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BBQ Pitmasters Returns for another season with a sneak peak on Destination America tomorrow at 10 p.m. Eastern and premieres on Sunday, June 3, at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Here is our BIG news: 

I am really excited to be able to share that once again team Diva Q was thrilled to be on BBQ Pitmasters. Yup thats right you heard it here first that I can finally confirm that our team got another go at it. To be chosen to go back again was terrific.  We have to thank Original Media and the entire crew. They worked their butts off.

It was a freaking blast to be with the crew again. To be judged by 3 UBER awesome real BBQ judges Myron Mixon, Aaron Franklin and Tuffy Stone.  This time around things are different. I loved this years format. Real meats. Real Time. Real Pressures. ALL BBQ!!  I can’t give away any more details you will have to tune in to the show. Thanks to our friends and family for all their support. I am truly the luckiest woman in BBQ. Blessed beyond blessed.


 


After spending the weekend at Memphis in May the very best thing to do is….. well of course to eat more BBQ!  Where better to eat than the World Champions – Yazoo’s Delta Q and Natural Born Grillers partnered up and opened a restaurant months ago. MEMPHIS BARBECUE CO. They have more World Championships than any other restaurant anywhere.

Yazoo’s Delta Q also just won MIM 2012 !  It came down to the wire and was incredible to see both of them took 1st place in their respective categories of Whole Hog and ribs.  That says a lot about their skill set. We knew we were about to eat some great BBQ!

My buddy Wayne Brown from Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog and I talked about doing this and I am sure glad we were able to make it happen. Both of us had to fly out yesterday so we didn’t have any time to spare.

Even better was that a few really awesome BBQ folks were there too – Shane Draper and Mike Owings from Drapers BBQ  , Ron Worby, and Tim from Tiger Q concessions.  They had all been at the Tucker Cooker site for MIM. I had a wonderful time hanging out with them and I even got to watch their whole hog judging on Saturday. I got to see Melissa again and we talked about the challenges of opening the restaurant. One of their biggest challenges was keeping up with demand. It has been a massive success right from the moment they opened the doors!

Picture Credit – Wayne Brown Big Wayners BBQ Blog 

We ordered an array of appetizers –

Cheese fritters, sausage and cheese platter, bbq nachos, fried green tomatoes, bacon wrapped shrimp and they also give complimentary made in house pork rinds to every table. Everything was really quite enjoyable.  I would say my favorite had to be the cheese fritters, and the bacon wrapped shrimp. They even cure and smoke their own bacon in house. All of the items in the restaurant are made from scratch daily.

Then everyone ordered more BBQ!  Well everyone except Ron. He decided to go with a fun item…. their Donut burger…and a half rack of ribs (this was not a health food day for sure!)

  he really liked it.

I ordered wet baby back ribs, pulled pork, and sausage. My sides were potato salad and macaroni & cheese. (Still keeping with the not so healthy options)

The pork was fantastic. Great smoky flavor, really great texture. I love the fact that the pork had chunks and pulled. It had a great bark to it. Full of flavor. It was my favorite meat from the day.  The ribs had a nice crust to them, the rub was very mild. The sausage has a very fine texture to it. The potato salad was off the charts awesome though. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a potato salad so much with its creamy goodness and hints of dill.

The place was packed. With seating for 300 they have a ton of crew all serving people good BBQ.

We hurried through our meal sadly and grabbed t-shirts before we left racing back to the airport to catch our flights… I know Ill be back for another visit the next time I am in town.

Memphis Barbecue Co. on Facebook

Memphis Barbecue Co. on twitter

Sunday to Thursday 11am to 10pm

Friday to Saturday 11am to 11pm

709 Desoto Cove, Horn Lake, MS 38637, USA


 


 

I have just come home from a terrific time at Memphis in May with the awesome Char-Broil Tour !!

Memphis in May is a fun place to spend a weekend for sure. Hundreds of teams from all over come and compete in three categories Shoulder, Ribs or Whole Hog

The first event for the weekend was a TV segment with a local FOX Memphis Station

We talked about everyday grilling and we made some delicious Thai Chicken Kabobs, Grilled veggies, and one of my favorites – grilled tater slices with blue cheese and herb crumbles.

The recipes were inspired by Char-Broil’s new cookbooks 

 

On Saturday AM bright and early we did multiples of TV segments with The Weather Channel.  I got to work with an amazing Meteorologist Paul Goodloe. He was terrific to work with. Lots of fun!

 

 

Over the course of the morning we made some delicious lip smacking BBQ all using Char-Broil TRU Infrared grills

Here are the recipes from each segment:

Memphis Rub Ribs

Road Side Chicken

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Nachos 

I have to tell you though one of the highlights for the entire weekend was working with the amazing – yes truly amazing people on the Char-Broil Mobile Tour !!

 

The Tour crew did an excellent job grilling up awesome tasty items from the tours sponsors: Flatout, Bubba Burgers, Beano’s, Dole, Arla, Pork,and Amerigas.  Thousands of people stopped by.

They are an incredibly upbeat happy happy group of people.

  

They have very happy grill experiences.  It is a proven fact that happy people just make better BBQ.

It was a really great experience! Thanks so much to the people at Char-Broil, the Weather Channel and the entire Mobile Char-Broil Tour


 


Continuing on my personal NC BBQ tour of NC Historic BBQ joints I stopped in a cute place – Richards BBQ in Salisbury NC.

Eastern Carolina style sauce is served here. Apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes and a touch of sweetness. Straight forward and moist hand chopped BBQ.  You walk into this place and you want to stay. The walls and booths and chairs are all inviting. They even have a small salad bar. The place is impeccably clean.

 

 

There is a poster menu showing pictures of all the plates they serve in addition to paper menus. The ladies at the counter are all sorts of loveliness and they just radiate hospitality.

  

  

I ordered a chopped BBQ sandwich and a cheerwine. I think I may be addicted to cheerwine now. Absolutely refreshing and a perfect match to BBQ. Plus I was driving so beer was not an option.

The sandwich came wrapped in wax paper. Served on a plain white hamburger bun there had to be almost 1/2 lb of meat on it.

 

It was a delicious sandwich. Full of porky goodness and super moist. It had quite the pepper kick but not a lot of heat. It was chopped super fine as was the slaw. You really don’t have to chew a lot when its chopped this fine. They pile all their wood outside. You can see the door to their pits from drive thru pictures.

I would love to bring my family to this place.  They also have a convenient drive thru if you want to take it to go.


I am so glad I had the opportunity to stop here. The food the atmosphere and the hospitality made it just a really nice experience.

For a great history on Richard’s BBQ and many more check out NCBS The North Carolina BBQ Society. I found it was an excellent resource to use when travelling through the state. The North Carolina BBQ Society is also on Facebook.

 

Richard’s Bar-B-Q, Salisbury
Richard Moore
522 N Main St
Salisbury, NC 28144


 


I have a serious obsession with making pizza on my BGE. It makes wicked good pizza among other things. However I cannot ever seem to make just one or two. No it just has to be a big variety.

This is a great thing to do if you have leftover bits in the fridge. Not enough to make a meal out of them but enough to make a pizza or 5

Our pizza ingredients were:

  • sauteed mushrooms
  • rapini with evoo and sliced garlic
  • green and black olives
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • roasted red peppers
  • arugula
  • parmesan
  • Drained seasoned stewed tomatoes
  • basil
  • oregano
  • granulated onion
  • steamed acorn squash
  • grilled chorizo
  • cooked and crumbled hot Italian sausage
  • grilled eggplant
  • Lots of mozzarella

There is no recipe for this. Just a few general guidelines. I use store bought pizza dough from Highland Farms. I like their pizza dough a lot. It is very reasonably priced. Now you can go all Martha Stewart on this and make your own from scratch – all the best to you. Personally if you you find a reasonably priced very good quality dough its a heck of a lot easier.

Your BGE needs to be at least 600F before you even think of getting a pizza on.  I find that I have the best pizzas come out at this temperature. Also don’t be using any crappy dollar store pizza stone. Think of it as an investment. Mine came from Ontario Gas BBQ. Its awesome. I have used it many many times over and over again.

Make sure your pizza stone comes up to temperature with your BGE. Do not put a cold pizza stone on a 600F BGE. It was crack and shatter and then you will have a load of stuff to clean up. Not to mention ruined dinner plans.

Use enough flour when stretching your dough that it doesn’t stick to your pizza peel. Its a lot easier to slide off dough covered with toppings if you have used enough flour. They make the crust soggy. Of course if you like a soggy crust that’s your business but I prefer a nice crispy crust.

Other than that go nuts. You can even make vegans happy. OR gluten free people (just make sure you give them a gluten free crust). Or nut allergy people happy. The choices are endless.  These pizzas cook in about 6-8 minutes at the most so you want to make sure your meats are cooked ahead of time if using and you slice your veggies thinly.

After placing your pizza on the stone close the lid. Open it up again at about the 2- 3 minute mark and turn the pizza half way. Close the lid again and leave it closed for 3-4 more minutes until nicely browned and golden. Remove to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Repeat with the other pizzas. Seriously it is so easy. Get the kids involved. I have not ever met a kid who didn’t like making pizza. Let them decide what toppings they want. Pizza dough is just like play doh for adults so they love stretching it too.

  

  

One of my favorites from tonight:

Grilled eggplant, sauteed rapini with sliced garlic and evoo, steamed acorn squash, sauteed mushrooms and mozzarella. When it came off the grill I topped it with a bunch of arugula and some really good quality balsamic vinegar, Parmesan and evoo.

I also enjoyed the meat pizzas….

  

The kids had their own ideas of what they wanted on their pizza- Chorizo, tomato sauce, basil and lots of mozzarella

 

Last but not least we made a panzerotti to use up the last bits of all the ingredients. It was stuffed full. By this time my stone was getting pretty black from the flour so I placed the panzerotti on a piece of parchment paper directly on the stone. Worked great and the panzerotti was delicious and crispy full of yummy ingredients.

 

It was a delicious dinner full of pizza goodness. Plus there is lots for lunches tomorrow!!

 

 


 


Headed back to Marilyn Denis for a taping today on how to clean and Prep your BBQ !

About The Show

Hosted by Marilyn Denis and broadcast live before a studio audience, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is a daily entertainment and lifestyle talk show featuring Canadian and international celebrities and experts, established and emerging alike. Building on Marilyn Denis’ connection to her fans, interviews and ideas are delivered with the ease and humour of a conversation with your best girlfriend. Celebrities who have appeared on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW include Sir Elton John, Bradley Cooper, Shania Twain, Anderson Cooper, Donny & Marie Osmond and many more.

THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW airs live Monday-Friday at 10 a.m. ET on CTV and CTV.ca, and then again at 11 a.m. ET (CTV Two) and on demand at marilyn.ca. Fans can also watch Marilyn seven days a week with THE BEST OF THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, airing Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET on CTV and Sundays at 2 p.m. ET on CTV Two (check local listings).

 

***

Today we covered lots of great tips on cleaning your BBQ and grill. No matter what grill or bbq you have make sure to consult your manufacturer’s instructions. Also all of the items for the show from the heavy duty cleaning brush to the grill wipes came from a store I love to shop at Ontario Gas BBQ. They also stock replacement parts for your BBQ’s so check them out. As the worlds largest BBQ store they have everything you need and more. (Its also the only place my always cool hubby gets nervous for my shopping- shoe stores and malls are no problem- but when I walk into Ontario Gas BBQ its just so darn hard to resist all the great BBQ stuff cha-ching!  )

Click here to see the entire segment

Much thanks to Marilyn, Tara and the entire crew. Lots of fun yet again!


 


 

2312 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301

As I was approaching Pork Barrel BBQ I was worried. I saw a lot of glass. A lot of very shiny posts and a lot of glass. Then I started to worry I would not like the food or the decor. My preferences tend to run to BBQ joints that have a sense of history to them. Even a little grease and grime- however the Pork Barrel Building has neither. Its in a league of its own.

You would have to be living under a rock not to know about or to have heard about Pork Barrel BBQ. Heath Hall & Brett Thompson.


They have appeared on Shark Tank, numerous TV and radio programs and have competed in many contests. They have their own BBQ forum BBQ Backyard.com. They are uber focused on the success of their BBQ products which include rubs, sauces, peanuts and even Que Cologne.

You can order from their online store or shop from one of the many retailers that carry their products.

 

They partnered originally with Bill Blackburn and “Mango” Mike Anderson in the development of their restaurant. Then came shark tank and the outside investment of Barbara Corcoran. To say they are on the path to legendary status in the BBQ world would be an understatement. Their meteoric rise has been incredible to watch. Through their continuous hard work and sacrifices this has all come to pass. But who are we kidding – the most important thing to me is – how the heck does their food taste ???

I entered the restaurant and was immediately greeted by Mango Mike Anderson. I believe Heath must have texted him after seeing a tweet I posted.  I thought Heath would have been busy as he was out of the country (getting married) when I visited. Seriously the guy never stops working.

I was really glad to see the interior of this great BBQ place. It has struck a beautiful balance between trustworthy BBQ goodness, sleek decor items, touches of wood and a vintage throwback with a great assortment of retro sodas and a vibe that just seems to flow from it.

There is this massive slab of a table made of wood that just warms the entire room up. The seating encourages a communal vibe. I believe this is important to a BBQ place as well.  Stonework through out makes this place cozy. The lighting fixtures were carefully chosen they look like speckled fire. The bar is so inviting – you just want to have a cocktail or a craft brew.

  

There are great details that have been worked into the location. The floor holds a working fire suppressant system that was originally in a different locale. They just worked it in from bringing around the piping at the floor of the bar to make an easy foot rest to the draft taps on the plumbing.  They took a negative and made it into a positive. It seems that nothing is an obstacle they can’t overcome. I loved seeing a nice arrangement of trophies near the sauce station. I liked the whimsy of the redneck plate dispenser. I liked the patriotic wet wipes.  The large wooden boxes that hold the retro sodas beckon to you. Everything in this place was carefully thought and laid out. Even the writing on the bathroom doors in the Coca Cola font was done with care. I don’t think there were any details that were left out save for a picture of all of them. When I mentioned this to Mike Anderson he said they have it just had not had time to put it up.

  

 

  

But really once again it all comes back to the food.

They use 1 Southern Pride currently and demand has been so high that they are planning on putting in another. I also have to mention their staff were great. All of them smiling and happy to be there.  Love that.

 

And how was the food? To put it in one word:

Amazing. 

Every single item was amazing. I was gobsmacked at how good it all was.

Tender seasoned smoked chicken that the fat had rendered through beautifully:

 

Moist brisket full of beefy goodness with a kiss of smoke and a great texture that yielded beautifully with a pull test:

Ribs that had been rubbed and smoked with great care. They didn’t need a speck of sauce.

Beef Sausage in a pork casing that was custom ground with their own spices. Perfect snap and texture full of flavor and some of the best Pulled Pork I have ever had. Gorgeous mahogany color. The pork was in larger pieces full of bark and delicious flavor. It was sooo good.

Then there were the sides. All did a great job of complimenting the meats. There were perfectly balanced collard greens flecked with meat (seriously buy a pint or 4 you won’t regret it), tangy and refreshing cowboy caviar (awesome crunch and creamy beans), sliced cucumbers and red onion salad (so refreshing with BBQ), creamy coleslaw (great on pork), red skin creamy potato salad (like your Momma would make i), sweet BBQ baked beans (but not overly sweet), and mac and cheese (they use a great brand of pasta that helps the cheese stick to it) that had one of the best cheese sauces ever.

  

  

You also need to check them out on You Tube

 

So whats left to say about Pork Barrel BBQ?? I can’t wait to go back. I wish I lived closer.

Pork Barrel BBQ on twitter

Pork Barrel BBQ on facebook

 

 


 


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.


 



So I did a search and found a newer BBQ joint that had opened up recently. I was on my way to Pork Barrel BBQ and decided a little detour for another joint isn’t a bad idea. Or so I thought.

Leon’s BBQ
9448 Lanham Severn Rd
Lanham-Seabrook, MD 20706

I saw they had fresh pork rinds. Now I love pork rinds- these were great for snacking on the road. They had some beautiful slices of homemade pies on the counter too.

The decor was plain and that’s perfectly alright. It was spotless. Super clean.

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.

Carterque

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