The Season for giving, Christmas 2013, Operation BBQ Relief, Diva Q, Charity


Tis the Season for giving. An organization run by people in the BBQ community has now given out more than 500,000 meals. When you are thinking about your Donations whether they are Corporate or Personal please consider Operation BBQ Relief.  Operation BBQ Relief is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation founded in May 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts. Also for this weekend only up Big Poppas Smokers will match contributions up to $5000.00 US – make sure you mark donations King of the Smoker.

Operation BBQ Relief


Homemade BBQ Rubs, CHristmas BBQ Giving, Diva Q Christmas


Each year we hold the annual Dimovski Christmas party. It is a tradition that we love. I love getting together with our friends for some festive cheer and fun.

I like to give people a tray of cookies or something festive as a parting gift after each party. This year I made a few batches of BBQ rubs and filled up mason jars. Attached a tag with some rustic  jute twine and done.  You could also attach an easy recipe that you love using the rubs. Easy gift to give !!


Here are some of my everyday use BBQ rub recipes:

Cajun Rub

Chicken Rub

Beef Rub 

Here is my go to – all purpose Pork & Chicken Rub – the yield is 2 cups and is ideal for doubling up.

BBQ Tag, BBQ Christmas, Homemade BBQ gifts, BBQ Rub Jars


Looking for something homemade for Christmas? How about giving some bbq rubs…. Some of the best gifts are not store bought but thoughtful homemade presents …

Mason jars with tight fitting lids make a great place to start. Available everywhere and in many sizes …..

Simply assemble some of your favorite recipes for rubs with fresh spices….

Add a nice recipe card…lots of templates available online..

Rub Recipes:
Diva Q Cajun Rub
Diva Q Basic Beef Rub
Diva Q Basic Chicken Rub
Kansas City Rib Rub
Memphis Style Rib Rub
Carolina BBQ Rub
Brisket Rub

Top the jars with some cute flame ribbon

Happy Gifting !!


I have a well noted serious love affair for my thermapens. They make it onto my Christmas giving list each year.

I have 3 of them. One is red, another is orange and the newest is pink. One stays in the trailer during competition season. One is always at the house and the other stays in my purse. You never know when you may want to temp something. Also in 5 years I have only had to change the batteries once. I use them often they have been through a lot and I am impressed with their durability and endurance.

What? You don’t know what a thermapen is?  Here is the breakdown right from their website:

The Super-Fast™ Thermapen™ has been a favorite among restaurant chains, health inspectors and quality managers worldwide. Hundreds of thousands are in use. The clever fold-away probe and the simple pocket design replace more costly and bulky handheld thermometers while using the same professional thermocouple technology. This new generation Thermapen™ introduces a robust, splash-proof design with molded-in seals to protect the thermometer from wet hands and kitchen splashes.

Speed & Accuracy
Even more accurate than before and slightly faster! Our proprietary circuit yields accuracies better than ±0.7°F. That includes all errors! (many competitors don’t include the probe error in their spec.) Each unit comes with a NIST-Traceable certificate of calibration showing test results for the individual thermometer. Resolution is now 0.1° over the full range. Improvements in the probe technology now yield a blazing fast speed of 3 seconds to a full temperature reading.

No Cables! 
The components most likely to fail in a commercial thermometer are the cable and its connector. Also, the typical handheld meter and probe combination requires two hands. What do you do with the cable when you’re through with it? The competition want you to wrap it around the meter, which is time consuming and a natural trap for grime and bacteria! The one-handed Thermapen™ eliminates frayed cables, snags, germ traps and wasted time while freeing your second hand.

Simple Operation
Just open the probe and the Thermapen™ comes on. Close it and it shuts off. No buttons or switches to catch germs, confuse staff and cause errors. Configuration settings in the battery compartment allow management to easily set the Thermapen™ for °C or °F, read in tenths or whole degrees (0.1° or 1°), and disable the auto-off for continuous readings till the probe is closed. Although likely to never be needed, a calibration trim button fine-tunes the Thermapen™ calibration at a single temperature such as an ice-bath.

Incredible Value 
The closest commercial competition for the Thermapen™ sells for about $200. Other meter and probe combinations sell for up to $250! In most cases, you can buy a whole new Thermapen™ for about the price the competition charges for just a replacement probe. Compare speed, convenience, accuracy and the new durability of the Splash-Proof Super-Fast™ Thermapen™ and you’ll see how you can save significant money while improving your own product quality.

BBQ friends and I talk on twitter back and forth through the day. One of them Wayne Brown from Big Wayners BBQ Blog.

You can find him on facebook, on twitter and his own website. We finally got to meet at the Jack this year and we had a blast:

Photo credit: Wayne Brown

We talked about thermapens and a new shipment he had received and I said they really need to come out with one with flames. I mean yes they have the beautiful assortment of colors but flames would just be awesome. Within minutes Wayne sent this picture back to me:

I want this.


I think thermapen needs to make this happen. Send them a tweet if you agree! Post on their facebook!


There are lots of great grills and items on the market for BBQ’ers everywhere here are my picks for gifts under $100.00

Weber Smokey Joe Gold

With it’s ease of transportation its one of the best values for under $100.00

  • Lid lock for carrying, doubles as lid holder
  • Heavy-duty plated steel cooking grate
  • 14.5 inch diameter cooking area
  • Weber cookbook

Firewire Flexible Grilling Skewers

Each skewer is 30? long from tip to tip. Made of flexible stainless steel and are dishwasher safe.

They are available in Canada at Ontario Gas BBQ two to a package $14.99 CA and many other retailers throughout the US.

They come with a very generous warranty


They can come in any size you want. I use them regularly perfect for indirect grilling!


Works well lights  charcoal fast

Sauce & Rub gift packs!!

I love experimenting with rubs and sauces here are some links to rubs and sauce companies from the past year that I really enjoyed. I have all of these brands in my cupboard at any one time. I know I would love a gift basket of rubs and sauces at any time (Please Santa I have been very good this year :-)

Smoky Mountain Smokers

Butcher BBQ Rubs

Plowboys BBQ

Strodes BBQ

Joey Mac`s Amber Que

Sweet Baby Rays

Collins Creek BBQ Rub

4 Legs Up BBQ

Dinosaur BBQ

Buster Rhinos

Stubbs BBQ


Blues Hog

Cimarron Docs

Smoking Guns BBQ

Dizzy Pig BBQ

Obie Cues BBQ

Lambert`s Sweet Swine O Mine BBQ

3 Eyz BBQ

** Please note these are just a few of the rubs. There are so many on the market that are great that experimenting with some is just a great way to play wit your food!1

BBQ Sample Days

I have to tell you this is a great way to get to try a lot of fun BBQèd items. If you live in Ontario Buster Rhinos BBQ this year is doing multiples of BBQ Sample days. This would make an excellent gift.

Artisan Steak Tasting from The Oliver Ranch Company

This is the gift that just keeps on giving. I love red meat. Ok I love meat period but earlier this year I got the opportunity to sit down to an Artisan Steak Tasting with Carrie Oliver CEO of the Oliver Ranch Company. It is fascinating and quite tasty to try different steaks of this caliber. From their website:

Choose your favorite cut and we’ll send you steaks from 4 different natural or organic ranches, each specializing in a different breed, diet, geography, & aging technique. We’ll also send you our Artisan Beef Institute™ tasting guide and tips for hosting an Artisan Steak Tasting in your home.

Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter  Basques All Natural Lump Charcoal »Weber Cubes

These three are among some of the easiest and most durable items I use. I have tried many chimney starters over the past few years and by far the Weber is the most durable and easiest to use. My charcoal of Choice is Basques all Natural Lump charcoal made from Sugar Maple trees. The easiest lighting is made simple by using weber cubes and all of these can be purchased together for less than $100.00

Montana Grills Crosscut Grilling Planks

I like using these planks a lot. I find they give much more flavor to the food you are eating versus a traditionally cut plank. Inexpensive to use they also can be used as serving platters for a rustic themed BBQ dinner.

BBQ Books

BBQ books are some of my favorite things to read and this past year my library certainly expanded as well I went back to some tried and true books that I am still working through.  Plus others I just enjoyed this year about food in general …Here are some of my favs :

BBQ Chips, Pellets, and wood Dusts.

This one is a really big favorite of mine.  Four years ago my Mom for Christmas went to a BBQ store and bought one of every single type of wood chip, wood dust, and BBQ pellets (sample packs) the store had. It was the gift that kept on giving. I loved trying each of the different woods and experimenting with different flavor profiles for smoke. With all of the different brands on the market this is a really fun way to give a gift that can provide a whole lot of fun.  Please note if you are shipping wood products they must adhere to all regulations in regards to the transportation of wood across state lines and provinces/ Countries.  Here are just a few manufacturers of woods and pellets I use and play with:

Traeger Canada


BBQr’s Delight



You know everyone has their favorite BBQ tool item or even grill. Along the way you learn some tips some tricks and things that just help you get better.

A couple of years ago Duff Dixon of Ontario Gas BBQ’s gave me one of the best BBQ presents ever. …. I had heard about them. I had seen pictures.. I will admit I was a bit skeptical of their tales of reliability their speed and their accuracy.  In the end it all turned out to be true.  It was better than I had ever hoped.

It was my very first Thermapen. I will admit it was love at first use. It was shiny pretty fast as all heck and darn it all it was RED!!!

There is an ongoing debate amongst thermapen owners which color is the fastest (I still think the RED one is the fastest!).  Funny since this is the history on the colors of thermapens:

Originally, we manufactured the Thermapen in gray only. Later we added all the food-safety color-coding versions. Many people in the food industry use color coding to prevent cross contamination by dedicating tools to specific food products. That way, a knife, cutting board or thermometer that is used for say, raw poultry, won’t end up contaminating fresh vegetables like salad greens.

That was the reason we did multiple colors for the Thermapen. Of course most people buy a color variety simply according to personal preference. Even in commercial applications it seems most people buy colors so they can quickly tell who belongs to which Thermapen (blue is Fred’s, yellow is Cathy’s, etc…)

In 2006 we added black and orange which aren’t even on the color coding system. If you have a color preference that we don’t make yet, email Randy and we’ll keep track of your vote.

Standard Color Code:
Red = raw meat, raw beef and pork.
Blue = raw seafood
Yellow = raw poultry
Brown = cooked meats
Green = produce
White = dairy or bakery items

There is such a following of these superfast digital thermometers that Thermoworks has recently developed a new blog dedicated to all things Thermapen .

Here is a great opportunity from their site:

Enter to win a FREE Thermapen for yourself and RT301WA Pocket Thermometers for TWO of your friends! Just go to the Sweepstakes Tab on our Thermapen Fan Page and enter to win.

Also for those of you on Twitter click the link below for an additional chance to win one of their spanking brand new Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen!!!

They took their original Super Fast Thermapen and they made it even better!! Here is a great video of them on Youtube!!

  • 3-second readings!
  • Improved accuracy and durability
  • Water-resistant design
  • Biomaster anti-bacterial additive
  • °F to °C reconfigurable
  • 0.1° resolution full range to 572°F
  • Auto on/off—no buttons!
  • 1,500 hour battery life

Made in England

You can follow the fine folks at Thermapen on twitter and on facebook!!

Also for those of you who are ALton Brown Fans here is a video featuring my favorite steak Porterhouse and Thermapen!!