happiness. I could eat them by the bucketload . The crunchy exterior is in beautiful contrast to the fluffy light interior.  They were awesome..  Hushpuppies are a Southern thing that I hope catches on a lot more in Ontario.

I am really looking forward to another visit to Beast to have not just appetizers but an entire meal… The service was incredibly friendly warm and hospitable. Scott and Rachelle Vivian truly have something to be incredibly proud of with this restaurant.

Big Bone BBQ & Wicked Wings -Barrie gets another great BBQ joint !

I was happy to read a while back that Barrie would be getting another BBQ joint. Currently we have one Big Chris BBQ and I already like to eat there so why not another.. Barrie with its ever growing population can always use more BBQ.

Big Bone BBQ & Wicked Wings Barrie opened up just yesterday. Their location at 190 Minet’s Point Road is within a strip plaza facing Young St. It is an interesting location as it is ideally suited for the bedroom community at the South end and central Barrie.

They have awards from various ribfests around the walls and make claim that they have won over 50 BBQ Championships (?!).   The decor is casual and warm with taupe colored table cloths and walls with wood accent partitions.  Each table has ketchup salt & pepper, wet naps and a roll of paper towels but no  (?) BBQ sauce.  It is a nice… but not too nice place to go.   You would be comfortable here in dress pants as well as shorts.  They have achieved a good balance.

When I arrived there was one table of 4 young men all very animated and thoroughly enjoying their meal. It was nice to see people enjoying their food so much.  It was 11:30 am so no wonder that the rest of the dining room was empty.  However within moments many people started coming through the door. The crowd was a mix of businessmen in suits, young teens, families and local staff from area businesses.  They all looked happy to be there.   There was the sweet smell of BBQ throughout the restaurant…. and a terrific selection of Jazz, country, and blues on their sound system.

Lots of options on their menu.

Wanting to try just about everything I ordered the Elvis platter. It  comes with 3 bones, 1/2 lb wings, 1/2lb pulled pork, fries, coleslaw, beans and cornbread for $18.00  I also ask to have sauce on the side and the waitress went and asked if that was possible.  I also asked the super friendly waitress for sweet tea. I should have known that would be confusing.  In Canada no one ever refers to it as sweet tea. We usually order iced tea.  (I miss my US sweet tea! ).  No problem and off she goes to get it.

In the meantime I play with my blackberry but notice a couple of the staff milling about and generally doing everything they can to make people feel comfortable.  The owners of the Newmarket location (Lee & Tim Rombos of the Purple Pig & Memphis BBQ Woodbridge ON, fame) were on hand as well.  Certainly as this is only day 2 it is to be expected. I really hope they continue with their hospitality.

My platter arrives minus the beans. I do not say anything because truthfully I was paying attention to the meat.  It looks good plus instead of 3 bones I get 4. . ….

The ribs and the wings both come without sauce but the pork had already been sauced for the day. The texture of the cornbread is good its not overly sweet or dry. Just a decent slice of cornbread that crumbles properly.  The waitress came with the beans and apologized without being asked.  The coleslaw is creamy, simple and crunchy.  Its a good contrast for the pork which has nice chunks  in addition to the pulled. I got a little bit of bark but not much.  The flavor was good – mild and unoffensive with a hint of smoke. I like the fact the pork was not mushy and it still had definition. I would always prefer to order it naked and I hope that could someday be an option here.  Their sauce is a tangy and sweet tomato based sauce. A typical Canadian BBQ sauce. I am in it for the meat so to me the sauce really doesn’t matter that much.

The ribs had good flavor. Smokey overtones and very mild in seasoning and to me-  the lack of sauce let the taste of the meat come through. The ribs were well cooked. They were not fall off the bone.  They were tender and moist and quite lovely. They were… however… a little thin on the meat side as you can see from the picture and certainly this may be why I received 4 instead of the 3 as stated on the menu.  The owner Mike Miller later told me they are actively looking into obtaining some heavier racks and securing their pork for the upcoming months.

Happy people make better BBQ trust me on this…

Now moving on to the beans. They are forgettable. Seriously. Just forget them if you are looking for Smokey pit BBQ beans. They taste like a can of Heinz beans right off the counter.  To some people that may be terrific and perfectly acceptable but I have higher expectations from a BBQ joint.  They need some oomph. They need some smoke and they need more flavor.  I hope they give them some of the same love & attention they have bestowed upon their wings……..

wing picture from their website (I will admit I was too busy enjoying them to take a picture)

Moving on to the wings… They are really fantastic.  Lots of smoke flavor in little wing packages. To me I hold all wings to the level of Buster Rhinos in Whitby my all time favorite place for bbq wings. These come really close other than being a little on the small side they are terrific. Good things can come in small packages. I love a really good smoked then grilled wing.  The dual cooking technique can elevate a simple chicken wing to heights of absolute  culinary excellence.  They do them really well here and offer 24 toppings for their wings from the traditional flavors to a little more unique like Rasta Jerk and creamy Parmesan.

The kitchen is open to the dining room for all to see.

They use a Cookshack with hickory to cook all of their BBQ.

I had a bit of conversation with the owner Mike Miller about the restaurant and the menu items. He pointed out that I had missed the brisket sandwich completely when I had ordered the Elvis Platter. I just had to order one and I am very happy that I did. They thinly slice all of their brisket and toss it very lightly with their sauce and a bit of additional salt.  While it is not a traditional Texas style brisket it is a really satisfying beefy sandwich that has all the right amounts of spice and sauce.  Its piled high on a perfectly proportioned soft bun. To me meat to bun ratio should always be taken into consideration.  You should never have more bun than meat. Ever. They do it right here and its delicious.

The only real glitch I  observed on my visit (and seriously its only their second day) besides the beans ..is in their layout.  They have a podium at the front of the restaurant for the hostess and the cash station is at the back of the room. Its awkward.  I think they should have combined the hostess station and the cash at the front and be done with it. Certainly it would free up room to put in at least 1 more 4 person table if not 2.  It doesn’t make any sense to have to walk to the back of the restaurant to pay when you are heading out the door. Also for those people waiting on take out they would be standing basically in the dining room right next to the other patrons seated in tables. I really think they need to change that layout.

My bill for the brisket sandwich, the Elvis platter and the iced tea was $33.00 (not including tip).  There was plenty to bring home for my better half. He was happy too. Both of us will be back next time. For sure without a doubt we will be back and I am thankful that Barrie has not just one but two great BBQ joints now.

Congratulations to the owners on their successful opening. It was a delicious afternoon.

Website:http://www.bigbonebbq.ca
Location:
190 Minet’s Point Road
Barrie, ON, L4N 4C3

705-733-2663
Mon – Thurs:11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri – Sat:11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun:12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Price Range:$$ (10-30)

Attire:Casual
Payment Options:
Visa
Mastercard
Take – Out and Catering available.

The most expensive & delicious porchetta i’ll ever make.

I had a serious craving this week for porchetta. Not just any run of the mill porchetta I really wanted porchetta from The Stockyards. IF you are ever in Toronto go. Go for the porchetta and rapini sammie, go for the fried chicken go for the green chili burger … seriously just go and have everything on the menu. You will thank me. Unfortunately due to some commitments I can`t get to Toronto this week. So whats a BBQ lady to do….. make her own porchetta.

I started with a thinly sliced cored fennel bulb, a couple stalks of celery, onions, lots of garlic and some olive oil. I sweated them out till nice and soft. I added some additional fennel seeds (crushed in a mortar & pestle) salt & pepper with some oregano, parsley and shredded basil. I also added a tablespoon of red chili flakes and a couple of minced jalapeños.

I set this aside to cool completely and moved on to prepping a fresh pork belly. These are readily available at Highland farms. They always have them and they are very reasonably priced. The belly was scored very deeply. The reason I did this was to allow as much smoke to penetrate into the porchetta. I wanted to have a very prominent smoke flavor as part of the porchetta I was creating. In addition to prepping the belly I also zested 3 lemons and finely minced two packages of rosemary. Once the belly was scored I mixed the rosemary & lemon zest with enough olive oil to make a paste. Fifteen cloves of garlic were slivered and added to the mix. I was looking for big bold flavorful porchetta cracklin. The last step was a very generous sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Once that side was completely seasoned I covered it in plastic wrap and laid on a tea towel. I flipped the whole kit and caboodle over to work on the interior. One of the key flavors I wanted to come through with the porchetta was fennel. I had read on a few boards and posts that fennel pollen was the key. I tried to find some locally to no avail so I substituted ground fennel. I ground it to a fine powder and seasoned the belly with it. The next step was a substitution as well. I wanted pancetta on the inside of the belly. However I made a commitment to my freezers to empty them out this year completely so I have given up buying anything I have a reasonable substitute for. Bacon was my answer. Not a lot just a few slices. Double smoked good quality bacon.

Going back to the softened fennel bulb and onion mixture…. It was now cooled completely and it was time for it to be introduced to the belly. I slathered it on top of the bacon slices.

Now for the interior meat. There were lots of things I could have used – ground pork, sausage, or pork loin were a few options I entertained. However once again freezer inventory came into play. I have over 100lbs of pork butt in just one of my freezers. It just made sense to use them for the interior. So I pulled out a package of two a few days ago.


The pork butts that I have all have bones. The first step was to debone the butts something I do very infrequently. It wasn`t pretty but I did get the job done. The next part was to decide what parts and muscles of the butts I would use. I decided on the money muscles from each and some from around the bone . The remaining parts of the butt and the bones are going to be used in a posole soup.

At this point its all about tying this little piggie up and leaving it to marinate for the night. It was massive. Very heavy and barely fit on my largest of commercial baking pans. Off to the garage for the night.

Earlier today I pulled my little piggie out and put it on one of my Traeger grills. I admit. I wussed out. I had planned on finishing it on the charcoal weber performer but with -10C and snow falling I finished it completely on the Traeger.
For the first 4 hours it was at 225F then for the remaining hour it was 375F. I used apple and hickory pellets. I pulled it when the internal temperature was 160F.


After taking the porchetta off I rested it for almost half an hour very lightly tented. Then it was time to slice.

It was absolutely delicious. Truly one of the best things I have made in the last couple of years. Everyone in our house including our almost vegetarian daughter loved it.

However that is not the only part of this story…… the reason that this is the most expensive porchetta I will ever make is due to the yummy yummy crackling. I can`t resist it. I saw some beautiful crunchy pieces on the porchetta that I had to have. As I was indulging in its salty crust and beautiful texture and full flavored pork goodness…. I heard a crunch. It wasn`t from the pork. Instantly I knew… I had broken a tooth. So be warned. This is a delicious recipe but it may just cost you a tooth. ( I still think it was worth it)

Diva Q Smoked BBQ Scotch Eggs Awesome Appetizer

Last year these were made out of necessity. This year I am doing them again on purpose. No bread crumbs and no deep frying for this bbq recipe. Its just my take on scotch eggs on the grill.

For this recipe I use:

  • 8 medium boiled eggs
  • 8 cevapcici (substitute your favorite sausage brand out of the casing)
  • 16 pieces roasted red pepper (Or substitute jalapenos for a spicier Scotch egg)
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded colby cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup bbq rub
  • 1 cup bbq sauce

For each scotch egg I lay down a piece of plastic wrap first. This makes assembly so much easier.  Spread out the sausage to make a flat patty about 5 inches in diameter.

I lay down 2 pieces of roasted red pepper, some spring onions and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese.  Lay the egg down and using the plastic wrap bring the sides of the sausage around the egg.  Making sure all of the egg is completely enclosed season them with your favorite BBQ rub. ( Please note if your sausage is not well seasoned you may want to add some bbq rub on the inside of the egg as well on the outside of the egg.) Remove from the plastic once the eggs are formed.

To the grill they go at 250 F indirect. I used a frogmat to lay my eggs on.  Grill the eggs for 1/2 hour then turn them. Continue grilling until the temperature of the sausage reached 165F.  Remove and let stand for at least 10 minutes cut and serve in halves or quarters. Super yummy. Serve with your favorite warmed BBQ sauce.

Burrows Family Fundraiser

One of the best parts about many in the BBQ community is their commitment to fundraising and helping out. Recently dear BBQ friends of mine did a fundraiser for the Burrows Family. Chris Jones from Colins Creek BBQ in Midland  Texas and his family decided to help a family in need. It is a sad story. Mr. Burrows and his young son were involved in a tragic accident that left three people dead and four badly injured. Now they face huge medical bills. Dustin and Shaun Burrows face a lot of medical assistance in the future.

So Chris put out the call. Dave Raymond from Sweet Baby Rays sent sauce, Kelly & Roni Wertz from 4 Legs up BBQ drove from Kansas to help and many sent in funds to help cover costs. Lots of fantastic BBQ was made. People showed up helped out and did their best to make the day successful.

They made a whole lot of food and raised some money.. They still could use more help. If you can help please send checks to

Sherelene Burrows 2108 Whitney Drive Midland TX

Bad Brads BBQ New Baltimore Michigan

Recently I had occasion to be in Michigan and it provided a great opportunity to check out Bad Brads BBQ in New Baltimore Michigan.

The building is just terrific and I sure wished it was a lot warmer so we could have sat on their incredible back patio. It has a fireplace, a pond and a while lot of appeal !

Everywhere in the restaurant there is a concerted effort to make it interesting warm and appealing. I have to say the decor is just really great. I think its a fine line in BBQ joints. They have done a really fantastic job in this BBQ joint.
From the inlaid wood tables that have a great look to them, to the attractive bar and the wood piles outside they have paid attention to a lot of details.

However with even those great details the show stopper has to be the incredible murals that are a bbq carnivores version of a Picasso or a Rembrandt— pictures of meat cuts on the brick walls and knives painted on the brick facings all over the restaurant. I loved these.


More importantly though I think have paid close attention to the main meats. We ordered a sample platter of sausage, brisket, chicken, cornbread, collard greens, and potato salad served with warm tortillas.

The chicken was really moist and tender and there was a generous amount for the platter. I personally think it needed more oomph (just my preference) but that was easily remedied by using one of the many great sauces that is on every table. I really liked the spicy one. It had great depth and was full of many layers of flavor. All of the sauces were interesting and full of flavor.

The potato salad for me was just fine. Nothing to knock your socks off but nothing bad about it either. Just a really decent potato salad with good texture.

The sausage I have to admit I tried it twice and I did not like it at all. It was the only item that we tried that I really was disappointed about. I have eaten sausages all over the place from Texas to Canada and everywhere in between and these were just not good in my opinion. The texture was too fine and all you could taste was vegetable. You could not taste any pork.  I wasn’t the only one in our party that thought this. We all did. One of my dining partners even pointed out that the sausages tasted like a vegetable mirepoix before you add the bread to make stuffing.   When you expect a pork sausage you should be able to taste the pork. Sadly these were lacking. They looked really good too. Terrific color and they had that really nice snap when you bit into them – Such a shame they coulda been a contender…….

Let me just say this I love collard/turnip greens.  I love it when its done right and the balance of the vinegars and the greens marries. It can be a little bowl of heaven when that happens. These were almost there. The only thing is that I got to crunch (yes crunch) on some tough beans in the collard greens. Ugh. They need to take those beans out or cook them properly and let the greens with the lovely striations of meat weaved through them shine. Pretty simple fix.

Moving on to brisket. It was delicious. It was smoky and tender but not too tender and God bless them they left some of the decadent fat on the brisket slices. I thoroughly enjoyed the brisket slices. They were wonderful. Absolutely a must have for anyone going there.

Additionally a must have would be their cornbread with the whipped BBQ butter. It was glorious and tender and just sweet enough and just crumbly enough and it is probably one of the all time best cornbreads I have ever had. It was like your Grandma had just made it for you out of her 50 year old cast iron pan. I liked it so much I ordered another.  It was that good. Don’t miss out on their cornbread.

I like this restaurant. I liked it a lot- from the stacks of wood outside to the BBQ smells coming from the kitchen.  I like the way the it feels and the food and all of the things that make a good BBQ joint in my opinion this place has. I look forward to going back and having their ribs and pulled pork more brisket and of course their to die for cornbread. Make sure you stop in if you are in the area. Its worth the drive.

Location:
35611 Green St.
New Baltimore, MI, 48047

Phone:
(586) 716.9977

Kitchen Hours:
Mon-Sat / 11am – 10pm
Sun / 12pm – 9pm

Bar Hours:
Mon-Sat / 11am – ???
Sun / 12pm – ???

The American Royal Invitational & Open Oh my flip what a trip…

* Picture courtesy of Sean Moffat  Red Valley BBQ

Team Diva Q- Lexi, Ella, Gabe, Vlado, Danielle Dimovski


So the family all 5 of us packed into the truck and cargo trailer with enough equipment and stuff for 3 competitions and we hit the road to Kansas City Missouri. We had the privilege of competing in both the invitational and the open portions of the contests.

We decided due to our little ones to do a large portion of the first leg of the drive at night. We made incredible time and arrived in Kansas about 6 hours ahead of our schedule….

The trip was really uneventful. We even breezed through customs. a first for us for the entire year. We usually allocate at least an hour or so to get through since we always seem to be getting inspected. We never have anything thats contraband but Homeland Security does their job faithfully. We did however get to have a really good donut on the road from a place called Casey’s General Store a chain of convenience stores that carries really darn good donuts. (* I have my BBQ BFF Angie Quaale to thank for my new obsession with donuts she can smell out a good donut from 100 miles away)

We had one issue on the way that caused us considerable pain. Our 6 year old daughter Ella is a Vegetarian with exceptions. Notable she loves bacon and ribs and then all things vegetable. We had picked up a 2 lb bag of green beans.

She decided to eat the entire bag. Lets just say the windows were down for many miles after her indulgence. Ack. Stinky!

One of the best parts of this trip was heading to our good friends Andy and Kim’s house from Smoke on Wheels.  Our kids like hanging out with their kids and staying at their house was a whole lotta fun. Additionally Neil Big Mista Strawder and Shelly Hunt from Desperados BBQ were also hanging at their house. Just saying but a few adult beverages may have been consumed prior to this video.

Andy knows where to get everything you would ever need in the Kansas City area and arriving ahead of schedule we got to drop the trailer off early on Wednesday. Driving in was a thrill and sheesh is this place ever big. The you tube videos I had seen of it in the past in no way give you the magnitude of the location. It is awe inspiring. My backing up the trailer skills are poor on a good day so I can’t imagine having to do it in a field of other trailers already crammed in. Andy ended up backing it in anyways.

I also got a tour around the facility by Andy who has been many times before. Cool to see a lot of the artwork and attractive posters.

Then we were off to a really cool store Ambrosi Brothers Cutlery. I left my knives to be sharpened and picked up another knife, case and covers as well.

We could not be all the way into Kansas and Missouri without stopping at the Kansas City BBQ Store and Eating at Oklahoma Joes. Good places both of them and conveniently for us side by side.

Oklahoma Joes had great food and a sammie called a Z Man Sandwich. Just abut everything was great but we found the pork a bit dry. We were there after the lunch rush though.

On another evening we attended a Pre Royal Party at Knuckleheads. It was once heck of an adventure to get to this place. Its is literally out in the middle of an industrial park directly next to a set of train tracks and one of the best places I have ever been to listen to some awesome music.
The musical guest for the evening was Tab Benoit. He rocked the house and everyone was up dancing carousing and having a great time. Many pops were consumed and we had a blast with many BBQ Brethren, the Smokin Scotsmen’ , Shelley Hunt from Desperados, the British BBQ team, Karen Walker,  my BBQ BFF Angie & Dennis Quaale, and their fab kids Andrew and Kim and a bunch of other people. Here is a video I took the sound bites royally wish my BB had better video capability.


So much excitement and we had not even begun the competition yet. I loved coming in early!!
After Knuckleheads we headed back to Kim and Andy’s house. Andy helped me pick out the ribs from the selection I had that I would use for the next two competitions. I made a decision to use St. Louis spares for both competitions. It had been a while (with the exception of BBQ Pitmasters) since I had used them in competition. Then we all headed to bed and then got up early to head to the site.
Setting up was easy and we had the pleasure to have very nice neighbors on either side of us. #709 three Little Kettles (who provided our kids with an entire play table full of coloring books stickers and more!! they were incredibly kind!) and #705 Pop’s Blazin Smokers (they did gator on the Traeger!!)

I got everything prepped for the Invitational and we went and did some visiting. This was the hardest contest I have ever had to concentrate at. There are so many people you would like to get around to see and visit with and its always a race against the clock to get back in time.
One of our neighbors behind us was Mike & Debbie Davis from Lotta Bull. I tried shigging (at least I admit it) from him but he was too far away. Darn.

Another one of the highlights for me was getting to see my dear friends Roni & Kelly Wertz, Joey McManus, and Chris Jones. We missed Dave Raymond though in our Royal Experience.

So many great people to see……

I took a video walking around a bit.

I even went over to the dark side one night accompanied by a really big strong Texan and a guy from Illinois that can run really fast if needed

Those people on the dark side are certifiably insane. You could not pay me to BBQ on that side. Too many parties people throwing up and a whole lot of debauchery. Not my cup of tea really.
Since we had the kids with us we were really protective of our site space. Noting some previous experiences that friends of mine have also had at the Royal we purchased locks for all of our BBQ’s so they and the meats inside didn’t walk off. We also blocked off the front of our site and our neighbors put up fences so people would stop walking through our site. Once secured it made the experience a whole lot more pleasant.

I had some awesome visitors to our site Jim “Rhino” Reincke was just one of them. He is sooo funny.  I don’t think there is enough net space to list just how much I appreciated each of our visitors. They were all terrific to see!!

We headed out to one of the pot lucks we had been invited to. Sadly you just can’t get around to everything you get invited to. It was the annual Wertz Royal Prime Rib dinner. It was awesome. We brought a peach cobbler and there was so much food and all of it was delicious.

The day of the Invitational dawned and we received a really nice present a box of donuts from our friends Sean and Adriane Moffat. God Bless them both for their kindness!! Sean also took pictures throughout the weekend. We really appreciate that as well. MMMM Red velvet donuts. Yummy!!


Everything for the invitational ran really smoothly until the rib category. The ribs were soft and mushy and I was ticked to say the least. I had been checking them so often I was shocked to see them go so soft so fast. We turned them in but I knew they would not do well. At least the box looked good. Overall in the other categories of brisket, pork, and chicken I was really happy with what we turned in. The brisket was especially good. We had 3 different briskets and all of them turned out the best we had made for the year.

Doing all of the side dishes wiped me right out. Beans, vegetable, dessert and potatoes. Its a lot of turnins for one cook to handle. We got them in just barely in some cases. Most notable the vegetable category which we had mixed up with the bean turn in time. We ended up grilling a vegetable sidedish and turning it in all within 8 minutes. Holy cow batman that was a close one for sure. Please note in future I will read the rules a little more carefully on turn in times.

Mike Mills stopped by and he hung out in our trailer while I was prepping our dessert, It was great to see him again. Such a legend of BBQ glad to be able to call him and Amy our friends. Didn’t even have time to get a picture with him LOL.

Much thanks to Sean Moffat for help with blocking when we were delivering our dessert there were so many people I don’t think we could have done it without him!!

Sean got a nice picture with him in front of our sign


We cleaned ourselves up grabbed a cocktail and headed to the awards.

It was a thrill to hear our team name called for a 6th place in brisket. It was AWESOME!!!!


I was so excited I thought I was going to pass out……
At the end of the awards ceremony we were thrilled to see the results of the pork 30th, chicken 26th, and brisket 6th for a 35th place overall.
I was horrified and embarrassed though to see out ribs had come 4th from last 127th UGH. I knew they were overcooked. Damn. That sucked so bad.
Congratulations to Smokers Wild on the GC and Tippy Canoe BBQ Crew for their RGC!!! Also congratulations to Smoky D’s BBQ for getting a perfect 180 in their pork.

Also congratulations to Mike & Beth Woziak from Quau who won the Kingsford Cup and a check for $25,000!!

Another cool thing I got to see was my friend Jenny Windsor from Black Cat BBQ getting a 6th in ribs then to see her brand spanking new Sisters In Smoke Tattoo!! That makes three of us that have them now!! To all the other ladies of Q you need to get one as well!!


Then you get to do it all over again. You are tired, the awards ceremony has been the thrill of the day and you need to keep focused and go back to the trailer and complete another competition. Its not easy. I only slept 1.25 hours that night, I was behind in prep, making parsley boxes and taking care of the meats. Anyone who thinks competitive BBQ is not a sport should try to do 2 competitions back to back.

Our kids also enjoyed the fireworks before heading off to bed. Sadly we had broken our tent pole when setting up so we had their bedroom set up in a 10×10 easy up with their inflatable couch and mattress. I think they had probably 10 blankets on top of their sleeping bags. They were sure comfy!

Even though I was behind I went for a little walk to clear my head and visit with a few folks as well.  Figured that it would be a good think to relax just a bit before getting serious again.

Dawn came really early and we were all set.

A girl needs a little Canadian Mojo in the AM so crown Royal shots were taken around for anyone who wanted one!

I had to grill some of our Canadian bacon (sweet cured pork loin rolled in cornmeal) we had brought with us to hand out to our friends.

Plus I was in dire need of caffeine so I whipped up a batch of my legendary competition sludge a compilation of 5 shots instant espresso, and super strongly brewed Starbucks coffee with powdered whitener and sugar. It is guaranteed to get your butt in gear.

So much so that when I was walking about Phil from the Brethren made a comment that I could not stay still for a second. It gets you moving for sure….

Back to the grind…..

Brisket was looking great again.

Chicken was looking great! Ribs were good and they had awesome color and texture!

Pork got turned in and we had a whole lot of rejected meat !

Brisket gt turned in and I was really happy with it. Here is the chaos though that was left behind. I had tough time deciding which brisket to turn in.

Sausage came up last and I was sure glad we were done. I can’t remember ever entering a sausage category before so I just made a fatty of some sausage I liked to eat and hoped for the best. 

Once again it was time for the awards and we were wiped and excited all at the same time. My friends the Belly Brothers furnished me with a new favorite cocktail courtesy of team Jamaica its a combination of Appleton Estates Rum and Coconut water. Yummy stuff.

I loaded up my pockets with my good luck charms, an acorn from my daughter Ella, a poker chip with the Pellet Envy logo on it, a rubber chicken and a pig flash light. I was also wearing a cancer awareness Angel Ribbon Pin from Flower of the Flames on behalf of Karen Putnam.

Photo credit Karen Dove BBQ TV

Then we were all off to the awards again- this time over 500 teams were in attendance (participating teams 490)

*My BBQ BFF Angie Quaale from Completely Q-less at the awards

It was again a thrill to hear our name called this time though it was for a 12th place in ribs. I had tears in my eyes accepting this one. I was standing behind Mike Davis and was joking with him -I really think he thought I was going to pass out as well.

I have to admit a few emails during the night and early morning got my confidence back up about ribs after the demoralizing finish in the Invitational. The person who sent them is a good friend and Ill keep their name to myself  but you know who you are. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement it meant a lot to me. I took your advice,  I went back to an old recipe I haven’t used in 2 years with one minor twist I added a new rub. Here is of the rubs I used..

Usually I would not mention what rub I used but this was really special since it was from a dear friend Chris Jones from Colins Creek Barbecue one of my all time favorite BBQ people on the planet.

We joked prior to the awards on how cool it would be if I got a call in ribs. The rub has not been out that long. It really is terrific. You all need to try it.

The awards ceremony was coming to a close and hearing friends names get calls was incredible. We also got a 6th place call in Potatoes. That cracked me right up..I had no idea what to do for the potato category. Our friends Kim and Andy were heading to a difference potluck from the night before and were making their dish Ho De Ho potatoes. Since they were not entering any of the sidedish categories I asked if I could use their recipe. I entered it thinking it was a good dish that everyone like to eat at potlucks. It worked LOL

When it came time for the overall standings I was busy chatting up with our friends. Then the shock of a lifetime came Diva Q came in 10th overall. Oh my flip. I think I blanked out for a minute. What a cool thing to happen.

The awards continued on and 3rd place went to Pelletheads.com

RGC went to Swine Assassins and the GC went to Lotta Bull for the 4th time!!!

I came away from the Royal with absolutely no prize money at all. I have never been happier….. The trip was expensive for us. It was time consuming exhausting it was a lot of planning and juggling of schedules and at times extremely stressful and fun all at the same time. Seeing our friends and BBQ family plus meeting folks I have only dreamed of meeting plus being with our own family was without a doubt one of the highlights of my BBQ career. I can never thank my friends and family enough for their support their love and unending belief in my obsession that is BBQ. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait for next year.

More Pictures from the event can be found on our facebook Diva Q American Royal Album !

Powered by Netfirms