Diva Q (Danielle Bennett) at Hayes Garden World
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

Diva Q at Hayes

Superb food from an internationally renowned BBQ star 

The Barbecue Shop, here in-store at Hayes Garden World, were delighted to play host to one of the US’ most celebrated BBQ chefs, Diva Q, aka Danielle Bennett, on Friday evening 17th May. Diva Q is an internationally recognised BBQ judge, author, TV star, demonstrator and teacher. She has also won countless awards including World Champion of Pork and World Bacon champion. The demonstration lasted from 5:30 to 9:30 and we were treated to an absolute meat feast. All the BBQ staples were covered; pork ribs, steak, pulled pork, chicken wings and brisket to name just a few. The grills used in the demo were the Traeger wood pellet grills which are the most manageable bits of BBQ kit to use. Just fill the hopper with the wood pellets. The pellets are 100% natural (no fillers!) and sustainably sourced from Traegers’ forests where felled trees are continually being re-placed. Once you have your pellets in the hopper, plug in the grill and turn on, select the desired temperature then wait until it reaches the correct temperature. Place your food in the grill, close the lid and wait for it to cook, couldn’t be simpler.

rib eye steaks cooked on the BBQ
Rib eye steaks cooked on the Traeger wood pellet grill

These grills have one of the cleanest burns in the BBQ world, which is why they don’t need a chimney, and you’re not smothered in clouds of toxic smoke. The whole of the grill area reaches an equal temperature, so food placed on the top rack cooks at the same temperature as that put on the bottom. Cooking on the Traeger gives your meat that lovely red smoke ring which every barbecuer strives to achieve. These grills are not only for grilling, but you can also braise, bake, smoke, BBQ and roast, anything you can do in the kitchen you can do on a Traeger.

Diva Q Tips

Grill

  • Never store pellets in the hopper; remove the unburned fuel after every cook. Otherwise they will become damp and clog the auger, leading to a failure to cook and a huge pain to cleanout.
  • Keep the grill clean; thoroughly clean out after every 4 – 5 cooks.

Meat

  • Always, always let the meat rest before serving; this allows the muscle to relax again producing a more tender piece of meat and prevents blood pooling on your plate if you have cooked your steak less than well done.
  • Spray pork with apple juice throughout the cook to keep it moist.
  • Rest pork for pulling at least 2 hours; wrap in foil and towels then place in an insulated cool box.
  • Always remove the membrane from the back of ribs; grab with a dry kitchen towel and peel off carefully.
  • When wrapping ribs double the tin foil to ensure the bones don’t poke through.
rib eye steaks cooked on the Traeger wood pellet grill
Rib eye steaks cooked on the Traeger wood pellet grill

Rubs and sauces

  • Always use a generous amount of rub and cover every surface.

Grilling

  • Invest in a digital thermometer.
  • Always make sure the individual food items don’t touch on the grill.

Internal temperature guide

  • Fish  -  63C (145F)
  • Poultry  -  74C (165F)
  • Pork  -  63C (145F); pulled  -  96C (205F)
  • Beef  -  rare  -  52C (125F); med rare  -  57C (135F); med  -  63C (145F); med well  -  68C (155F); well  -  71C (160F); brisket  -  96C (205F)