Posts Tagged ‘Canadian BBQ’

Shredded BBQ Back Rib Ravioli’s

In my never ending search for BBQ recipes I thought I may go in a whole different direction today.  BBQ & Pasta. Not just any dried pasta – I wanted to play with some homemade dough.

I pulled out my pasta maker. I have had this thing in my kitchen closets for a long time. Never used it- not once. Today was a great day to play indoors. With temperatures hovering at about -20 and snow falling lightly I really didn’t feel like being out at the grill.

Recipe for dough:

  • 2 cups OO flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Egg wash – 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water.

Pile all the flour on the counter. Add salt. Mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center add eggs and olive oil. Mix well.

Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Divide in two or three pieces covering the remains in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

Run through pasta maker multiples of times until you have reached the thinnest setting making sheets of pasta.  (Please note I cursed quite a bit here since the clamp for my pasta maker has gone MIA-very challenging to hold pasta and machine at the same time with no one in the house to help)

Decide on what you would like to stuff them with.  Going back to my new years resolution I knew I had lots of stuffing candidates available in my freezers but decided on one:

Step 1 – Have a dinner party and overcook the ribs.

Step 2- shred the ribs and freeze.

Step 3 think of ways to use all that shredded rib meat. (I hate throwing good meat out)

I have a large container of this now. I am sure this will not be the last recipe I make with it. I am thinking chili tomorrow sounds pretty good with it.

In a bowl chop the rib meat and shred any larger pieces. Add enough BBQ sauce to hold it together.  I used a new prune and sweet chili BBQ sauce I came up with for the filling.

Arrange little piles of rib meat on the pasta leaving about 2 inches in between each spot. Brush on egg wash on the side that does not have filling.

Fold over and cut in between each section. Pinch the sides making sure you have a tight seal.

I used a small glass cup to cut out rounds of raviolis. Boil in salted water for at least 4 minutes or so. Top with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Yummy.

Smoked BBQ Brisket Eggs Benedict

In my never-ending search of satisfying recipes for leftover BBQ I haven’t much discussed what I do at breakfast time.  I don’t eat breakfast during the week. Its only on the weekends that I personally sit down to nosh before noon.  Many times I will put together a quiche, a fritatta or some egg scramble to use up leftovers.  So with coffee (ok multiples of coffees) in hand this morning I made something near and dear to my heart Eggs Benedict.  I had no lemons, no english muffins, no ham or sausage to crumble. I did however have fresh limes, a whole lot of frozen brisket and whole wheat bread.  I made a New Years resolution to try to use what is on hand in my pantry and fridges much more than going out to the store to pick up things I already have reasonable substitutes for. …

Smoked BBQ Brisket Eggs Benedict

  • 4 slices Whole wheat bread toasted
  • 4 large eggs poached
  • 1 cup shredded bbq brisket (preferably from the deckle/point)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 8-10 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

White Pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl over simmering water, whisk egg yolks until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk in butter, a tablespoon at a time, until thickened; whisk in lime juice, and add white pepper to taste. Keep warm over hot water.

Assemble

Warm the brisket up in the microwave or oven until hot. Add 1/4 cup to each piece of toast.

Add a poached egg to each brisket layered toast.

Time for the hollandaise.

Here is a tip that has has saved my sauce many times: If for some reason your hollandaise looks curdled it means your sauce has broken. Don’t panic.. you can usually rescue it by adding a tablespoon of boiling hot water at a time then whisking vigorously until it returns to its sauce state.

Also you may have noticed this recipe does not call for any salt or cayenne pepper or any other spices (smoked paprika etc). Very simple reason- we heavily season our briskets before they are smoked. I have not found that any additional seasonings or spiced have been needed other than a touch of pepper. Yumminess coming up…………

Thats it. Well then of course you have to do the dishes. Ugh.

Diva Q Diablo Sauce – great for beef

Looking to jazz up your steaks and roasts? Here is a super flavorful recipe for a Diablo sauce. It is spicy and packed with mouth smacking goodness.

Diva Q Diablo Sauce

¼ cup finely minced onions
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 can beef consommé
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp corn starch
¼ cup water

Salt & pepper to taste

In a small pot on medium heat sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until onions are just tender. Whisk in the consommé, Worcestershire and Siriacha sauces. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a rolling boil. In a small bowl mix the corn starch with the water. Add the corn starch slurry to the sauce whisking quickly so that no lumps form. Boil sauce until thickened. Remove from heat. Serve with cuts of beef.

Winter Grilling Tips

I BBQ and grill all year round. Neither snow nor rain keeps me from getting my grill on. So with this in mind here are my top winter grilling tips as posted on my twitter account from today..

my backyard – getting ready to shovel so I could grill.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Use a @Thermapen all year round to know the temperature of your food.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Make sure to clean all of the snow off of the lids of your grills before your start

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Use tried and true easy recipes for winter grilling. This is not the time to be planning out a 10 course meal.

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ if you are looking you are not cooking .. seriously keep the lid closed people as much as you can

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ before using a gas grill in winter double check the hoses for any cracks.

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ Cleaning up in winter is a bit more challenging wipe up your drips immediately. Hard frozen fat is harder to clean

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Use recipes that call for just a single flip… Less maintenance of the food = happier winter grilling.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ You will go through more charcoal in winter. Use a good quality lump charcoal with low moisture level.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ get to know your grill and how to use the grill with indirect heat.You can grill larger cuts of meat in the winter

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Keep a safe path to your grills. Shovel out before you start. Nothing worse than cooking & dropping dinner in snow

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ Food takes longer to cook in the winter & grills can take longer to warm up. Give yourself extra time for dinner.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ It gets dark a lot earlier in winter invest in a grill light, outdoor patio lantern or other light source

Winter grilling tips #BBQ Try to put your grill in an area that is screened away from wind as much as possible.Wind is your biggest enemy.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ A snow pile makes a great beer holder.

Winter Grilling Tips #BBQ always check your propane tank before you start and have a backup

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ Food cools down a lot faster in winter (duh) have a warmed ready to go platter to bring food in quickly

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ Plastic is much more brittle in winter. Take it easy on those tools and knobs.

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ Never grill in your garage. Seriously death by carbon monoxide poising just bites

Winter Grilling tips #BBQ Avoid wearing scarves and stick to well fitting clothing like turtlenecks.

Winter grilling tips #BBQ Keep it super simple … Don’t make things on the grill that require a lot of basting.

My grills all lined up in the backyard. This was from 2 weeks ago.

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)

Recipes from Todays Canada AM show on winter grilling

It was a tropical BBQ in a frigid climate this morning on CTV Canada AM. Had the pleasure once again to be on Canada’s most watched national morning  show. Usually when I show up to do a grilling or BBQ segment there are lots of staff milling about but with -8 in the sun today it was a little quiet on the patio.  Seamus O’Regan had me laughing yet again. He loves anything with Jerk spices on it. Today’s menu was inspired by the tropics. They are super simple yummy &  easy recipes. Its for those of us who can’t get to the tropics for the sun but at least we can eat like we are in the tropics…..


Diva Q Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken cut into 6/8 pieces
  • Jamaican Jerk Rum Wet Rub (see recipe below)
  • 2 limes halved

Directions:

Rub jerk seasoning over chicken pieces. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat a barbecue grill to medium high. Grill chicken pieces direct, turning often until the temperature of the dark pieces is 180F and the light pieces is 165F. Remove pieces from the grill and top with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Diva Q Jamaican Jerk Pork Loin

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole pork loin
  • Jamaican Jerk Rum Wet Rub
  • 2 limes halved

Directions:

Rub jerk seasoning over pork loin. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat a barbecue grill to medium high. Sear each side of the pork loin direct then move to the indirect side and grill till the temperature of the loin reaches 160F and top with freshly squeezed lime juice. Rest at least 15 minutes prior to serving.

Diva Q Jamaican Jerk Rum Wet Rub:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion finely minced
  • 2-4 Scotch bonnet peppers finely minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 cup green scallions
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 small jalapenos finely minced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp Appleton Estates Rum

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. This wet rub is great on pork, chicken and salmon. Marinate larger pieces of meats overnight before grilling.

Diva Q Tropical Grilled Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe mangos seeded and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 whole poblano pepper seeded and halved
  • 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and finely minced
  • 1 red pepper finely minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 limes juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Canola oil to coat grates of BBQ

Directions:

Prepare the grill for medium high heat. Oil grates with canola oil. Grill mango slices directly turning often until just tender and lightly charred. Grill poblano turning often until softened and the skin has blistered. Cube the grilled mango and chop the poblano into small pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and serve with chicken pork or fish.

Diva Q Drunk Pineapple Dessert  (just for adults)

  • 1 whole pineapple sliced core removed
  • 4oz Sangsters Original Jamaican Rum Cream
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • Toasted almond slices

Directions:

Preheat a grill to medium high heat. Oil grates with canola oil. Grill slices of pineapple directly turning often until just tender and charred with grill marks. Cube the pineapple slices and divide between 4 martini glasses. Pour 1 oz of Jamaican Rum cream over pineapples in each glass. Garnish each glass with whipped cream and toasted almond slices.

Happy New Years Black Eyed Peas Rice Greens and Good Luck for 2011

Happy New Year!!

A couple years ago I was reading some friends posts and they all were talking about making black eyed peas & rice dish called Hoppin John and Collard greens for their New Years day menu. For me New Years day menus in the past usually meant something with heavy duty carbs to combat the post libations festivity pain from the revelry the night before. Since then for the last couple of years I have been making this meal hoping to fortify my good luck for the upcoming year. It is completely soul satisfying to me to make and consume this dish.

It starts the night before I soak a couple cups of black eyed peas in a large bowl of water. Then head off to whatever party you have been invited to celebrate with copious amounts of libations and ring in the new year.

Once you roll out of bed the next day (pounding headache aside) and grab a few glasses of water, pickle juice, and in my case a few bottles of Gatorade you need to get on with the meal. Please note this is also the time you should realize that you are no longer 19 and that jello shots combined with copious amounts of sparkling wine are never a good idea period.

There are countless variations on this recipe on the net. This can be modified in many ways by adding hot sauce, kielbasa, smoked sausages or pieces of ham.  Add what you like to customize it to your preferences.

I start with an onion sauteed with some evoo & 1/2 pound of bacon sliced into strips.

Add the black eyed peas drained from the water once the onions have softened and the bacon has rendered out some fat.  You can also use a ham hock instead of the bacon. I would add some bacon fat if just using the ham hock a tablespoon or two is a great addition.

Add a couple of bay leaves, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and a few pinches of dried thyme.  Also add 1 1/2 cups raw uncooked long grain brown rice. Season with salt & pepper.  Cover with water completely.

Simmer until the rice is cooked and the beans are soft enough to your liking.  I like to wait until the dish is creamy from the starches in the peas and rice.

Then its as simple as putting a lid on it removing from the heat and forgetting about them till dinner time.

Moving on to the greens. I ♥ collard greens. I order them whenever I see them on a menu. I don’t make them often enough.

I started with three large bunches of collard greens.  I trim them of all the hard stalks and tough veins. Then I chop them roughly and soak them for an hour. * Please note this is a great time to take a New Years Day nap. Recovery from the night before is still ongoing.

Once the greens have soaked thoroughly and all signs of grit is gone – rinse them once again  in cold water and strain them out.

At this point I add copious amounts of vegetable stock to a large pot and add something I love dearly….. Willowgrove Hill Farms Pork belly. This is my last piece until I visit the farm…. I have had the distinct pleasure to get to know the Hills this past year and they are just lovely people. I have been enjoying their pork all year.  This piece was about 2 pounds. I sliced it into three large pieces and added it to the stock pot.

Then its a matter of getting all the chopped greens into the pot as well as another sauteed onion, a few pinches of salt and a splash or two of apple cider vinegar.  Personally I like adding the vinegar to the cooking water (or pot likker as it is called in the South) versus adding it after.

Then its time to let the vegetable and time do its magic. Simmer for an hour then test the greens to make sure they are soft enough to your liking. Remove the large pieces of pork belly. Cool the belly until you can slice it into manageable bite size pieces.  I like to sautee the slices of belly until they are nice and crispy.

While you are waiting for the belly to crisp up you may also want to make a batch of cornbread to go with your meal…. Its a perfect addition and great to sopping up the collard green liquid.

Then its just a matter of putting together your New Years dinner plate. A pile of black eyed peas, a mound of collard greens topped with some crispy pieces of belly and a warm piece of cornbread.

This dish is apparently eaten to promote good fortune and prosperity for the New Year. I sure hope it works. :-) For other Lucky foods for the New Year check out this link from Epicurious.

All the best to you and yours for the upcoming year. May it bring you all peace prosperity good fortune, love and of course lots of BBQ!

Danielle

Competition Leftover Recipes Pulled Pork Tamale Pie & Smoked Chicken Pot Pie

In my attempt to utilize everything competition related out of my freezer I am trying to use up all those leftovers in yummy and creative ways. Last night I pulled out what I thought was 2 – 1lb packages of smoked chicken. What I ended up with was 1 lb of smoked chicken and 1 lb of pulled pork. I really need to label better. For the chicken it is going to be chicken pot pie a family favorite that I could make in my sleep. All of our kids like it so it makes it an easy go to weekday meal without having to face any dinnertime battles.

1 lb smoked chicken

So off to the puter  went trying to figure out what to make. I don’t eat my own pulled pork anymore if rarely. Just too much of it around to be at all appetizing to me. So I have to hide in something before i will eat it.

1 lb pulled pork

I came across a recipe for a Tamale pie and figured I would give it a go substituting pulled pork and a few other ingredients.

I started out with a base for both the chicken and the pulled pork.

  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

I sauteed them until soft then divided into two bowls.

For the Tamale Pie I added to the base the 1lb pulled pork and …….

  • 1/4 cup green salsa
  • 1 roasted poblano skin removed & diced
  • 2 jalapeños roasted skin removed & diced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cup homemade fire roasted tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Napoleon Fire Roasted Garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground piri piri
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

All of this was brought to a nice warm temperature over medium high heat. Just enough to defrost the corn then set aside.

For the crusts.

  • 1 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups grated old sharp cheddar

In a saucepan bring mix the water, cornmeal and salt together and simmer on medium high heat stirring constantly until the texture is thick and the consistency of oatmeal.  Add butter, cheese and paprika and mix until butter and cheese are melted.

In a 9 x 12″ glass pan spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom.

Then layer in the pulled pork mixture:

Top with the remaining cornmeal mixture plus more shredded sharp cheese.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour – 1hour 15 minutes.

Cool for at least 15-20 minutes then serve.

————————————————————

For the Chicken pot pie I follow the same recipe I have been using forever. From better homes and gardens their Deep Dish Pot pie recipe has been used by at least a couple of  generations in our family.  I make  modifications every time I make it. I didn’t have any half & half in the fridge so I substituted milk, plus I used corn starch instead of flour for the thickener. Tonight I used store bought puff pastry for the crust. My freezer always has puff pastry in it. I believe it is one of those staples every household should have stocked.

Both meals are super easy family friendly food. We ate the chicken pot pie for dinner and the tamale pulled pork pie is for tomorrow. The chicken pot pie freezes really well and we always make 2 at a time.

The freezer emptying out program will continue throughout the winter Ill be sure to post more leftover competition meats recipes.

Enjoy!

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 !

Thrill of the Grill Video from TV Cogeco

Ill be catching the blog up later this week. Things have been really busy since travelling to BC. Just got sent this recent video and thought to share it with you all!!

Plus make sure to tune in this Thursday August 12 to BBQ Pitmasters at 10pm EST 9C

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