Posts Tagged ‘Diva Q BBQ’
Hogs on the Hill
2003 Bladensburg Rd NE
(at N New York Ave)
Washington, DC 20018
Ever been at a traffic light with the windows open and get a waft of something delicious in the air? It happened to me after leaving Leon’s BBQ in MD and still enroute to Pork Barrel BBQ. Sitting there trying to figure out where my GPS was taking me and like bloodhound I started sniffing the air. It was BBQ. Not 50ft from where I was at the lights I spotted the sign above. I knew I had to stop so I pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot and walked across the road to this take out BBQ joint. I was really glad I did. I will say though this was the very first time I have ever ordered BBQ through a bullet proof glass window. Maybe I was in a bad section of DC? I have not idea but it was definitely a first for me. Brilliant orange building – very small with no seating. All take out.
They had a huge pile of hickory in the back. I could taste it in the ribs I ordered. They had a great smoked flavor and had great texture. The rub was very mild, and pleasant to eat. They were served dry. The not so friendly girl at the counter (who looked bored out of her tree) asked if I wanted medium or hot sauce to go with that and the chicken. I go both.
The fat had rendered nicely through the ribs. I tried the sauces and they were really gloppy and overly sweet on the medium and not at all hot for the one they labelled hot. I didn’t like either of them.
The chicken was moist but it didn’t have much flavor. The collard greens were really mushy as was the bland overcooked mac & cheese. Nothing memorable here. The cornbread other than being yellow and moist didn’t have anything special about it. Meh.
Not sure if I would go back. Surly cashier meh food-decent ribs. I may if it was convenient I would order just the ribs – but nothing really spectacular here. Smelled great though.
9448 Lanham Severn Rd
Lanham-Seabrook, MD 20706
I ordered some brisket, chicken and collard greens with some beans. I tried to order ribs as well but they were not ready yet at lunchtime. I was offered the option of whole wheat or white bread. I opted for the white bread thinking that since this was a franchise from Texas I would be getting some great food.
I should have known when I asked them what kind of wood they used and they told me it just came in a bag. Um? They brought out a piece. Very friendly people actually. They had just opened the franchise about 3 weeks prior. They are new – really I get it. I also asked what kind of smoker they used. They could not tell me. ugh.
Still optimistic I sat down and waited for my order to be brought over.
It did and I knew. I knew in my gut this was not going to be good just by looking at it and smelling it.
Sadly I was right. The brisket was really overdone. Crumbling apart all moisture gone in some parts and the texture of rough leather in others. In addition some of it was also cut with the grain making it next to impossible to get a bite off. The smell was a very bitter smoke. Not pleasant at all. The chicken was overcooked and while seasoned lightly by the looks of it – the consistency and flavor was of dry cardboard.
The sauce was still warm as they had made it that morning. It had a really nice balance of sweet and tangy. However even the sauce could not save the brisket or the chicken.
All hope was not lost though. The pork rinds were excellent. Then came the best two items from this place. The beans were amazing. Absolutely amazing. I could have eaten a gallon of them. They were perfectly cooked just deliciously creamy on the inside and just the right texture of tender. The bean sauce was not overly sweet and had some light kick to it. With one bite I was instantly reminded of the beans from Texas that I had loved on my last visit there. then came the collard greens. Beautiful texture, aromatic liquor with a great balance of vinegar and sweet. Delicious!!
So not all was lost on the visit and I am sure these people will get the hang of making some good BBQ in the future. I sure hope they do because Ill have to stop back for more beans and greens. It may just take some time to get the hang of it.
MD/Virginia/North Carolina BBQ Road trip
I have been wanted to get back to North Carolina for a while now. I really wanted to get to some of places on the North Carolina BBQ Society Historic Barbecue Trail. I have this underlying fear that if I don’t see some of these places soon they may not be around too much longer. Each place I went in North Carolina was very unique. They are all very individual save for vinegar. Vinegar was the only constant in the trip. Everything else changed from location to location. On the way to NC I stopped at a few places in Maryland and Virginia as well.
The Trip started at a place that was recommended to me – over the next couple of weeks Ill write about every place I have been.
1310 South Main Street Mt. Airy, MD 21771
They have a deep understanding of all types of BBQ from Competition to Restaurant and everything in between. They even organize their own BBQ competition each year SWINESTASTIC.
Fun license plates cover many of the surfaces. Pig lights, wood beams and a generally comfortable feeling round out the vibe. There is a patio out front for more seasonal warmer months.
The food is all cooked with hickory and oak on a Southern Pride.
The inside décor is a mixture of license plates, BBQ posters and lots of wood. It’s a comfortable place perfect for date night every day eating and families. The place was getting full of happy looking folks all eating lots of BBQ slowly smoked on heir Southern pride using Oak. I watched plate after plate of BBQ being delivered to tables. All of it looked great. These folks have earned some serious accolades for their food and their legendary Black Raspberry Grillin’ Sauce taking 1st place at the National BBQ Association (NBBQA) competition.
We got to try all 4 of their awesome sauces-
Sweet & Tangy Grillin Sauce
Ol’ Red Grillin Sauce
Hot & Spicy Grillin sauce
Black Raspberry Grillin’ Sauce
They were all good. On the advice of our server we even mixed the black raspberry with the hot & spicy and it was the bomb.
We ordered an assortment of food-brisket, pork, ribs, sausage and their smoked turkey. Nothing comes slathered with sauce and I sure did appreciate that. All of it was moist and delicious save for the turkey. The turkey was sliced and looked like it had been grilled after. Unfortunately it was on the dry side but still had good flavor. The meat on the ribs pulled off nicely but was not overdone. The brisket was tender and juicy with a terrific pull and chew. Seasonings were restrained on all the meats. They really did a great job of letting the meat and smoke flavor shine through. I really like the fact they served all of their sauces on the side. It was a fantastic grouping. I can see myself eating here again in the future. I sure hope to get back and I would not hesitate to recommend this place to anyone.
Sides we chose were mac & cheese, hush puppies, cornbread, loaded baked potato, and coleslaw. The slaw was beautifully crisp and lightly dressed, the hush puppies were nicely done with a crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, the cornbread had a subdues sweetness to it and the loaded baked potato was great packed with goodness. I just don’t get the texture of the mac and cheese. the cheese sauce was amazing but the pasta was so soft it was mush. I asked the owner about it and he says thats the way people like it. Personally I like texture to my pasta.
Another thing I just have to mention about Carterque is the people that work there. From the front door, to the bar area, to the waiter to the owner these people are uber friendly. Not in that fake crappy kind of way these people really do go out of their way to make you feel comfortable- genuinely glad you are there.
Terrific place to go, delicious BBQ and all around awesome.
Carterque on Facebook
Carterque on Twitter
1620 Bayview Ave
Recently I was in Toronto for a visit. Decided to head to Hwy 61 with some friends to try their BBQ. I had heard and read some very mixed reviews about it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there.
The decor feels right. What I mean by that is the place feels like a BBQ joint from the South. Tucked into a storefront on Bayview Ave its got great curb appeal with flames and barn boards. The inside is even better. Lots of blues (of course) , Jazz and other music posters , comfortable seating upstairs and down with a couple of friendly bars you want to saunter up to and have a beer. They have a terrific selection of craft beers.
I spoke with the General Manager Matt and asked if I could see their pits. He was really accommodating and let me see their kitchen and their pits. They use 2 Cookshack Electric smokers in the kitchen and a HUGE custom made 2 ton Ole Hickory in the back. They use organic apple wood for all their smoking.
As I headed to sit down for lunch I asked if could try a sample platter with my friends and a few of their sauces. What happened in the next hour or so was a bit of a blur. Ribs. Lots of ribs, from their original signature side ribs (my fav) to their Dakota beef ribs ( they had a little heat to them) and then their Mississippi back ribs . Bourbon glazed pit chicken – super moist and flavorful, tender but not too tender brisket that yielded well to a snap test and had a lightly smoky flavor, Texas style sausage – that had a great snap, great texture to it and a beautiful scent of smoke plus the best onion rings I have ever had anywhere. Alongside of all this was their sauces… 61 BBQ, Dakota, Memphis, and a really unique creole sauce I could have drunk a cup full – it was so good. I didn’t even capture a before picture the BBQ enticed us all so much. I think that says a lot. The aroma was captivating. The food was gorgeous to look at. Nothing was over sauced or shellacked so much that the meat didn’t come through. Here’s the bones:
Seriously as soon as they bottle this stuff I will buy a case or 3 Hwy 61 Creole Sauce.
The meats mentioned above were all incredibly well done. We liked it all. – The pulled pork was however not my favorite. I found it to be on the mushy end and not all that appealing. It was also lacking flavor. I like bark. I like bark on pork especially since it captures so much flavor. This certainly would not keep me from going back again.
I talked to Matt about the restaurant a bit. I asked him where they learned to BBQ – he told me that the crew had done their own thing but also had gone to learn from a couple of folks who know BBQ inside and out because it literally is in their blood…. Mike Mills yes.. that Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ fame and his lovely daughter Amy Mills. They all had gone to the OnCue and business of BBQ course.
Matt also talked a bit about the challenges they had with bringing such a large smoker into the downtown Toronto area. The amount of challenges they had to overcome was huge. From the smokestack length to the building they had to create behind the restaurant to accommodate a hand wash station and prep table were just a couple of obstacles. They have overcame them all and made all of the health inspectors, fire departments and councils happy.
This was a really good BBQ experience. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The warm hospitality, the great ambiance and the kick ass Q all led to some very happy people with full bellies who are already thinking of making a repeat visit. There are a whole lot of other things on their menu I still want to try. Kudos to the crew at HWY 61 BBQ. They make some of the best BBQ I have ever tried in Ontario. I’ll be back for sure.
I love stuffed burgers. They are like Christmas packages full of surprises. There are thousands of stuffed burger recipes out there. With good reason .. burger consumption is continuing to rise throughout North America. Economical and easy to make we just love burgers.
This isn’t so much aa recipe as it is a method of how I make stuffed burgers.
start with your ground beef. I use ground brisket wherever possible but use whatever you prefer. The final mixture should be 80/20. I have found any more % fat – the stuffing comes out too easily.
Place your ground beef on a cutting board. Here I have made mine into balls that give e a general idea how many burgers I will be making. Each was the size of a hardball.
Squish them down into one large rectangle shaped patty. Cover with plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin. This really does help make sure they are all an even thickness.
Using a pizza peel makes cutting easy. Much easier than dragging a knife through. Figure out how many burgers you want. I decided on 8. Enough to feed my family and also provide lunches the following day.
Then take inventory of your fridge. You can go out and buy foie gras and lobster if you would like but I need to get rid of some stuff in my fridge.
I love this stuff. We always have it on hand.
Bacon, jalapeno, mushroom, red onion and to bring it all together in one creamy package Philadelphia Herb and garlic cream cheese.
Spread out a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on one patty for each of the burgers
Add some sauteed mushrooms
Add some sauteed onions, roughly chopped cooked bacon and finely minced jalapenos
Generously sprinkle the burgers with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.
Time for the assembly. I use a slotted fish spatula. Its easy to side under the ground beef and flip it over. Then seal the edges pressing them together and molding the burger shape.
Then its time for the grill at medium high heat. I used my Big Green egg for today’s burger cook. I also used Basques an all natural lump charcoal.
Cook until the internal temperature is to your liking. The recommended minimum temperature for ground beef is 160F
These burgers hold up well even with all the stuffing. You won’t have a lot of leakage. Using the rolling pin really helps you make sure that you have a uniform thickness.
Lots of flavor and great texture. This is a favorite of our house.
Make sure you let them rest for 10 minutes after they come off the grill.
Well isn’t a recipe named Savory Corn Bread & Pulled Pork Bread Pudding sound lovely. It could also be called what to do with the odd bits in the fridge that need to be used up and not thrown out in an effort to reduce our household waste. Sadly that doesn’t sound nearly as attractive.
My grandmother was infamous for never throwing out a piece of bread a stale bit of cake or anything food related that could be salvageable. My love of all bread puddings comes from her ability to turn those scraps with a few other add ins into something delicious. I still remember one of her bread puddings with particular fondness that was made up of a horrible dry spice cake and some leftover chocolate donuts. To this day it was the best bread pudding I have ever had and I have yet to be able to figure out how to recreate it.
In my fridge we always have the odd bits like a piece of veg or meat. This week however I needed to come up with something for these ingredients:
2 loaves of cornbread from Big Bone BBQ Barrie (I really like their cornbread its got a great texture and flavor)
1/2 a large red pepper that had seen better days
and a baggie of some not so moist pulled pork
This blog entry is not so much a recipe but a solution and a method for getting rid of some odd bits easily.
I decided it would be either a quiche or a savory bread pudding. This was narrowed down rather quickly when I checked the time I had to make it and my not so great track record with making a decent pastry.
I finely chopped up the onion and red pepper- sauteed in a bit of canola oil and added dried parsley salt & pepper. I also added a couple cloves of garlic finely minced.
Next up I chopped the cornbread into cubes and tossed all of this into a large bowl with the pulled pork and the sauteed vegetables.
Next up was the custard base. I used 6 eggs and 11/2 cups of milk whisked together. (If you had some leftover shredded cheese it would be an excellent add in as well) Pour all of this over the cornbread mixture and allow it to soak in.
Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare an oven proof dish. I sprayed mine with crisco canola spray.
Assemble the mixture in the dish
Bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set and you have achieved your preferred level of crispiness on top. I like crispy tops on bread puddings. I like the crunchy bits.
It was a delicious way to use up the leftovers. We served it with a simple salad and dinner was good to go. Happy that it didn’t get thrown out or wasted.
America’s Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home
America’s Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home
Both of these BBQ gentlemen have put out multiples of books before such as:
This one is all about RIBS… Delicious…mouthwatering …goodness that is ribs. No boiling needed……….
Ribs is the one thing everyone absolutely loves to make on the grill. I get asked more questions about ribs than any other meat.
They cover off all types of ribs in this book: Pork, Beef, Bison, Mutton and lamb. The recipes are varied and there are step by step instructions on how to make ribs that will make you look like a Champion right in your own backyard! Plus desserts & side dishes .. really yummy side dishes like this corn recipe:
I really enjoy looking through BBQ books that have lots of great but not perfect pictures. Completely staged pictures with perfect drops of sauce really don’t float my boat. I prefer pictures that showcase real BBQ the not so perfect kind. I love the fact that real pictures are used in this book. There are lots of great pictures used from a variety of BBQ Contests and gatherings. Many people from around the BBQ circuit and BBQ Legends like Pat Burke.
There is a community feel to this book that is terrific. Lots of contributions from many folks in the BBQ community. In addition there are a ton of recipes that anyone from the inexperienced to the competitor will really use. The book will be available for sale May 1, 2012 . I think it would make an ideal gift for any avid griller and a wonderful Fathers day gift.
I am putting this in the category of where have you been all my life.
This is a fully biased post. Be forewarned I am in love with this stuff. I will be gushing and oohhing and awwwing all over this stuff. IT freaking rocks.
I got an email from Texas Pepper Jelly owner Craig Sharry. I had met this gentleman a while back and he had asked me if I would like to try his products. Now they have been around a while but I just had not gotten around to ordering some. Craig has been working on these recipes forever. Nice to see such an amazing product on the market. I have seen there logo and products on the competition circuit and I had read about them. I jumped on the opportunity. Craig sent me a nice assortment of his items. Please note he did not in any way pay for this endorsement. This is just from what I have tasted.
As it is March break I have a bit more time to play on the grills. Today has been designated wing day. 12 lbs of wings to play with.
24 designated to try these 4 items.
I used my Traeger Texas style with oak and hickory pellets for the wings today.
Half were lightly coated in Obie Cues Double Strength Garlic Pepper (another product I love)
The other half was coated with Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head Rub (this stuff is the bomb) – this will be on another blog post late this week.
They were grilled for 1 hour at 275F (I prefer them crispy)
I then took 6 wings for each sample. I used 1/4 cup of jelly on each batch then returned them to the grill for 10 minutes to set.
The colors were incredible. Love how sticky they apply to wings.
SO how did they taste?????
The Cherry by far was my favorite. I love the lingering heat on all of them and the flavors are great. Surprisingly they are not overly sweet – certainly they have more depth to them than I expected. I have tried the peach and the apple on pork chops as well and they are delicious. The strawberry was ok- but not my favorite on wings. I think Ill have it on ice cream next as it was recommended to me.
My advice. You need to get some. Really. They are excellent. I can’t wait to try them on more items like ribs, a stuffed baked brie and more!
Thanks Craig. You made my wing day a blast. Awesome product. Keep up the great work and winning GC’s!!
I love Texas. Hopefully this year I will be able to go back and eat at some of the legendary BBQ joints. For now though I spend a lot of time over at Full Custom Gospel BBQ reading his reviews and experiences. These ribs were inspired by my last trip there.
One of the challenges that I always have is finding beef ribs that have enough meat on them. It seems that outside of a few locations this is quite a daunting task. A friend of mine Mike the owner of Big Bone BBQ came to my rescue. His restaurant serves up BBQ Beef ribs once a week at Big Bone BBQ Barrie. I got some from him and I was all set.
Removing the membrane was easy with a clean bar towel. Better grip than a paper towel for this tough membrane.
I also used a spoon to scrape off the large pockets of fat. Whatever you do though don’t discard the fat. Put it aside into a small saucepan and Ill get to it in a bit. After a bit of trimming I had about 2 cups of fat and beef bits.
Decided to keep the rub super simple only 4 ingredients. Granulated garlic, granulated onion, Morton’s Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper.
3/4 c Salt
3/4 c Pepper
1/2 cup garlic
Generously rubbed (I used about half of the rub and stored the rest for future use) they headed to the grill at 225F . I used mesquite pellets for these.
Then I got around to making the mop. The first step was to render out some beef fat from the trimmings. This measured out to be 1/4 cup when finished. You could also add 1/2 bottle of beer to this Mop if so desired. In addition pay attention to the sodium levels on the beef broth. Some are horrendously high. I used a reduced sodium broth and opted not to use Soy Sauce in this recipe.
2 c beef broth
1/2 c Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c Apple Cider vinegar
1/4 c Rendered Beef fat
1/2 bottle BV beef upper ( approx 1.5 oz – you can also substitute Kitchen Bouquet)
4 tbsp Tiger Sauce
2 tbsp Mustard powder
2 tbsp dried onion flakes
Bring all of the Mop ingredients to a simmer. Set aside.
About 4 hours in I started Mopping every 15 minutes. I wanted to wait until the ribs had developed a very thick bark (crust).
After two additional hours mopping every 15 minutes the ribs were done. Rested them covered tightly in foil for 15 minutes. They were dark and crusted over and absolutely delicious. Some of the ugliest ribs I have ever made and it just didn’t matter. Paired with cornbread, cheesy pasta casserole and green beans they made an excellent meal.
I love a good grilled salad. I find that any grilling component combined with greens typically keeps me interested in eating something of the vegetable variety. This recipe is a riff on a friend of mines salad. Every year we host a potluck Christmas party. My friends Colleen, George and their 3 amazing kids come when they can. Colleen makes a terrific version of this salad with boiled potatoes (skin on) and sauteed chorizo with lots of parsley, salt, pepper and EVOO. I love how the paprika comes out of the chorizo and stains the potatoes in her version. Often you will find at this said party her dish is always pushed to the very back of the buffet table. I find that this inhibits our guests from eating too much and well I am left with more leftovers. Totally Selfish. Yes I know but heck at least I am honest about my strategic buffet placement. I have always had a hard time sharing her salad. It is great eaten hot or cold as is my version. Use whatever chorizo you can find. This was made with a mild Spanish version from PC.
Grilled Potato & Chorizo Salad
1.5 lb Small Potatoes ( I used PC Brand)
3 cup Flat Parsley leaves
3/4 cup Queso Fresco
1/2 cup Cold Pressed Olive Oil
3 tbsp Meyer Lemon Juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
generous amounts of salt & pepper
In a small glass bowl mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.
Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
Slice small potatoes in half and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and toss with the 2 tbsp EVOO and a generous sprinkling of salt & Pepper.
Grill the potatoes and the chorizo for 5 – 10 minutes on each side until the potatoes have crisped on the outside. Slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces. Toss the potatoes and the vinaigrette together. Add the chorizo to the potatoes. Serve tossed with the parsley and top with the Queso Fresco. Add salt & pepper to taste. Yummy cold or hot.