Desperado’s Barbecue & Catering Company
“Barbecue so good it should be outlawed”

Recently I had occasion to finally visit a friends restaurant. Bill & Shelly from Desperado’s Barbecue do a lot of catering and I have had the chance to eat their BBQ often.  They run on Friedrich Smokers that produce excellent results. They use local craft brewery beers and wines. They support their local community in every way possible. Shelly has always been after me to visit their Angola location. They have every reason to be proud of what they have turned this once derelict building into.

The restaurant is warm and inviting. Every area of the restaurant has a unique assortment of memorabilia, antiques and kitschy stuff that keeps a persons interest.

Its the small details that make this restaurants decor really stand out. From the iron star hooks at the perfect height in the ladies bathroom to the unique lighting and polished bar mirror back splash everything has been carefully added.

They opened a few years back to little or no fanfare. They don’ t even have a permanent outside sign yet but word of mouth travels fast and people come from all over for their food.

They serve straight up BBQ. There isn’t even a fryer in the place. I can attest the food is always awesome and a lot of local BBQ competitors eat there. I believe they are always trying to shig Shelly’s brisket recipe and flavor profile. Its wicked good.

One of the neatest things is that every piece of memorabilia in the place has a story with some of the pieces even coming from loyal customers.  They have all been carefully chosen accumulated over time on one of the many trips they have made to BBQ meccas throughout the US and locally.

One of my favorite parts of the restaurant has to be the fireplace and the saddle area. So warm cozy and inviting. Stop by ask Shelley where the saddle came from she has a great story to tell you about it.

If you are in the area make sure you stop to see this fantastic BBQ location that is a legendary joint in the making. You won’t regret it. You will eat well be treated with the utmost in hospitality and have a blast while doing it.


Tuesday through Saturday
11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
12 p.m. – 9 p.m



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.


Day 5 – 25 Days of Christmas BBQ Blogging…..

A bbq friend of mine John has a terrific website . He recently did a review of the new TLC pitmasters show on TLC now airing Thursday nights 10pm E/9C. Johns blog gave me the idea to interview John and the cast of the TLC Pitmasters show.

Here is his review reprinted with his permission,

Tonight was the premier of the new eight-week docu-series, BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. I thought that I would offer a short review of each episode from the point of view of a fellow competitor.

The clip below gives you some idea of what happened in the first installment. I can say that it is an accurate portrayal of how weather can and does affect a competition. The conditions were reminiscent of a couple of the competitions I’ve participated in.


must say that the show is just about what I had envisioned based on my interview with Executive Producer, John Markus, and others I’ve read and heard. It is indeed faithful to what actually happens at a competition. It shows the mix of personalities, the conditions, the pressure, and the humility that is mercilessly dispensed at the awards ceremony. I’m sure that Paul Petersen can really relate to that last part. Some may think that falling asleep and ignoring a cook is far-fetched, but it is not at all unusual.

While I’m happy that the show was authentic in covering what really happens in competition barbecue, I was somewhat surprised and disappointed in the abundance of foul language, especially from Myron. I know it’s part of the “reality”, but it’s sad when I can’t relax and watch the show with my kids. In my view, it was completely unnecessary. This is a common sentiment from what I am seeing on some of the BBQ forums.

All in all, the show is outstanding so far. If it continues in the same vein I think it will serve competition barbecue well.

Now heres my opinion:

I loved it. Every single moment of it.

I waited along with everyone else in the Competition world to see if they could do it. I wanted them to succeed. I won’t make any bones about it – I am biased completely. At some point I think they will need a Canadian Chick. LOL I wanted for them to produce a show and know that they “got” it. Did they get the real deal?

There are loads of reviews and critiques being written on all the BBQ forums. When it comes down to it though it gives people on the outside of this wonderful world of Competition BBQ a good glimpse of what really happens. Its good exposure for BBQ. I hope that the big companies out there take notice. That the competitions get more money. That KCBS, IBCA, PNWBA, FBA, NEBS and every other sanctioning body out there gets more bodies to their comps wanting to enter this unique “sport.”

Each of the cast has been picked because of their unique personalities. It achieved the goal of making it interesting highly viewable TV. The sour grapes I have been reading about from some teams seems to be missing the point. The point is to follow these characters not follow everyone in the world of BBQ.

Its a docu-drama on what happens. Did I like Paul Petersens lack of prep and research – Nope in fact it made me cringe. Did I like Myrons foul language – Nope I wanted to wash his mouth out with soap and ask him if he talked to his Momma with that mouth.(Seriously Gordon Ramsay has nothing on him) However will I watch again – I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

It makes you want to watch it. I want to know how Harry gets on, does Paul learn a bit, does Myron ever talk without a swear word, is Tuffy really that nice, where is Jamie Geer?, Can Lee Ann really cook BBQ ?, and finally does Captain parkay himself Johnny Trigg talk more? I want to watch period.

They did it. They created a Competition BBQ show that appeals to a vast audience.


Barbecue Secrets Deluxe Ronnie Shewchuk


I received this cook book a while ago after winning it in a twitter online contest. To anyone in Canada in the competitive BBQ world Rockin Ronnie Shewchuk is a familiar name. He was a member of the first team (the Butt Shredders) to ever win a US BBQ Championship. Since then two other teams have joined that same rank Dizzy Pig Canada and my own team Diva Q (proud to say we are the only Canadian team to win 2 in one year!).

I have the distinct pleasure of owning a copy of the first BBQ Secrets Ronnie wrote. I have tried a lot of the recipes and have enjoyed them immensely. Now it just gets better with the Deluxe edition. More pictures more anecdotes, recipes and more humour. I love the columns from Kate Zimmerman (Ronnie’s wife) The cookbook is truly a feast for the eyes. Gorgeous pictures throughout. They tug and pull you in and more than once you may find yourself wiping a bit of drool off the pages. Yes they are that captivating.

Behind the glossy pics is some sound BBQ advice. Terrific recipes. Good stories and a fun read. I will say that as a BBQ competition recipe book it is a little dated now but as a go to BBQ recipe book its solid. Since Ronnie competed there are lots of new techniques and some really interesting competition secrets widely available on the web. I would not however hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. It would be a welcome addition to anyone’s culinary library.

Favorite Quote from the book pg. 80
I am drawn to barbeque for its purity, its simple meaning and a true feeling of job that brings me to a happier place. The smoky cocoon of the barbecue contest creates a relaxed, friendly community unlike anything in urban life today

I recently had a conversation about Rockin Ronnie with a Western BBQ competitor. I explained I had received the book but felt bad about not reviewing it sooner. Ronnie seems to be a lovely gent in emails. I asked if he really as nice as he seems. The answer was a resounding yes. I don’t doubt it. The book comes across so genuine that you can’t help but want to meet the man behind the book. I certainly hope to someday. I would love to kick back and enjoy a pop or two with this fine representation of Canadian BBQ history.