Maybe you won the lottery.. Maybe you bought microsoft stocks years ago…. Maybe you were a long lost relative of Steve Jobs and he left you a load of cash in his will… or maybe just like me you just have to dream….for now

Here is my ultimate BBQ Christmas Wish list….

Pitmaker Pits are absolutely gorgeous. Incredible cooking machines and fabricated to incredible specs. I have seen many of their pits in person. Awesome paint jobs tricked out to the 9’s with pop up LCD tvs, deep fryers and if you can dream it they will build it. Wicked cool.

Extreme BBQ trailers

To be able to design a trailer and have it custom made would be a dream. These are some of the most beautiful trailers I have seen.


Now if I am dreaming I may as well get a new truck too !! 2012 Super Duty F-450 King Ranch. It would have to be black

But its going to need this grill:


I have had the pleasure of working on this great BBQ more than once.The Traeger COM 200. It has 50 square feet of cooking space. Love the capacity and ease of use. Its a dream to cook pork butts on the traegers and the color and flavor just rocks.

Mack Daddy Outdoor Kitchens. Who wouldn’t love to cook outside in one of these? Down to the last brick I have one figured out. Now if I can just find the property and cash to make it a reality.

The FEC 500 is really an amazing cooking machine. Double walled insulation & double walled stainless steel interior. I have enjoyed cooking on a few of the smaller FEC100’s and they do an excellent job.

I ? Texas. I would love to own a big a$$ Ranch in Texas and get a real experience in cattle farming. Then BBQ out under the moon and the stars!!

I would think that spending a weekend with this guy would absolutely be wickedly awesome. Wouldn’t it be cool to just load up on groceries fire up some grills and cook with this guy. Steven Raichlen is a legend in BBQ. With multiple successful cookbooks and tv shows he knows BBQ and grilling.

Speaking of legends there are lots of awesome BBQ people that I would love to spend a weekend with too many to mention in fact……

Now to get around to all those Legends of BBQ and the legendary BBQ joints all over North America, to travel to every competition possible I am going to need one of these:

Prevost Luxury Centurion RV

There are lots of toys out there and lots of options to dream these are just a few of mine :-)


Road trips !! Love em or hate em they are necessary if you need to haul all your BBQ equipment to a competition.
We left my house at about 230pm and started our adventurous trek to the Jack.

 Let me introduce you to my friend Jack!
 One of our important stops !! Duty Free!

The weather was grey and overcast the entire trip.. Mass pockets of rain hindered what is usually a beautiful scenic drive.

Getting to the Jack and our hotel as fast as possible was our goal. We had decided that it would be in our best interests if we drove through the night as much as we could safely.

Vlad – drove 99% of the way he is a trooper! 

There were four of us in the truck from the team – Vlado, Jamie, Mike and myself. Lets just say the ratio of testosterone to estrogen was a bit skewed. The boys talked about sports and argued the validity of their teams. Jamie had downloaded a lot of 80’s music that was great to listen to. Mike was in charge of candy procurement and snacks.

With all the rain and fog and mist we didn’t take a lot of pictures but how cold you miss this Dinosaur LOL 

It seemed like it took forever to get here. It almost did – almost 28 hours after we left we arrived in Nashville.

Now I am a very superstitious BBQ lady and I believe if you have done something in the past and it has worked then you should repeat the process. SO off to Jack’s BBQ for some food and a slice of chess pie. Just like I did 3 years previously.

At Jack’s I made sure to pet his pig at the front.  Then we grabbed a couple of plates of food to share with each other.  I think it is really important to try as much BBQ as possible wherever you are. I think it is a lifetime of learning about the different ways ppl make BBQ.

The guys about to Chow down!  
left to Right Mike Miller, Vlado Dimovski Jamie Parisi 

It was a good meal and a great kickoff to our time in Tennessee.

Texas Sausage, mustard greens and sweet potatoes all of it was delicious. 
Great memorable beans, cornbread, delicious brisket also ribs, pork and mac & cheese. 

After Jack’s BBQ we finally got to our hotel in Tullahoma TN and after cleaning up it was time for a few cocktails and talking to some of the teams that had already checked in.

We love Motts clamato caesars and Yeungling and we are well stocked for the next few days! 
Libations at the hotel with some of the fine folks from Smokin’ Hoggz

That’s it for day 1 !! (well that’s all that can be published lol) Today we are off to the legendary Mrs. Mary Bobo’s








Jack Draw Results-Congratulations to all the teams that had their bungs drawn we will see you there! I toast to the teams:

*Please note these results have been received 2nd hand from various sources-we hope they are accurate however they cannot be official results until the Jack Daniels and KCBS have released their lists.


The Draws

TN- Swiggin Pig
AR- Sweet Peppers
PA- Chix Swine & Bovine
IN- Squealer’s BBQ
MA- Fatback Joe’s
OH- Saucehound BBQ
CO- Flyboy BBQ
IA- Tippy Canoe BBQ
WI- Brew-B-Que
AR- Redneck Grillers
MO- 4 Smokin Butts
NE- Hot Grill on Grill Action
OK- Butcher BBQ
WY- Burnin’ Bobs Butts and Bones
NY- Mr. Bobo’s Traveling BBQ All-Stars
MD- Jack’s Old South
TX- The Drunken Brisket
FL- Big Papa’s Country Kitchen
AL- Big Creek BBQ
NC- 2 Old Men and a Grill
GA- Barbeque Crew
VA- Duegello BBQ
SD- Big Dog BBQ
SC- Fatback’s BBQ and Rib Shack
WA- Wine Country Q
IL- Team Dude
MN- Lucky’s Q
MS- Kenny’s Kountry Kookers
NJ- Fat Angel BBQ
KY- The Long Dawgs
KS- Buffalo BBQ
LA- Big Bear BBQ
MI- Motley Que Crew
ME- Feeding Friendz
OR- Smokey’s Bar-B-Q
CA- Master of Disaster



Home State Draws

AL- Wild Bunch Butt Burners
KS- Smoke On Wheels
KY- Warren County Pork Choppers
OR- Fat Dad’s BBQ
PA- PA Midnite Smokers
SD- Gerritt Boys BBQ
WI- 2 Fat Bikers BBQ
AR- Hog Tide Bar-B-Que
OH- 2 Worthless Nuts

KCBS List also has the following teams listed:

BS Pitmeisters
Whiskey Ranch BBQ
Shiggin & Grinnin
Up in Smoke

WILD Card Draw:

Wildcard – Here Piggy Piggy




Jack Automatics:

Texas Pepper Jelly
Big Bob Gibson
Lotta Bull
Southern Exposure
Munchin’ Hogs at the Hilton
I Smell Smoke
Black Cat BBQ
Pork Barrel BBQ
Piggy D’s BBQ
Rythmn & Que
Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ
Smoked to The Bone
Mad Dawgz BBQ
Lakeside Smokers
Hambones by the Fire

** IF you are on the list and I have not updated with your team link please let me know and I will add it.


We were in Monroe Michigan over the weekend. This was a first time KCBS contest at their fairgrounds. The town is beautiful. No matter what we will be putting this event back on our calender for next year.


We arrived and were immediately welcomed. Shown to our spot for the weekend we took in our surroundings. It was lovely. We have a beautiful level grass site with individual power and water hook-ups. There were really spotless bathrooms just a short walk away and SHOWERS! The judge’s tent wasn’t very far away either.  Twenty five teams had gathered for this event. In addition there were lots of experienced judges.


There was a potluck arranged by the nice folks from Great Lakes BBQ Supply (an awesome store for BBQ shopping!!)  had brought in a ranch kettle for all to use to cook a protein and we brought a deep dish cheesecake to share. Got to meet the AW Hell BBQ team – super nice people although I did pass on their bucket of jello shots. Got to visit with a lot of GLBBQA folks we don’t see often enough.

It was one of the quietest competitions I have ever been to. At about 10:30/11pm you could hear the crickets chirping. It seemed like everyone was quietly enjoying the star filled night.

All of our meats went on with no problems. Everything looked good in fact. One small problem I encountered was the battery in my thermapen went and I had to borrow another from a friend (thanks Scott!). Other than that is was smooth sailing for the entire night and into the morning.

In the morning the chicken went on with no problems as did the ribs. They looked great. Then came turn in time. Looked at the clock and something was wrong. Went outside the trailer and the other clock was showing a different time. Looked at my blackberry it showed another time. I had no idea what time it really was. Minutes and seconds count in competition BBQ.


To make a long painful story short  my chicken turn in was 20 seconds late.  Disqualified in Chicken. DAL. DQ whatever you call it – it sucked worse than anything I have ever experienced at a comp. Disgust, disappointment, embarrassment, anger, frustration and a whole lot of other emotions went through me at that moment.

My jaw dropped and I felt horrible for Vlad as he passed me the box back. He was mortified as was I. I just sat in the trailer and just looked at the turn in box of chicken – it seemed to be taunting me. How did this happen? Are you kidding me? It’s my fault the box should have gone in sooner. Last minute adjusting and cleaning had cost us a ton of KCBS points and a chance to win. I didn’t cry. I was more angry with myself than that.  Wanting to hit or throw something – I threw the turn in box of chicken and all into the trash and cursed a few times. I took a picture of it to remind me never to let that happen again. My heart just sunk and I wanted to be anywhere but in that trailer at that moment. I wanted to crawl under a rock.  All that chicken prep the box had looked delicious all that work for nothing.  I didn’t come 5 1/2 hours for nothing.

Told Vlad to give me some space (smart man he went outside and did some packing) and tried desperately to get my head together for ribs. I really had a hard time focusing on them. The box looked like shit when I turned it in and I was in the “I don’t give a crap frame of mind. “  Horrible thinking.

Between categories I was really impressed with Mike Lake. He came over to check on us to make sure we were alright. That showed a lot of class and I thank him and Theresa for their kind words and sympathies. I felt horrible for them as well. That cannot be easy for reps to do.

Gave myself a little pep talk – get over it I told myself. That’s all I could do at that time. I got refocused and turned in some really terrific pork and some yummy brisket.  That was all I could do. I have never been so relieved that a competition was over.

I poured myself a very strong vodka tonic with lots of lime and reviewed the day. Took notes of things I need to do differently in the future. Then we just wanted to pack and leave as fast as possible.

A few friends popped by and offered their condolences.  They knew just how low I was at that moment. We went to the awards to cheer for our friends but when our pork was called for 1st and our brisket was called for 3rd there was no joy in it for me.  I was much happier listening to our friends getting called.

A highlight for us was watching Bavarian Smoke pitmaster Dick & Lori get their very 1st GC !!  This was their bung for the Jack draw! Huge congratulations to them and to all those who got calls !

Reserve Grand Champion Smokin Aces CrapShoot BBQ, pitmaster Mark Rasmussen was a true class act after awards.  As we were leaving we went to say good bye. He gave me a big hug and said we would have had the RGC or higher and that he back-doored it in. He said he knew it the second he saw the scores. I told him we would never know maybe the judges would not have liked our chicken ( I thought it would have scored at least a 165 or above). It was still nice of him to acknowledge our scores which were in the running. I appreciated those very kind words. Class act.

It took us forever to get home and it was a really quiet drive.  Vlad and I were just bummed out. We both work very hard just like other teams out there. It just sucked.

So there it is in a nutshell the worst competition day of my life. It sucked and was a hard lesson to learn. I pray for each team on the circuit to never have to experience this. I sure as hell will do everything I can to never let it happen again.


Well that was a weekend to remember.

This past year I have been struggling a lot with my BBQ at competitions. Up and down and everywhere in the middle my scores landed and brisket was my nemesis. This weekend sure made up for it.


The venue was the 1st ever Blue Mountains Chili & Ribfest held in the gorgeous town of Clarksburg Ontario. Not only was it a 1st time contest it was also the very 1st time there has been a KCBS contest in Ontario. I am a huge fan of the KCBS and how they sanction contests. It removes all doubt about integrity and fairness in judging and how the contests are run. To me personally it gives me an assurance that I am going to get a fair shake at it.  I may not be the best but I just want to be treated fairly and not have rules change after I arrive at an event.

The weather was perfect and so was our site at Cedar Run Horse Park . It was half in the shade and half in the sun. Perfect for setting up our kids tent and just generally enjoying the surroundings. The entire competition site was incredible. From a few miles out (lots of clearly marked signs) the organizer uber chef and BBQ lover Steve Perrin and his endless line of volunteers and crew did an outstanding job.  Water and electricity and the ever important porta potty’s were already set up. Team sites were clearly marked. Each volunteer was easily recognizable for their red shirts. We were greeted shortly after arriving by Steve and some of their crew.

There were vendors and rides and an entire chili cook-off as well. Each area uber well maintained by maintenance staff and an endless supply of security personnel.  There was also a HUGE sound stage that featured a variety of musical acts throughout the weekend. To say this 1st year contest was well run would do it a disservice. This was one of the very best organized competitions I have seen period.

Shortly after arriving we were advised there was a Feast for all competitors and VIPS that evening. Its really nice to not have to worry about what to do for dinner when you are competing. The Cooks meeting was first and it went off without a hitch. Bill and Debby Gage were the contest reps for this event. They spent a LOT of time with the new teams and made sure they knew what the expectations were. I was asked to show them a turn in box that I had already prepared and to talk about turn in boxes in general.  I think its always important to help new teams. I am more than willing to show them my box prep and help them get the best out of their meats.

Off to dinner we went and wow they were right it was a feast for sure!!  Prime Rib, pork roast, BBQ chicken, salads, corn on the cob, pasta salads and much more. Each person manning the feast was so friendly it was excellent. Our kids love the food too as there was so much variety !!


The food was delicious!

After dinner we socialized a bit with some teams we have not seen in some time. We have not competed in Ontario in 2 years since our last win in St. Thomas. It was really great to see some folks we have missed. I didn’t not however have a single cocktail. It was a 100% diet coke night for me.  The meats went on without a hitch and we settled in for the night.. OK that’s really not accurate I didn’t sleep much at all. In fact I haven’t slept much since we got back from Ottawa I admit it. I have been over-analyzing this contest since I found out it was an auto to the Jack.  I wanted to go back to the Jack.  I want to finally go up the hill and look over the valley. I missed out on that the 1st time round and I wanted to actually experience that. So what did I do ? I went back and re-read every single BBQ note I have taken, reviewed every single class note I have written and emailed a few very good friends of mine asking for their advice.  I made a plan and stuck to the time lines. I made sure I wasn’t changing things.  I actually followed the advice I give out -stick to the plan you make and from a friend of mine who always advises run with what brung ya.

Getting all the BBQ's ready to go 3 Traegers 1 Onyx Oven from the BBQ Guru and a Weber Performer.


My husband did an excellent job setting up the site and keeping things at the right temp for the hour and a bit nap I had. I just couldn’t sleep.  I drank I think about 9 or 10 coffees in a row then my hands started shaking so bad I ate a PB sammie to balance the caffeine.  I took a walk around the competition site and watched the sun come up over the Blue Mountains and Georgian Bay. It was a gorgeous and beautiful day for a BBQ competition.  I said a few prayers and gave a lot of thanks for my family and friends.  I think its really important to be thankful.  I would not be here if it wasn’t for the help support and love of my family and friends. They mean the world to me.


Such a beautiful location for a contest. We will for sure be back next year !!

Then I had a not so great thing happen right before I foiled my ribs. My son (aka chaos) knocked over the potty bucket in their tent. Yes that bucket. The one my son had generously used through the night and my youngest daughter had taken a dump in.  Yes the same bucket they had not put the lid on. Because nothing says being a Mom 1st and a competition BBQ chick more than having to clean up poo and pee (all the while doing everything you can to not hurl and add to the vile mess) then scrubbing the tent floor with bleach spray. I believe I could have won an award for the fastest clean up ever. So after thoroughly scrubbing the floor and then myself off it was time to finally get the ribs foiled.

Then it was game time.  Chicken came off the grill and I loved the color and the flavor throughout. I was really pleased with the box styling and I was super proud how it came together. Ribs came off and I had more good racks then ok racks and that was thrilling. I turned in the best ones out of the lot and was super thankful none were over or undercooked. Pork got all sorted out and placed into the box. It was one of the best boxes we have done. Then I started to panic.  I was thrilled with 3 categories already turned in. Brisket has broken me more times than any other category.   Nervously I opened up my resting briskets.  Slicing into the first one I could feel my heart racing and the adrenalin pumping.  This is why I think competition BBQ is a real sport. It takes endurance it takes a lot out of you and it takes a whole lotta balls to go up against the big boys and girls.

Our site set up.

Sometime before slicing into the briskets a friend texted me. She wished me good luck. I told her I had my big ass girl panties on. For those of you reading this you know who I was texting….  Well that helped the mojo for sure. So did the Divagator. Plus all the really super nice emails I got from friends encouraging me.

Lots of happy people serving food at the Friday Feast.

The brisket was delicious. It tasted like BBQ. Not freaking pot roast but BBQ. Really good brisket. Holy crap did that ever scare me. I remember getting the box done closing the lid and thinking if this doesn’t score well I think I may be done with competing. So thats where I was. Praying like every other competitor does after you turn in your boxes. Hoping that it would land on good tables and beyond exhausted. Then I did something I have never done after turn ins I had a diet coke and then crawled into my kids tent mentally and physically exhausted. I don’t remember my head even hitting their blow up mattress. I was done in.

Daryl Maybanks from the super successful team Q'N Canucks catching up on a few Zzzz's

Sometime a couple hours later…. I woke up and my beloved husband had packed up everything and I mean everything other than the tent. The grills were put away the pop ups the food the electrical cords I mean everything. He knew I didn’t have anything left in me. That’s why we made such a great team for this event.  We really worked with each others strengths and weaknesses.

Stanley's Smokehouse


I packed up the tent the sleeping bags and the odds and sods and off we went to the awards ceremony. On the way we stopped to see our friends the Pork Ninjas and Jamie asked if I liked my boxes. Truthfully I told him I would have been proud to turn those boxes in anywhere. Whether it was the Royal or the Jack I was happy with the food we made.

Pork Ninjas Jason Rees out enjoying the sunrise too!

Waiting at the awards we relaxed a tiny bit and then they started to call from 10th on up.  Chicken came in at 7th and I was disappointed. Wow. I thought this is not going to be a good day. My husband said he was surprised too. Even our daughter Lexi the best taste tester we have loved the chicken and she is more critical than anyone.  I prepped myself for a disappointing finish and cheered on the other teams. Congrats was given to Big Grill Catering & BBQ for their 1st place win.  I hope they post their chicken recipe sometime.

Earl Whyte from Bustin Loose!

Ribs was next.  We tied for 2nd place but lost the tie and moved to 3rd. It was really great to hear us get called in ribs. Its been a really inconsistent category for us. Taking on some advice from friends in this category really paid off. We stuck to a recipe we know like the back of our hand and didn’t make any last minute changes.  HUGE congrats to the 1st time competitors Tornado Alley Barbeque . They were really awesome people to meet. A nice family out to compete for the first time.  Also I have to say I really loved the announcer that did the entire awards ceremony. HE was terrific.

Schultz from Happy Grillmore!

Pork came and we really loved what we turned in and so did the judges. 1st place with a 179.4 one appearance mark away from perfect. Pork has always been our best category. I feel zen like when working with Pork Butts I just love working with them. I love the way they change so much in the cookers.  They are my favorite meat to BBQ by far.

You need to come to this contest next year!!

Then I sat back and took a breath or two. Seeing our friends walking to the stage gives me great joy. Watching friends win (even when we don’t) is awesome. You know how hard they worked.  Brisket. ….. Ugh. They called out that there was a 180. I was 100% convinced it was Can’t Stop Grilling. Truly their brisket has been taking names. They have been winning everywhere. Tim their pitmaster however turned to me and said its you. I shook my head and said no way. Not in brisket. Maybe in pork, dessert or anything butt but never ever would I have dreamed a 180 in brisket.

2 of our tiny terrorists enjoying the feast!

In the end I just about had a heart attack.  I sat there and heard them call the teams up to 2nd. I still didn’t think it was going to happen. I have been in this spot before 3 calls and tanking in brisket. When they called us for the brisket -a perfect 180- I shed a few tears (pfft so flippin girly it was pitiful) I have never been so shocked at a contest anywhere ever. I knew it tasted good but I sure didn’t expect a 180. I remember repeating to myself (apparently I said it out loud too!) that it was a protein that it wasn’t a dessert 180 finally!! I really wasn’t sure if my now jello legs would walk to the stage with my kids and husband.

So we did it. Grand Champion.  We finally got our Mojo back, our BBQ karma or whatever you call it. We got it back. While this is only 1 Grand Champion win this year – it feels good and we will once again will have an opportunity to represent Canada at the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ competition in Lynchburg Tennessee.  This time I will make sure to go up the hill and it will be with my beloved husband and my Sister in Smoke BFF Angie Quaale and the boy and a few other people I owe a lot of thanks to. I can’t wait. For full contest results check out the KCBS website  Congratulations to the RGC Black Pig and all of the other competitors as well.


PS- You see its been a rough and extremely frustrating year. When you consistently have been challenged both in your professional and personal life you really start to doubt the fairness of life sometimes. Call it whatever you want but I sure as heck wasn’t in a good place for a while.  So those friends and family that lift your spirits and continue to encourage you are worth everything in the world. This competition wasn’t just a win for my team it was a win for all of them. I am eternally grateful to some fine folks who sponsor and helped us as well:

Traeger Canada

Basques Charcoal

Butcher BBQ 

Smoky Mountain Smokers 

Plowboys BBQ

Smoke on Wheels

BBQ Guru 

Novelis *(Alcan) Foil

Harvey White Auto Glass & Detailing










Team Diva Q is honored to have been asked to represent Canada in Ottawa at the US Embassy for a the first ever Ambassador’s Cup #BBQ contest on July 4th 2011 Co-ordinating everyone and all of the catering  is John Woods from the award winning 1st Choice Catering . The event is expected to have over 4000 dignitaries  in attendance.

Hosted at U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson’s Official Residence, this prestigious event will be key part of the Embassy’s annual July 4th celebration. Woods and his company, First Choice Catering, is no stranger to this type of an event, having catered some of the largest events in North America including catering this event in Ottawa, Canada in July of 1999 while simultaneously feeding 10,000 people at the Mall in Washington, D.C. the same day. This event has been planned for well over a year.

In addition to John Woods, John Wheeler- Pitmaster of Natural Born Grillers, and James Swenson – Pitmaster of Military Chefs will be representing the USA.  For Canada in addition to Team Diva Q –  are Can’t Stop Grillin’ w/Pitmaster Tim Brown &  Steph Legari.

To talk about the event John Woods &  I will be on CTV Canada AM Canada’s most watched National morning  news program – Live at 8:50 am July 4th to talk about the event.



Well I am curious to see this weeks episode from Season 2 BBQ Pitmasters.

I want to take a moment to post my thoughts on BBQ Pitmasters before our episode airs. I have read a lot of negative comments on various BBQ boards twitter and facebook. We knew there was a complete format change this year prior to going in. It was public knowledge so no secret about that.  In fact I looked forward to the opportunity to BBQ something other than the typical 4 meats.

I really do believe a pitmaster should be able to handle more than just those 4 meats ribs chicken pork and brisket. I think a pitmaster should handle the various obstacles thrown at them. No where did it say this was a typical MIM, KCBS, PNWBA, FBA etc contest. Its just bbq on tv. So maybe call it BBQ and grilling entertainment>??? People need to lighten up a bit.  Please note I also have no problem any more using the term BBQ to describe making hot dogs on a grill or even something like grilling asparagus. I used to cringe at it but over time I realized there were so many ppl using the term BBQ to describe something else that I figured it didn’t matter to me as long as people were getting together enjoying great food in the company of their loved ones and friends. For those of you that think this show was scripted let me tell you for sure 100% it wasn’t.  However I will tell you it was the biggest challenge of my bbq career to date and the hardest competition I have ever endured. It took real stamina, knowledge and quick thinking on the parts of all of the teams that went and did this show. Win or lose every single team that appears should be commended for taking on this competition.

We were in California in 110F or higher temps for the entire time. We spent the vast majority of our times standing up racing around or generally plotting our next move. Yes there were times when we did some BS smack talking (and seriously it was hard to keep a straight face on it LOL) but overall when you are BBQing among friends it really is just a bunch of posturing and BS  I love the guys we went up against.

What a fun time we all had Big Poppas Smokers, Big Mistas BBQ and the legendary Johnny Trigg. I absolutely 100% enjoyed myself with our team of my husband and my BBQ BFF Angie. I would do it again in a heartbeat. We had a lot of giggle times and a lot of stressful times but overall I am really happy with how it all went down.

Hope you watch the show. Just take it for what it is a whole lot of fun and entertainment.