Posts Tagged ‘Diva Q favorites’

A few new favorite #BBQ things

These are a few of my new favorite things from this past year!

Colins Creek Barbecue Savory Pecan Rub

I love this rub. Its really an exciting blend of spices that pairs well with so many meats and seafood. Chris Jones Pitmaster from Colins Creek gave me a bottle to sample earlier in the year and I liked it so much I got a case of it. (love the rib rub too!)

Plowboys has long been a favorite rub company of mine. This year they came out with Fin and Feather. Delicious on lots of items from seafood to chicken.

Also a Jerk rub thats awesome !

You can get these items at Great Lakes BBQ Supply Company~! I have shopped with them many times and their customer service is top notch!

Jamaica Pimento Charcoal

I picked up a case of Jamaica Pimento Wood Charcoal to play with earlier this year from Ontario Gas Barbecue
For the first time in the Canada, PIMENTO WOOD CHARCOAL!
While I will always use Basques all Natural Hardwood Charcoal for day to day use it is fun to play with unusual charcoals to add a different flavor layer to your food!

Made from the wood of the Jamaican Allspice tree, this lump charcoal is all natural.
No fillers or chemical binders! Lump charcoal burns cleanly with no chemical after taste.

These 9 lb. boxes are a 50/50 blend of Pimento Wood and Log Wood. Why the blend? Production of Pimento Wood Charcoal is minimal. A scarce resource! Most street vendors in Jamaica use this combination of charcoals to give that unique taste to their dishes. If you crave original Jamaican Jerk, Pimento Wood & Log Wood completes the authentic island flavour.

The Charcoal Room at Ontario Gas BBQ is so much fun. They are always trying to bring new and interesting charcoal.

Strube briskets are delicious. Kobe-Style Wagu Beef. Strube Ranch is a family owned and operated business with 100 years experience raising beef. I had a lot of fun playing with these briskets this year. Available from Big Poppas Smokers.

Onyx Oven from the BBQ Guru

My competition equipment lineup changed a bit this year. An Onyx Oven was added thanks to the folks at BBQ guru. I have had so many enjoyable BBQ experiences with it. The very first time in competition it scored a 180 (perfect KCBS) in brisket. Love using it. Love the fact that paired with the Digi Q it can run on very little charcoal for hours. It helps make great meat!!

Custom heavy duty fabricated rib racks for my Traeger. I got them as a gift for Christmas last year and used them throughout the year. They are so much better than any other rib rack I have owned. A lot easier to clean as well. Available at my favorite Brantford Butcher Strodes by fabricator Mark Offenhammer. These are a wise BBQ investment.


Global Chef Tweezers

These tweezers were given to me by my Sister in Smoke Angie Quaale from Well Seasoned. They were awesome for box adjustments while competing.

Cast Iron Pig Soap Dish – Business Card holder.

Shelly from Desperado’s BBQ told me about this awesome business card holder from the Mast general Store in South Carolina. By the end of the day every BBQ’er around had snapped them up in a flash. Perfect for any BBQ lover.

Paella Pan

Love using this on my charcoal grills. So much fun.

Southern Style All Natural Unbleached White Grits from Old Mill of Guilford NC.

Grits and BBQ go together like PB&J. Love these for their texture and flavor!!  I always thought I hated grits until a few years back I had real grits instead of instant. I have been hooked ever since.

I love Pork. So why not use a Pork that’s chock full of Omega 3 & raised without antibiotics .  Willowgrove Hill has terrific pork and pork products.

Char-Broil America Grills. I received this cookbook from Chef Barry Martin earlier this year at the NBBQA convention in South Carolina. I adore this guy.

His enthusiasm for all things grilling and BBQ is wonderful to behold. This book is full of mouthwatering recipes and pictures you want to eat they look so good.

Little sugar piggie sprinkles/quins  for sweet stuff. Why ? They are pigs. They are cute and they are adorable. Plus add them to some pig candy bacon cupcakes and it rocks. Mine came in a three pack with chickens and cows too!

Firefly sweet tea bourbon

Deliciously indulgent. This stuff is perfect for sitting back relaxing and having a wonderful time doing nothing but stoking some charcoal and watching meat grill.

Jack Daniels Tennesse Honey 

I fell in love with this libation earlier this year. Many a bottle was used this past year in the Diva Q camp. (of course it was for sauce making………. yeah sure…we will go with that.) Try one of my favorite cocktails – I call it the Long Weekend made with JD Honey.




Deep Fried Apple Hand Pies

I fell in love with deep fried hand pies as a kid travelling with my family to or place in Florida. I had commercially made ones from lots of convenience stores and they were an ooey gooey delight. A few years ago on one of our trips to a BBQ competition I had a homemade hand pie. Its ragged edges super crispy and flakey. The filling wasn’t overly sweet and was packed full of fruits.

On our recent trip to the Jack I missed having Mary Ruth’s Fried Pies while we we there. When I came home I knew I was going to have to attempt making these.

There was one problem with all of this. I seriously have an inability to make really great pie crust. So… I opted out of that step altogeher and bought these.

Then for the recipe…

I went here… Emeril Lagasse Fried Apple Pie Recipe


I made the filling the day before Halloween. Then on Halloween night I assembled the pies and followed the instructions for deep frying.

They came out awesome.

Super flaky not too sweet and uber easy to make.

I may not ever go back to making a regular pie again. …. Enjoy.

Dream Thermapen with Flames!!!

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!

Diva Q Ultimate Bacon Jalapeño Sausage Super Fatty – Just in time for the Superbowl

The last time I made this was 2009 and we will be doing one again in the near future for the big game. This is a party sized appetizer of enormous proportions – deliciously decadent…Absolutely this is one of my all time favorites from the grill…

4 lbs sausage (3 regular 1 hot)
2 lbs bacon
3-5 jalapeños (cored membrane removed and sliced in half)
2 tablespoons Smoky Mountain Smokers Spicy BBQ Rub

5 tbsp garlic tobasco sauce
5 green onions chopped
2 packages cream cheese
4 tbsp 3eyz BBQ rub
3/4 c Strodes Cherry BBQ sauce
5 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp Chipotle powder

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and set aside in a piping bag with large nozzle.
Lay 3 feet of saran wrap on kitchen counter
Spread out sausage (no casings) on the plastic wrap evenly spreading the mixture to approx 1/2″ thick and forming a rectangular shape that is 21/2 feet long.
place the jalapeños in a line down the center of the sausage mixture
Pipe the cheese mixture onto the jalapeños going the entire length of the sausage.
Using the plastic wrap to aid you bring the sides of the sausage mixture up and around the jalapeños and cheese forming a cylindrical tube.
Place on a large tray and chill in fridge or if room allows the freezer for 30 minutes.

Lay 3 feet of saran wrap on the counter. Arrange the strips of bacon to slightly overlap each other. Depending on the thickness of your bacon you will need between 2 – 3 lbs of bacon . (Please see picture above)

Remove the sausage from the fridge. Roll the sausage out of the saran wrap onto the bacon layers.
Bring the pieces of the bacon at the ends up first then continue to bring the bacon slices up onto the sausage until fully enclosed in bacon.

Sprinkle the entire fatty with the Smoky Mountain Smokers Spicy BBQ rub.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking medium heat (275-300F).

******* Big Caution here… its a LOT of bacon. Bacon grease fires are serious business. Ensure your grill if using charcoal or propane or gas – utilizes a pan (with about 2 inches of water) under the fatty to capture the bacon grease. Always be prepared with a fire extinguisher and baking soda in case of a grease fire. Stay put and stay close. YOu don’t ever want to be far from a grill that has bacon on it.  *******

Place the fatty on your grill in a horseshoe shape. BBQ your fatty until the internal temperature in many locations when probed reaches 165F (approx 2-3hours) and the bacon is crsipy. Glaze in the last few moments of cooking with the Strodes Cherry BBQ sauce. Remove from heat and rest at least 15 minutes. Slice and serve with additional BBQ sauce and hot sauces.

My all time favorite BBQ gadget…One of my top picks of what to give for Christmas

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!!

Fiddleheads Fiddleheads Fiddleheads

I love Fiddleheads. Love them dearly. I have fond memories as a kid going out to the bush around the Orangeville Ontario area with my Dad (aka Mr. Happypants) and the brat (aka my little bro) harvesting these spring time gems. We would go explore some of the Mono Cliff caves around Hockley Road ( a few minutes away from Orangeville) and then we would go harvest fiddleheads.

I did not harvest these lovely little gems but found them just being unloaded at my local No Frills grocery store. I could not resist. I really do prefer fresh fiddleheads for grilling. The frozen ones available year round are great for making a fiddlehead and leek soup in the winter but the texture is not great for a grill.

For those of you not familiar with fiddleheads here is the WIKI info for them:

Fiddlehead ferns refers to the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested for food consumption. The fiddlehead, or circinate vernation, unrolls as the fern emerges from the ground with new growth. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.
The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a fiddle. It is also called a crozier, after the curved staff used by bishops, which has its origins in the shepherd’s crook.

When cooking fiddleheads, first remove all the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boilings. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.

I like to soak my fiddleheads overnight in water first. Then trim any of the dark brown bits off the cut ends and remove any of the papery brown outer layer that can be sometimes attached to them. Before grilling I steam them quickly a couple of times. This is an important step as you need to remove some of the bitterness and potential toxins.

For the preparation I simply tossed them in some lemon olive oil, then sprinkled them generously with salt & pepper. Using a frogmat works great with these. Just grill at medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until tender turning a couple of times. I really like the lemon with fiddleheads. I added some lemon zest just before dinner as well.

I served them up with some nice plump tomatoes and xtra crispy cajun fried chicken. It was a good meal.

Strodes Amateur Events!!! Get out and BBQ in Ontario!

If you love BBQ and want to compete this is a great way to start!!C’mon out !!

mmm…BBQ Amateur Series

Amateur events are only $50.00 to enter and they even provide the ribs! You just need to bring your BBQ and any other supplies you need for the day! Contact Strodes BBQ for more details!!

Gloucester May 28 – 30

Paris June 13

Brantford May 16

Chatham July 11

Listowel July 17

Lindsay July 17 – 18

St. Thomas October 9

How to make 200 – Three Cheese Roasted Garlic ABT’s (Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños

I make thousands of ABT’s each year. Yes thousands for demonstrations family parties and well I just love them.
There are countless recipes for ABT’s all over the net. Everyone has their own variety whether they have lil smokies in them or leftover pulled pork. One of my favorite varieties is roasted garlic 3 cheese ABT’s.

I make roasted smoked garlic in batches of 36-48 at a time. I prep lots of them at a time to make it more convenient for myself later on. BBQ buddies from ALCAN work great for this. Their perforations allow lots of the smoke flavor to come through. Simply slice the top off sprinkle on some salt & pepper and drizzle with EVOO. I then use one of my Traegers or Charcoal grills and keep the temp at an even 350F (I do these indirect) for about an hour. I prefer to use hickory pellets or wood chunks for flavoring.  The garlic bulbs are done when the color turns a nice caramel and they can be easily squeezed out.

For more specific instructions check out this great tutorial on HOW to Roast Garlic.

Roasted Garlic bulbs freeze well. I freeze them individually for a multitude of uses from pasta to ABT’s and everything in between.

200 Roasted Garlic Cheesy ABT’s you will need:

  • 2 onions finely minced
  • 1/2 cup BBQ rub (use whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup grated romano
  • 1/4 cup dried chives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh savory
  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) cream cheese
  • 100 jalapeños cleaned & seeded cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 large bulbs of roasted garlic

I use a food processor to do this in two batches. Its really easy. Just dump half of everything in and pulse away until everything has mixed well. Pour into a large ziploc bag and then repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Please note you should taste test each batch to ensure the spice mixture is flavorful enough. As with all BBQ rubs the sodium levels vary greatly as does the sodium level in Parmesan cheese so adjust wherever necessary.

Then set up a station in the order you make them. For the jalapeños I always lay them cut side down while I prep the other ingredients. This helps to get as much water out of them prior to assembly.

I buy cases of bacon- not packages.  I buy Petit Goret Maple Smoked Bacon in a 5 kg (11lb) box.  If I can’t get this brand I look for any other food service box of bacon that has an 18/22 (slice count per pound) on it. I prefer using thinner bacon to wrap ABT’s.  For other applications I prefer my butchers bacon.

I do this whole procedure in batches of 50. I lay 50 jalapeños cut side up and fill with my cream cheese mixture using a ziploc bag with the corner cut off.

Then its just a matter of wrapping them and stacking them snugly into pans.

It takes me about an hour and a half to make 200.  I freeze them for up to one month. I don’t advise going over one month as I don’t like the texture of the cream cheese after that. The less time in the freezer the better. If you are doing a party or heading to a competition pot luck etc its really nice to have these ready well ahead of when you need them.

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