Danielle Dimovski, Char-Broil All-Star is Canada’s highest ranked competitive BBQ’er on the KCBS team listing for the last 3 years. Her passion for BBQ knows no boundaries. She lives breaths and eats BBQ traveling all over North America competing in a variety of sanctioned BBQ Competitions and eating anywhere BBQ is served. Danielle is often referred to by those her know her as “DivaQ” – and that is also the name of her competition BBQ team.
Danielle will be featured on The Weather Channel Saturday Morning, May 19 LIVE from Memphis in May – the world famous BBQ Competition held in Memphis, TN. Tune in on your local cable or satellite provider between 7a – 11a EDST.
This is the second part of my interview with Danielle Dimovski – aka “DviaQ.” For background, here is a link to Part 1.
CB: Danielle – I’ve enjoyed your company on several occasions where a meal was served. We always talk about the dish in front of us…but I’ve been wanting to ask you – What is your favorite cut of meat to Q?
Danielle: I am in BBQ heaven when working with pork butts and shoulders. I feel that they are glorious when you see the transition from raw meat stage to the beautiful mahogany color. I love the bark on pork. That crusty exterior is my nirvana. The pig is such an incredible animal. The fact you can use everything from snout to tail is amazing. That’s why I love it. Just awesome.
CB: How long does it take to become a pit-master?
Danielle: I am not sure however I think when you can use just about any type of BBQ (gas, wood, electric, etc) and produce great food on it you can consider yourself a Pitmaster. You have to be competent. You have to know how to run a clean fire. How to use spices and sauces properly.
CB: Competitive BBQ is primarily men – right?
Danielle: Yes it is. On many teams the women are delegated to the dessert category, optional open categories and making the parsley turn in boxes. I believe it is because meat + fire = primal. It’s a man’s world typically in the field of BBQ’s. There is an interesting study that show woman are still in control of the purchasing decisions for the household. Successful companies are marketing their BBQ’s more towards women now. The men may want the BBQ but they need the approval of the woman to invest in a good quality BBQ. There are few women in competition BBQ that run their own pits. I think it makes us more focused and more eager. At the end of the day though I really don’t want to be thought of as a “Woman BBQ’er” I just want to be considered a really good BBQ’er period.
I don’t think there are BBQ experts.
CB: How many times do you practice before a competition?
Danielle: I don’t ever stop practicing. I am always on the lookout for some elusive spice or a competitive advantage that could get me a win. It never ends. From one year to the next things change. Judges change. So I believe you always have to evolve your competition strategy.
CB: Is competition BBQ (food) the same as I get in a restaurant or a backyard?
Danielle: Not really although there are some restaurants that make BBQ that I would be proud to turn in my competition boxes. When you compete you are going typically on a weekend. We prepare food for judges – they only take one maybe two bites..the flavor has to have more impact. Then we pack up and go home after the awards ceremony. Restaurant BBQ is a whole other kettle of fish. They make BBQ day in and day out. They don’t have to just make 6 judges happy they have to make everybody happy. They have to put out there best product each and every day. Kudos to them all for doing it.
CB: What is the #1 attribute that folks should learn about BBQ to make it better?
Danielle: You need to have patience. Patience above all. Mae West once said anything worth doing- is worth doing slowly. I believe that about BBQ. “Lo and slo” will always be my favorite way to cook big cuts of meat. It’s about the rendering of the fats. The taste and the flavor that it imparts and the long time in the smoke. It’s magical to me.
CB: Do you have a “secret” ingredient the average backyard BBQ aficionado can use to improve flavors?
Danielle: I use a lot of really good quality smoked paprika. Its amazing what it can do for a simple pork loin.
CB: How often do you eat BBQ?
Danielle: I eat BBQ at least 4 times a week. More if I am traveling through a BBQ region. If I am in an area that is renowned for BBQ I want to try as much as I can. Since I am from Canada I never know if and when I can get back. Recently on a trip through NC I ate at 10 different places over the course of a couple of days. I just want to thoroughly be absorbed into whatever regional style of BBQ they are serving and learn from it.
CB: Besides BBQ – do you have a favorite food(s)?
Danielle: I love Dim Sum. When I need a break from barbecue I love Dim Sum. The flavor profiles are completely different but there are many options and choices. I love Shumai (pork dumplings) Char Siu (bbq Chinese pork), Lotus seed balls, Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) and I have a fondness for mango pudding.
I also love eating curries. Super easy for me to put together for my family and a great change in flavor too.
CB: Do you consider yourself a BBQ expert?
Danielle: It’s a never ending education of BBQ. I personally think you never ever stop learning about it. You may think of yourself as knowledgeable but with very rare exceptions I don’t think there are BBQ experts. I think there are just some folks who have had the opportunity to learn and travel more to experience barbecue all over.
You can see Danielle on The Weather Channel Saturday Morning, May 19 LIVE from Memphis in May. She’ll be demonstrating some of her award winning techniques at the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared tour location.