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.





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!


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!!


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