Sizzle on the grill


Celebrity barbecue chef treads on traditionally male turf

On any given summer weekend, the man of the house is typically asked to spend some quality time at the barbecue, grilling up meat for supper. Retailers and media seem agreed that barbecue gadgets and tools are the domain of gift-giving for the guys too, but why?

TV chef Curtis Stone has said, “Guys like being king of the grill because it’s easy – you can enjoy a beer at the same time, and it requires minimum effort. Best of all, you can take all the glory.”

Charles Rothman, local hospitality consultant and producer of the annual Father’s Day barbecue festival, Porkapalooza, said this about the male obsession with the grill:

“Men cooking over an open flame and eating charred meat is a primal instinct that dates back to the hunter/gatherer days of early man. I believe this to be true because in almost every country in the world, you can find someone sweating over a hot grill cooking meat indigenous to their culture. It’s one of the few commonalities shared between men around the globe – it’s virtually ingrained in our DNA.”

If anyone can dismiss the “guys-only-grip” on the grill, it’s Danielle Dimovski a.k.a. Diva Q. She was recently in town to be a judge at the barbecue festival, and on the heels of a grand championship win at a Regina barbecue competition.

“A lot of guys are weekend warriors at the grill, beer in hand, but I do everything on the grill, every day – I’m a multi-tasker, and personally, I’m a whisky sipper,” she said.

The part-time Ontario resident and “pitmaster” (a designation above a regular barbecue chef) said she has the confidence and skills to compete in the male-dominated world of barbecue.

“I can count on one hand the number of women pitmasters in North America. I like to think of the grill as a neutral place because traditionally, men brought home the meat and women tended the fire. They are the original pitmasters,” she said.

Known for her barbecue jalapeno wrapped in bacon – she has a YouTube tutorial on it– and her TV food show BBQ Crawl, Dimovski said she cooks everything on the grill, from vegetables to dessert, “though it’s all about the sizzle on the grill.”

“I take everyday food and add my own ‘smoke and fire’ twist on it,” she said.

Dos and Don’ts on the Grill
Courtesy of Diva Q

• Cook by temperature, not by time – grill temperatures vary, as does meat thickness from cut to cut, so get a digital thermometer, and use it.
• Rest the meat after barbecuing – all the juices run out of the meat if you cut too quickly hot off the grill
• Don’t add barbecue sauce until the last five minutes of cooking – otherwise it becomes too blackened from the sugars in the sauce.
• Never boil ribs, said Dimovski. “You don’t boil steak, so don’t boil ribs. It just takes time – cook them low and slow, on indirect heat on the grill.”


About Author

Lucy Haines

Lucy Haines has been a freelancer writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2012. She writes features on travel, food, seniors, homes and gardens.