Diva Q Grill to Perfection



Andy Husbands and Chris Hart with Andrea Pyenson are back at it again with Grilled to Perfection. This is a simple straightforward grilling book. What is not simple are the recipes. They have included recipes to really elevate your backyard experience. I am a huge fan of these guys. I like their books because they truly actually test food. They obsess over food.  I own their other books Wicked Good Barbecue and Wicked Good Burgers.  I have used multiples of their recipes. In addition their techniques can really set you on a great course of grilling happiness.

There are a lot of grilling and BBQ books out there. The difference that sets these guys aside is their true love of food. Their involvement with the ingredients and their BBQ passion.

I read cookbooks like novels. I read them cover to cover before I will try recipes. This is easy on the eyes due to the excellent and consistently outstanding photography of Ken Goodman. I hate overly staged food shots. I can’t stand it when the food looks so perfect its plastic. That is about as appealing as eating cardboard to me. The photography from Ken truly captures food in its best light.  It is not overly staged. You just want to devour the pages with your eyes and feast on these beautiful recipes.

These recipes are easy to follow and will help you seriously take your grilling to new heights. I completely recommend you buy this book.

You need to try the recipe below for Slow-Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White Sauce – it will knock your socks off.



Diva Q Grill to perfection


Slow-Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White Sauce

The beauty of this recipe is crispy, golden brown skin, achieved by coating the chicken pieces with dry rub before grilling – and a little bit of technique. By cooking the chicken over low, direct heat you vastly reduce the risk of burning the skin. When using charcoal, it’s important to watch out for hot spots. If they occur, simply move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill.

Alabama White Sauce (aka Alabama White BBQ Sauce or just plain White BBQ Sauce) is a regional oddity that is virtually unknown outside of northern Alabama. Tangy and rich, with a kick of horseradish, it is typically paired with chicken but tastes great with just about anything you can think to pour it on or dip in it. We think it works particularly well with these chicken thighs.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon/15 mL kosher salt
1 tablespoon/ 15 mL turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon/15 mL smoked or sweet paprika
2 teaspoons/10 mL coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 4 ounces/113g each
Alabama White Sauce (recipe follows)

Cooking Instructions
In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Build a low direct fire. Spread an even layer of unlit charcoal in the bottom of the grill. Fill a chimney one-third full with charcoal. Stuff two sheets of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and light it. When the coals are fully engaged – you should see flames peeking over the top – pour them over the unlit charcoal. If using a gas grill, light the gas and adjust temperature on both sides to low.

While the fire is coming to temperature, place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the dry rub.

When you can hold your hands over the fire for no more than 8-10 seconds, clean the grill grate. Set the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the grates. Sprinkle the remainder of the dry rub on the chicken. Cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes, checking periodically to avoid excessive charring on the skin. Rotate thighs over the fire if there are hot spots. If using a charcoal grill, adjust the vents to maintain a temperature of 300oF/149oC.

Flip chicken and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 170oF/77oC, about 15-20 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slather with Alabama White Sauce and serve.

Alabama White Sauce

Makes 2 cups/475 mL

1 cup/240 mL mayonnaise (we prefer Kewpie)
1/2 cup/120 mL apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup/60 mL light corn syrup
1 tablespoon/15 mL prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon/15 mL fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Cooking Instructions
Whisk all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and set aside until ready to use; or transfer to an air-tight jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


Full disclaimer: I was provided a book to review for free – however in no way was I compensated or provided any remuneration for this blog post.  I truly think you need to own this book.


Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Filled Grilled Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Kids BBQ,

My two youngest kids entered their very first Kids Q contest last year. It was at Roc City Ribfest. This contest has it all – a World Bacon Championship, a KCBS contest, A Charity Rib Contest and a Kids Q Contest. It is one of my favorite contests and I never miss it.

I think anyone who does Competition BBQ gets a anxious at awards. All that hard focused work and waiting to hear your name called. However I have never ever been so nervous and on the edge of my seat as I have been waiting to see how our kids did. Glad to say they came in 3rd and they and all of us were so proud.

Award Winning Kids Q

They asked over the March Break if they could do a guest blog post … so here it is. With a couple of videos…

This is Ella & Gabe’s recipe for Bacon Wrapped Double Dogs.  They look forward to seeing your comments.

We started making the video with both of them…. ummm well lets say Gabe Tapped out after his funnybone took over.



Bacon Wrapped Double Dogs

Serves 6, or 3 Super hungry people who eat two each.

  • 12 all beef wieners
  • 18 pieces of thinly cut bacon
  • 6 slices of cheddar (length and width of open sliced wiener  and 1/8″ thick)
  • 6 hot dog buns toasted

Slice the wieners in half lengthwise careful not to cut all the way through. They should open like a book.

Open one of the sliced wieners and top with a slice of cheddar and additional wiener.

Wrap tightly with 1 to 1 1/2 slices of bacon.

Grill indirect at 275F for 15 minutes then flip to opposite side. Grill an additional 15 minutes. You may want to grill direct in the last couple of minutes or until the bacon is crispy and done to your liking. Serve them on a toasted hot dog bun.

Add condiments (Ella eats it with Ketchup- Gabe likes mustard & ketchup) and serve.









It was a lot of fun to be once again be invited to the Char-Broil all star event. (Seriously does anyone ever turn down an opportunity to be in the sun for a few days>?) This year’s event was held in Atlantic Beach Florida at the beautiful One Ocean Resort. Glorious beach views and top notch amenities was the theme for the weekend. Really – this was pretty lovely to work and learn in this environment.


My fellow all star Char-Broil Bloggers were once again a blast to be around. You really need to check these folks out:

Meet the All-Stars

  • David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”
    David the the author of A Bachelor & His Grill. His food blog is a mix of crazy delicious grub & original recipes, a travel log for his worldly adventuring, littering of semi-appropriate/sarcastic humor, & connection point with some of the most amazing, inspirational, & engaging people he has ever met….

    Read more ?

  • Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”
    Curt McAdams is an award winning competitor in all categories of several Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition events and a certified barbeque judge (CBJ) in that respected organization. Curt shares his passion for cooking over an open fire in photographs of his food on his web log Livefire. …

    Read more ?

  • Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”
    Julie Reinhardt is the author of She Smoke a Backyard Barbeque Book and hands-on partner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle, a place she lovingly calls “a joint.” The fragrant aroma of smoke lingers in Julies clothes as she races between her duties as restauranteur, wife and mother….

    Read more ?

  • Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”
    The Grillin Fools are husbands, fathers, sons and good employees during the work week – but evenings and weekends their nearly-a-century of outdoor cooking experience blossoms and they become grilling super-heroes. OK – that may be stretching it a bit but they are busy grilling year-round grilling. …

    Read more ?

  • Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”
    Jane Evans is the author of The Heritage Cook, a web log celebrating the traditional ingredients and recipes of American family life. Jane hails from the San Franciso Bay area and her attention to the ingredients is influenced by the farms, orchards, ranches and nearby access to seafood providing an unending source of inspiration. …

    Read more ?

  • Chef Christo – “Chez What?”Chef Christo – “Chez What?”
    Chef Christo Gonzales or simply “Christo” hails from New York and manages a busy schedule as private chef for individuals as well executive chef for two catering companies. A prolific cook and writer he shares his thoughts on food by contributing to more than a dozen web and social media outlets including photos of his creations….

    Read more ?

  • Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”
    Catherine Mayhew is the author of The HandyMom’s Guide to Grilling (Cool Springs Press) and the sassy southern lady behind the web log The South In My Mouth.  In her own words: “I think about lunch just after breakfast and dinner right after lunch.”…

    Read more ?


The time was packed with information sessions on Char-Broil grills and accessories for the 2013 season and future plans as well. We learned a lot about presentations, TRU Infrared technology and photography.  Plus how can you resist marketing materials and information when it is held with the cutest paper clips ever.

Pig Paper Clips, Diva Q

Char-Broil is also one of the sponsors of the HGTV SMART Home located a short distance from our hotel in Jacksonville Florida.


HGTV SMART Home Cha-Broil


We got to tour the house and check out the really interesting Technology they use.

Of course we had to check out the grill station! (I need to get that lamp light over the grill it was gorgeous)

HGTV Char-Broil SMART Home Grill area, Scott Thomas

After the house tour we travelled to Mayhew Florida to visit a fish market. We had enjoyed some of the terrific Shrimp thats available locally and it was great to see cases of fresh shrimp and trawlers.

Christo Gonzales, David Olsen Char-Broil All Star Weekend Diva Q  Char-Broil All Star Blogger Weekend

There was a deep sea fishing trip booked as well but unfortunately due to high seas it was cancelled. Darnit. I was really looking forward to that.  However we all headed to the SPA instead. I know it was a tough call but I made the sacrifice and got a really cute pedicure instead.  The ocean views from the One Ocean SPA were gorgeous.

Char-Broil Spa


After the relaxation we had a very serious event. It was the 2013 Char-Broil All Star Throwdown Competition.  This is an annual event with no monetary prizes but bragging rights.  We randomly pull numbers to find your partner and then you get grilling. My partner this year was the lovely Jane Bonacci “The Heritage Cook” She was an excellent partner and we worked very well together.

Blackbox Competition Char-Broil 2013



The black box competition contained: Calamari, Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate, blood oranges, Prawns, Snapper, sun dried tomatoes & Collard greens. We were required to use every mandatory item.

We had old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, olive oil, lemons and hot sauce as pantry items. Plus wood planks if we wanted.

I think we made something spectacular. We had 22 minutes. Thats all the time we had from start to finish to grill, photograph and present to the judges. Our judges were the VP of Char-Broil Marketing Michelle Zeller, a ONE Ocean team representative, and hosted by Marketing Specialist Mary Eitel from MKE Communications.

This was our entry titled Bounty of the Sea:

Bounty of the sea. Planked seafood entry

Our entry included:

  • Smoked Calamari stuffed with grilled shrimp, charred collards, finely minced sun dried tomatoes and seasonings
  • Louisiana grilled shrimp
  • Shrimp stuffed sea shells
  • Blood Orange chocolate reduction
  • Thyme grilled snapper

Jane made the absolutely amazing Blood orange,chocolate reduction for the plank that paired beautifully with the snapper.  Make sure you check out her Chocolate Monday post next week for the recipe.

The competition was intense and all of the teams put out some incredible food. Very glad to report that Jane and I won the competition and the bragging rights for the next year. Trophy widget will be coming soon from the always helpful Michael Williams Char-Broils Multi Media Content Specialist and Community Manager.

After the contest we celebrated with some refreshing cocktails and a wonderful Grouper dinner oceanside.  A great time was had by all. Its really great to hear of all the Char-Broil All Star’s successes. These are some seriously talented people that make amazing food!! Make sure to check out their blog Posts on Char-Broil and their own personal websites.

BBQ Cocktail

This event is always jam-packed with information, interesting education sessions and lots of laughter with my fellow Char-Broil All Stars. Looking forward to seeing them all sooner than later.

Just a reminder: 

As one of the Char-Broil All star bloggers I get to share a really great deal for my readers & followers.  Char-Broil has given me a code to post for the year for 25% off. Thats a big chunk of change to save.

Diva Q Big Deal


This code will give  25% OFF All Grills and Cookers on  Pls note it is not applicable to parts but to grills & accessories only. This code & link below is valid until December 2013. Just use the code when you are checking out and click the link below:



Char-Broil 4 out of 5 say its better


I love BBQ cook books. I love reviewing the recipes and many times being inspired by them.

Recently on a trip to South Carolina I got to meet in person Barry “CB” Martin.  We have talked back and forth on twitter & facebook many times and on the phone but never in person. He is the contributing editor for this cookbook.

Barry exudes a lot of passion for all things BBQ and grilling – it really comes through in this book as well ! This is a happy book.  This book makes you want to go out and grill something ASAP. Lots of really useful information packed into this well laid out BBQ cookbook!


Right from the beginning the book outlines all different methods and does a fine job of it –

Beautiful pictures and 222 recipes follow all gloriously detailed!

In no way is this book pretentious. It is an easy book to read to look at and to enjoy. One of the best things about this book is that it makes you want to head to the store buy the recipes and BBQ.. That’s why I would highly recommend this book for anyone – It would be a great gift too!

The book is available from Amazon

You can find Barry on twitter and Char-broil on facebook


There is nothing like deciding to go on a bit of a road trip for a contest. We decided to make a bit of a hike to Pennsylvania this past weekend with our children to attend the Inaugural competition put on by our friend Brian Nevel from Huntingdon County Custom and his partner Ed Stoddard.

They did a good job informing teams coming in of what to expect and the location was top notch. We had a great time competing in both the grilling and the KCBS contest.

You know its always so wonderful to get the opportunity to travel and see the small towns on the way to a comp. There are so many beautiful communities with interesting quirks I would love to stop at. There just never seems to be enough time. The fall foliage was breathtaking as we approached our destination. Just beautiful. My blackberry pictures don’t do it justice.

Lucky for us we had our good friends from Swamp Pit BBQ right next to us. Our kids love hanging out together and so do we!!

I also have to point out that I finally got to meet a very special little man. He is so snuggly and cute and adorable.  Cooper belongs to Kristal and Josh Shade from Tiny’s BBQ and well I was just really excited to cuddle him a bit :-)

For the grilling contest I have to give some props to our good friends Dan Hixon and Chris Hall from 3 Eyz BBQ. Since they were not competing in the grilling part they ended up being our taste testers for the trials we did ahead of the competition.   I was happy with our burger, pizza and chefs choice entires. I like having the ability to be creative. We ended up with a 1st in pizza and Reserve Grand Champion.

Here is a short video I took on the BB of the competition.

It was a lot of fun and it was great to see the other teams. I loved seeing the custom made firepits. I really enjoy sitting around the fire at a competition. I also seriously enjoyed a wicked good prime rib courtesy of the Grand Poobah himself Phil. It was awesome.   The morning shot was courtesy of MABA & Aporkaclypse now. The shot glasses were a really nice souvenir from the event.

We had a great time and I would recommend this event highly. The awards were terrific. Medals from the BBQ-brethren and custom awards from Brian Nevel.

Congratulations to PA Midnight Smokers who received two 180’s for the weekend. One in dessert and one in brisket.

Congrats to Chix, Swine and Bovine on their GC and 3Eyz BBQ on their Reserve GC for the KCBS competition. we came in 4th overall just missing a 180 in pork by less than 1/2 a point.

The reserve GC and the Grand Champion teams got to participate in a new tradition at Raystown Lake they both took a dip in the water and we all posed for a group picture:

It was great to be among friends for the weekend but its always nice to come home …..


This is a great deal and a good place to eat. Was in there for lunch earlier this week and saw their Fathers Day special posted:

Big Chris fathers day special folks.. Two full racks, large fries, and a large caesar salad for $35.00.. Dont make dad cook on his day, take it home and tell him that YOU MADE IT..


Barrie, ON



I received a new toy to try out and play with the Looft Lighter In Canada the Looft Lighter is available at Ontario Gas BBQ’s and retails for $89.99.  


It all began 1997 when theatre director Richard Looft got angry. The chicken he barbecued tasted lighter fluid!

Richard started thinking of a better and more environment friendly way to light the grill.

He poured coal into a toaster, turned the flow around in a vacuum cleaner and discovered that the coal got ready to use in just a few minutes!

In 2003 a prototype was presented to the Swedish Inventors’ Association.
In 2005 Looft Industries Ltd was established. In 2006 the first 5000 Looftlighter arrived in Stockholm and Richard then called the most exclusive department stores. Nobody wanted even to see him…

So he took his grill, placed himself outside the shops, called again to the purchasers and asked for 60 seconds of their time. They came out, Richard made his demonstration and all ordered the Looftlighter right in the street.

Today the Looftlighter is being sold as a BBQ- and fire place lighter in all of Scandinavia, more than ten countries in Europe and has also been introduced in the USA.

I have to admit I was pretty shocked at the price considering it is just a BBQ lighter. I mean who is going to spend $89.99 on essentially a lighter. Ok really its a lighter and beer opener. It would be advisable though to open your beer then light the charcoal. It is very hot once you use it rendering the beer opener unusable until the unit cools down.

I used in in my weber kettle last weekend. I wasn’t going to be cooking in fact I was out in my backyard with my daughters friends who wanted to roast marshmallows. It sounds an awful lot like a hair dryer. Which makes sense since it is hot air that is being used to light the charcoal. I simply pointed it to the pile of lump charcoal I was using and approx 30-40 seconds later it started sparking and about 1 minute later the piece of lump it was pointing to – was lit. That was it. However due to its design you only get one or two pieces lit at a time.  I left the couple of pieces lit and after 45 minutes the rest of the charcoal was ready to go. You can also use the looft lighter in fireplaces.

The lighter overall seems to be constructed well. It is heavier than it appears. Solid overall. However there is no child lock on the lighter. That would be a concern for me.

The looft lighter absolutely works as stated. No denying that fact. Its a fun expensive gadget for sure. For however many coals you want lit you have to hold the button down. IF you want a whole lot of coals lit at once that means potentially holding the button for 10-15 minutes listening to a loud hair dryer. At the end of the day I am really comfortable using my weber chimney that cost 19.99 and a sheet of newspaper (free from the assortment of flyers I get weekly) or a weber cube ($4.99 for 24 cubes). Its much easier to me to light my charcoal chimney full then go play with my kids, or prep the meats and veggies and come back and dump them in. Simple easy lighter fluid free.


Well you can never ever have enough BBQ’s I don’t believe that anyone should only have one bbq or grill. There are so many different types and they are all different with great capabilities.
Thanks to the folks at BGE Canada John & Brian who came by tonight with my newest addition the Big Green Egg.
I am sure to have fun playing on it.